Adam Tirapelle is
ranked No. 2 nationally
in the 149-pound
Oct. 14, 1999
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois wrestling team is ranked third in the InterMat Pre-season NCAA Division I Wrestling Rankings. The No. 3 ranking for the Illini, which return nine NCAA qualifiers, is the highest preseason ranking Illinois has achieved under Head Coach Mark Johnson.
Iowa State heads the poll, followed by by defending national champion Iowa. Defending Big Ten champion Minnesota is right behind Illinois at No. 4 and Oklahoma rounds out the top five.
"As far as our lineup, top to bottom we're a solid team," Johnson said. "We're as strong as anyone in the country. We'll be a great dual meet team, but yet we've got some horses in there and that's what it takes in a national tournament."
Individually the Illini have eight wrestlers ranked in the 10 weight classes led by All-American Adam Tirapelle. Tirapelle is No. 2 at 149 pounds after finishing third in the nation in that weight class last season. Carl Perry, the Illini's only other returning All-American, is ranked sixth at 141 pounds while Griff Powell (157), Bill Zeman (165), Pat Quirk (197) and John Lockhart (Heavyweight) all check in at No. 8. Nate Patrick is ranked 12th and 184 and David Stoltz checks in at No. 17 at 133 pounds to round out the rankings for the Illini.
"This is the first year we can really actually talk about winning the Big Ten and possibly winning the national tournament," Johnson said. There's still a big difference between a top five team and a top ten team, and I see now its time for us to be in the top five."
Illinois will open the 1999-2000 season on November 12 with a dual at Missouri.
Top 25 Teams
1 Iowa State 2 Iowa 3 ILLINOIS 4 Minnesota 5 Oklahoma 6 Oklahoma St. 7 Michigan St. 8 Nebraska 9 Edinboro 10 Pennsylvania 11 Michigan 12 Lehigh 13 Arizona State 14 C. Michigan 15 CS-Bakersfield 16 Northern Iowa 17 Boise State 18 Penn State 19 Pittsburgh 20 Cornell 21 West Virginia 22 Hofstra 23 Wisconsin 24 Harvard 25 Rider
Illini in the Individual Rankings (Top 20)
133 pounds-David Stoltz, 17th 141 pounds-Carl Perry, 6th 149 pounds-Adam Tirapelle, 2nd 157 pounds-Griff Powell, 8th 165 pounds-Bill Zeman, 8th 184 pounds-Nate Patrick, 12th 197 pounds-Pat Quirk, 8th Heavyweight-John Lockhart, 8th