#5 Illini Ready for Midlands Championships

B.J. Futrell has had the most success at Midlands among the current Illini team, finishing third in 2011 and second in 2010.
B.J. Futrell has had the most success at Midlands among the current Illini team, finishing third in 2011 and second in 2010.

Dec. 19, 2012

2012 Midlands Championships NotesGet Acrobat Reader | Midlands Seeds

Midlands Championships Website

#5 Illinois at Midlands Championships
Dec. 29-30 // Welsh-Ryan Arena // Evanston, Ill.

Midlands Championships Session Times
Saturday, Dec. 29
Session 1: 9:30 AM-4PM
Session 2: 7 PM-10 PM

Sunday, Dec. 30
Session 3: Noon-3 PM
Session 4 (1st/3rd/5th place) - 7 PM-9:15 PM

Same-day live: Dec. 30, 7 PM CT
Play-by-play: Tom Johnson
Analysis: Jim Gibbons
Sideline: Shane Sparks

Quick Hits
• Redshirt-senior B.J. Futrell has started his final season as one to remember, becoming the new school record holder in career pins. Futrell recently set the school record, and currently has 37 falls and counting. He is ranked No. 3 by W.I.N. Magazine. Also, Futrell has won titles at the Northern Iowa Open and Harold Nichols Cyclone Open early this season.

• Sophomore Jesse Delgado will return as the starter at 125 after having a standout 2011-12 season. The Gilroy, Calif., native earned his first career All-America honor by placing seventh at the 2012 NCAA Championships and finished third at the Big Ten Championships. Delgado also went 6-2 during the Big Ten dual season and was the only wrestler to defeat No. 1 Matt McDonough of Iowa. Delgado also recorded eight tech falls last season and led the team in the category.

• Currently, the Illini are ranked in every weight class but two, including 125 pounder Delgado and 141 pounder Futrell being ranked the highest at No. 3 in the country. The squad will look to Caleb Ervin to add success at the 149 spot, as the redshirt-freshman has had early success this season, winning the Harris Open title a few weeks ago and finishing third at the Northern Iowa Open. Two Orange and Blue grapplers are in the ranks for the first time in their career, including 133 pounder Daryl Thomas (No. 8) and heavyweight Pat Walker (No. 14).

#5 Illini Head to Midlands
The Illini have had great success at Midlands, finishing in the top 10 at the event in each of the last 16 years. Last year the squad placed sixth, the highest finish since the Illini won the title in 2005-06. B.J. Futrell has had the most successful Midlands among the current Illini team, having finished third last year. Senior Jordan Blanton and sophomore Jesse Delgado also placed third at last year's championship.

As usual, Midlands will feature a great deal of top teams and individuals. Using the Dec. 10 W.I.N. Magazine rankings, four of the top 10 and 10 of the top 25 teams in the country will be at Midlands.

Two Win Titles at Northern Iowa Open
Two Illini wrestlers captured titles at the Northern Iowa Open while 10 others finished in the top five of their respective weight classes. Redshirt-senior B.J. Futrell (141) and senior Pat Walker (HWT) both earned tournament titles during their second open of the season.

Futrell Becomes All-Time Leader in Pins
Two-time All-American B.J. Futrell became Illinois' all-time school record holder in career pins after going 3-0 at the Journeyman Duals in early December. Futrell continues to improve upon his total falls with 37 and counting, passing Adam Tirapelle (1998-01) who recorded 33.