Illini sophomore Jordan Blanton took third place at the Asics University National Championships in freestyle on Sunday.
April 11, 2010
AKRON, Ohio - Illinois wrestlers Jordan Blanton, Jimmy Kennedy and Mario Gonzalez placed at the Asics University National Championships freestyle tournament Sunday, with Blanton taking second place at 84 KG/185 lbs, Kennedy earning third at 66 KG/145.5 lbs and Gonzalez finishing eighth at 96 KG/211.5 lbs at the Louis and Freda Stile Athletic Field House at the University of Akron. The top seven placewinners in the University Nationals in the seven Olympic weight classes qualify for the University World Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 28-29.
"It was good to get guys more experience in pressure situations against some of the best guys in the country," associate head coach Carl Perry said. "It's a great training tool, especially for a guy like Mario who was banged up a lot during our season. He was able to get a lot of matches and improve every match."
Jordan Blanton took third place at 84 KG/185 lbs, defeating Todd Porter (Rage Cage) before falling to Ed Ruth (Nittany Lion WC), to fall into the consolation bracket. He beat Kelan Bragg (Cal Poly WC), Ryan Loder (Panther WC), Ethan Headlee (Pittsburgh Wrestling), Kaleb Young (MN Storm) and Corey Peltier (Terrapin WC) to reach the third-place bout, where he earned a 3-1, 3-1 decision over Jon Fausey but lost, 7-0, 5-1.
"It was nice to get back on the mat and compete," Blanton said. "It's a chance to wrestle eight or nine matches in two days, so it's great training, and it went really well."
Kennedy took fourth place at 66 KG/145.5 lbs, defeating Mario Morgan (Maverick WC) and Eric Grajales (Michigan WC) before falling to Hawkeye Wrestling Club's Joe Slaton, 1-0, 0-2, 5-1. Kennedy battled back, winning five matches in wrestlebacks to reach the third-place match, where he once again lost to Slaton, 0-1, 3-1, 2-0.
Mario Gonzalez took eighth at 96 KG/211.5 lbs, going 4-3, starting with a win over Clint Podish (Clarion WC). He then defeated John Barone (Duke) and Zac Bennett (Carolina WC) before falling to Jared Platt (Nittany Lion WC). Gonzalez then defeated Joe Kennedy (Lehigh Valley Athletic Club) before losing to Ryan Smith (Cal Poly WC) to drop into the seventh-place match. He lost that bout to Chad Hanke (Orange Crush), 1-1, 5-3, to finish eighth.
Pat Walker went 3-2 at 120 KG/264.5 lbs, while Ben Friedl was 3-2 at 79 KG/174 lbs. Conrad Polz won his first match at 79 KG/174 lbs before being injured and defaulting out of the tournament. Dan Stelter went 5-2 at 74 KG/163 lbs, but fell one win short of earning a chance to place in the tournament, and Kyle Dooley was 1-2 at 74 KG/163 lbs. Nathan Millman was 0-2 at 70 KG/154.25 lbs and John Deneen was 1-2 at 63 KG/138.75 lbs.