April 4, 2000
CHAMPIAGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois wrestling team, which claimed its best national team finish since 1958, will be honored by Illinois State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) at a meeting of the State Assembly in Springfield on Wednesday, April 5, at approximately 1 p.m.
The Illini placed sixth at this year's NCAA Championships which marks their best finish under head coach Mark Johnson. Senior Carl Perry became Illinois' 15th national champion claiming the 141-pound title and junior Adam Tirapelle was the national runner-up at 149 pounds. Heavyweight John Lockhart and 197-pounder Pat Quirk also earned All-America honors placing seventh and eighth, respectively.
The last time Illinois finished sixth or better on the national level was in 1958, a span of 42 years, when B.R. Patterson's squad finished second in the Big Ten and sixth at the NCAA tournament. That year, Illinois had only two All-Americans and one national champion (Bob Norman-heavyweight).
ILLINOIS WRESTLING NOTES:
Mark Johnson has coached four national champions at Illinois (Perry, Eric Siebert, 1998, Ernest Benion, 1995, Steve Marianetti, 1995) and 19 All-Americans (including Perry, Tirapelle, Quirk and Lockhart this year).
With this year's top ten national team finish, the Illini move into an eighth-place tie with Michigan State for all-time top ten team finishes with 24. Oklahoma State leads the list with 69.
Including this year's national champion Carl Perry, Illinois ranks fourth since 1990 in individual champions. Illinois has crowned five champs behind Iowa with 26, Oklahoma State with 13 and Penn State with eight.
Carl Perry finished his career with 98 victories and moved into sixth place on the Illini's all-time career wins list, moving past 1991 NCAA heavyweight national champion Jon Llewellyn.
The Illini have now crowned 13 All-Americans over the last four seasons. The last time Illinois had four All-Americans was in 1998.