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    Wrestlers Rank Third In Preseason Poll
    Adam Tirapelle is<br>ranked No. 2 nationally<br>in the 149-pound<br>weight  class.<br>

    Adam Tirapelle is
    ranked No. 2 nationally
    in the 149-pound
    weight class.

    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
    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

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