Illini Ranked No. 6 by WIN Magazine
Sept. 13, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Fighting Illini wrestling team has been ranked No. 6 in WIN Magazine's preseason tournament power index (TPI) the publication announced Thursday. The TPI is WIN's prediction of how teams will finish at the 2013 NCAA Championships. The Illini boast six wrestlers ranked in the top 10, with two-time All-American Jordan Blanton earning the No. 2 spot at 174 pounds and three others coming in at the top five of their respective weight classes.
Blanton's No. 2 preseason ranking is the highest since Jimmy Kennedy was No. 1 in the 2010 season. Also ranking in the top five is first time NCAA All-American Jesse Delgado, ranking No. 3 at 125 pounds. After earning All-America honors for the first time last season, Conrad Polz comes into the year ranked No. 5 at 165 pounds while two-time All-American B.J. Futrell moves up a weight class and is ranked fifth among wrestlers at 141 pounds. Mario Gonzalez continues to succeed, after winning a Big Ten title at 197 season and qualifying for NCAA's last season, he comes into this season ranked No. 6, a career best. Tony Dallago rounds out the Illini in the rankings, taking the No. 8 spot at 184 pounds. This year's preseason rankings are career-bests for five out of the six Orange and Blue wrestlers.
The Illini look to improve upon their 2011-12 season, returning all four All-Americans and six NCAA qualifiers, finishing seventh at the NCAA Championships and fourth in the Big Ten. The Orange and Blue scored 62 points at the national tournament, the fourth most points scored at the event in school history. The Illini totaled 105.5 points at the conference championships, which tied the fifth-most scored at Big Ten's since the 1997 season.