Nov. 10, 2010
#10 Illinois vs. #11 Missouri
Friday, Nov. 12 // Jon Davis Wrestling Center // Edwardsville, Ill.
Senior Jimmy Kennedy returns for his final season after redshirting in 2009-10 and opens the season ranked either No. 1 or 2 by all three major rankings. Kennedy holds down the top spot at 141, his new weight class, in the W.I.N. Magazine listing and is No. 2 by both Intermat and Amateur Wrestling News. Kennedy spent last year bulking up to 141 from his previous spot at 133 and wrestled in a few open tournaments, including Midlands, where he placed second at 141.
Junior Jordan Blanton starts the season as the consensus No. 3 wrestler at 174 by all three rankings after placing fifth at last year's NCAA Championships. Blanton out-performed his No. 10 seed at the NCAA tournament to earn his first career All-America honor. Last year, Blanton earned a 7-4 win over Missouri's Dorian Henderson in the season-opening dual between the teams.
Sophomore Conrad Polz returns as Illinois' starter at 165 after a very eventful summer. Following an up-and-down 2009-10, Polz turned it on during the freestyle season, winning the FILA Junior World Team Trials to earn a spot on the Junior World Team. He competed with that squad at the Junior World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in July.
While the Illini will be led by upperclassmen Kennedy and Blanton, Illinois will have a young team overall with one true-freshman, two redshirt-freshmen and four sophomores in Friday's starting lineup. All four of those sophomores have used their redshirt season, but Illinois still has seven of its 10 starters in their first or second year of participation.
#10 Illinois (0-0, 0-0) Probable Wrestlers
125 -/-/- Logan Arlis, 5-3, Fr. 133 -/-/- B.J. Futrell, 4-0, So. 141 2/1/2 Jimmy Kennedy, 0-0, Sr. 149 -/-/- Eric Terrazas, 0-0, Jr. 157 -/-/- Kyle Dooley, 6-1, So. 165 -/-/20 Conrad Polz, 0-0, So. 174 3/3/3 Jordan Blanton, 0-0, Jr. 184 -/-/- Tony Dallago, 6-1, r-Fr. 197 -/-/- Mario Gonzalez, 4-0, r-Fr. HWT -/-/- Pat Walker, 0-0, So.
#11 Missouri (0-0, 0-0) Probable Wrestlers
125 -/-/- Alan Waters, 5-0, Fr. 133 -/-/- Nathan McCormick, 0-0, So. 141 17/14/16 Todd Schavrien, 0-0, Sr. 149 -/-/- Kyle Bradley, 0-0, r-Fr. 157 20/-/15 Dan Gonsor, 0-0, Jr. 165 13/-/ Zach Toal, 0-0, So. 174 -/-/- Patrick Wright, 0-0, Jr. OR 14/13/18 Dorian Henderson, 0-0, Jr. 184 -/-/- Dorian Henderson, 0-0, Jr. OR -/-/- Patrick Wright, 0-0, Jr. 197 -/-/- Jake Glore, 0-0, So. HWT 3/3/3 Dom Bradley, 0-0, Jr.
#10 Illini Face #11 Missouri
No. 10 Illinois will open the season with a dual against No. 11 Missouri for the second-straight year when the teams square off on Friday, Nov. 12. The match will be contested at the Jon Davis Wrestling Center in Edwardsville, Ill., home of Illini sophomore Daryl Thomas. The Illini are 19-9 all-time against the Tigers, but Mizzou has won the last two meetings in 2009 and 2000. The 950-seat wrestling center is sold out for the event.
The probable starters for both teams indicate that there may be only one repeat match-up from last year's dual, and that will happen only if Dorian Henderson wrestles at 174. He and Patrick Wright will man the 174- and 184-pound classes, but it is not known which wrestler will compete at which weight. No. 3 Jordan Blanton defeated Henderson 7-4 in last year's dual and 5-1 at the 2008 Midlands tournament. The only other previous meeting between probable opponents was Zach Toal's 6-3 win over Conrad Polz at the 2009 Lindenwood Open.
Illini Find Success at Lindenwood Open
A number of Orange and Blue wrestlers competed at the Lindenwod Open on Oct. 30, with sophomore B.J. Futrell (133) and redshirt-freshman Mario Gonzalez (197) earning weight-class titles. Futrell also was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament after earning two falls, a technical fall and a decision. Sophomore Pat Walker (HWT) took second at the tournament, while sophomore Kyle Dooley (157) and redshirt-freshman Tony Dallago (184) both took third and freshman Logan Arlis (125) placed sixth. In addition, true-freshmen Guy Kirby (149) and Jackson Morse (157) placed second as unattached wrestlers and senior Ben Friedl (184) took sixth.
Kennedy Returns After Redshirt Season
Senior Jimmy Kennedy, who is ranked No. 1 or 2 in all three major rankings heading into the season, returns to the Illini lineup after redshirting in 2009-10. Kennedy sat out last year in order to move up to 141 pounds from his previous weight class of 133, and he also changed his major to technical systems management, meaning he would need another year of school to complete his degree. He stayed busy last year, wrestling in a pair of tournaments as an unattached wrestler. He competed in the freestyle Sunkist Open and at the Midlands Classic, where he placed second behind Maryland's Alex Krom.
Futrell Rebounds from Injury
Sophomore B.J. Futrell is back in the Illinois lineup after missing most of the 2009-10 season with a shoulder injury. He suffered the injury at the 2009 Lindenwood Open, where he took third despite the pain, and it required him to take a month off. He returned to action against Findlay and McKendree, earning two wins by fall, but reaggravated the injury in practice the following week and was ruled out for the season. He spent the next few months rehabilitating the shoulder and gaining strength to move up to 133 pounds this year. Futrell now holds a 35-15 career record and 12 falls.
Dallago, Gonzalez Take Over 184, 197
A pair of redshirt-freshmen have earned the starting jobs at 184 and 197 pounds, with Tony Dallago taking the spot at 184 and Mario Gonzalez gaining control at 197. Dallago is a 2009 Pennsylvania state champion at 189 and is a four-time PIAA medalist. The interesting thing is the weight classes he competed in during his high school career, finishing eighth in the state at 112 pounds in 2006, second at 140 in 2007 and fifth at 152 in 2008. But he has found a home at 184 for the Illini. Gonzalez also had a successful high school career at West Aurora High School, winning a 2009 IHSA Class AAA state title at 189 after finishing third at 189 in 2008 and fourth at 171 in 2007.