Mike Poeta was ranked No. 1 by the NWCA this week and was named Big Ten co-Wrestler of the Week.
Dec. 5, 2007
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Illinois junior All-American Mike Poeta (Highwood, Ill.) earned the top spot in the national rankings and was named Big Ten co-Wrestler of the Week after winning the 157-pound weight class at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational last weekend, the league announced Wednesday. Ranked No. 3 heading into the tournament, Poeta knocked off the top two wrestlers in No. 2 Craig Henning (Wisconsin) and top-ranked Gregor Gillespie (Edinboro) to claim the title and regain the No. 1 ranking he held for nine consecutive weeks last season.
Poeta claimed six wins on the weekend, turning away his first three opponents by way of technical fall, including one in the first period. He then went on to defeat three straight nationally ranked grapplers to take the crown. Poeta defeated No. 15 Zac Fryling of West Virginia by a decision of 11-4 to line up a rematch with Wisconsin's second-ranked Craig Henning.
He then took a dominant 6-1 decision over Henning in the semifinals, the second time this season he's defeated the 2007 NCAA runner-up. In the championship bout, Poeta defeated Gillespie, 4-3, including an incredible takedown late in the third period for the win.
Poeta is now 10-0 on the year and already has defeated four ranked opponents. It is the second weekly honor of Poeta's career, as he also won it Jan. 3, 2007 after taking home the 2006 Midlands title. He shares the laurel with Michigan 141-pounder Kellen Russell, who won his weight class in Las Vegas as an unranked true-freshman.