Illinois Wrestlers Head To Midlands Dec. 29-30
Dec. 21, 2000
The University of Illinois wrestling team will compete in the Midlands Wrestling Tournament on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., on December 29-30. The action is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday with wrestling on eight mats. The championship and consolation matches will continue at 7:30 p.m. that evening. The third session will begin with semifinal action, consolation and seventh-place matches beginning at noon on Saturday, December 30 with the championship, third- and fifth-place matches at 7:30 p.m.
2000 Midlands Wrestling Tournament Preview
2000 Weight-by-Weight Preview
125 -- Strong contenders for the 2000 crown are LeRoy Vega (Minnesota), Ruben DeLeon (Cal. St.-Bakersfield), Jason Silverstein (Purdue), Nathan Navarro (Oregon St.), Ryan Escobar (Illinois), Chris Williams (Michigan St.) and Jose Leon (Boston).
133 -- This weight class has two favorites: 1999 champion Teague Moore (Sunkist Kids) and 1998 champion Pat McNamara (Michigan St.). Other contenders are Roman Flezar (Hofstra), David Douglas (Arizona St.), Matt Azevedo (Iowa St.), Brett Lawrence (Minnesota) and Evan Robinson (Purdue).
141 -- 1999 runner-up Doug Schwab of Iowa is the favorite here. He won in 1998 and lost in the championship match a year ago. Florian Ghinea (Montclair), who finished fourth in 1999, is a contender along with Eric Larkin (Arizona St.), Mike Castillo (Michigan St.), Chad Erickson (Minnesota), Jason DeBruin (Hofstra), Donnie DeFilippis (George Mason) and Matt Goldstein (Lehigh).
149 -- Co-champions Bill and Mike Zadick (Hawkeye WC and Iowa) will be back to battle for the title. Adam Tirapelle of Illinois, the top-ranked wrestler in the collegiate ranks at this weight, and long time Midlands veteran, John Fisher, are also favorites in this weight class along with Dave Esposito (Lehigh), Eric Schmiesing (Hofstra), Jared Lawrence (Minnesota), Marc Hoffer (American), Joe Henson (Penn), John Marc Bentley (North Carolina) and Billy Moldonado (Iowa State).
157 -- Two-time champion Chris Bono (Sunkist Kids) returns to defend his title, which he also won in 1997. T. J. Williams (Iowa), runner-up in 1999, is expected back and will be Bono?s top competition. Williams won at the Midlnds in 1998 at 149 pounds. Others vying for the title are four-time All-America Gerry Abas (Fresno St.), Yoshi Nakamura (Penn), Cole Sanderson (Iowa St.), Eric Jorgenson (Oregon St.), Kirk White (Boise State), Luke Becker (Minnesota), Gray Maynard (Michigan State) and Joe Carr (West Virginia).
165 -- Favorites to win this year are 1998 champion Joe Heskett (Iowa St.) and 1999 runner-up Steve Blackford (Arizona St.). Other competitors include Brad Pike (Minnesota), Matt Lackey (Illinois), Ian Nelms (Cal. St.-Bakersfield), Joel Walker (Ohio State), Noel Thompson (Hofstra) Chris Vitale (Lehigh), Carl Fronhofer (Pittsburgh), Clint Wattenberg (Cornell) and Doug Cielski (Slippery Rock).
174 -- Six-time champion Joe Williams (Hawkeye WC) is the man to beat. In years past, the rest of the field has battled to see who would face Williams in the finals. The former Mt. Carmel H.S. (Chicago) wrestler will be second all-time with seven Midlands championships if he wins. Two-time Olympic champion Bruce Baumgartner is first with eight Midlands titles. Other challengers are Mike Feeney (Eastern Michigan), Perry Parks (Iowa State), Ben King (Illinois), Nathan Coy (Oregon State) and John Hardy (Minnesota).
184 -- Two-time champion Cael Sanderson (Iowa St.) is back to defend his title and will be the favorite again this year. Sanderson has two Outstanding Wrestler Trophies from the NCAA and is undefeated in collegiate wrestling (91-0). 1999 runner-up Nate Patrick (Illinois), Bob Rohn (Lehigh), redshirt freshman Damion Hahn (Minnesota), Victor Sveda (Indiana), Francis Volpe (Harvard) and Lionel Halsey (Schultz WC) will challenge Sanderson for the title. Also wrestling in this weight class is Cash Edwards (Boise State) and Shawn Scannell (Rider).
197 -- Tim Hartung, a two-time NCAA champion for Minnesota who is now with the Minnesota Storm, is one of the favorites along with Lee Fullhart (Hawkeye WC). Fullhart will try to win his first Midlands. 1999 runner-up Pat Quirk (Illinois) is also a leading challenger, along with Nick Preston (Ohio St.), Zach Thompson (Iowa St.) and Raphael Davis (Schultz WC). Others vying for the 197-pound crown are Owen Elzen (Minnesota), Jon Trenge (Lehigh), Brandon Eggum (Minnesota Storm), Corey Anderson (Cornell) and Marc DeFrancesco (Rider).
HWT -- Three-time champion Steve Neal (Schultz WC) returns after missing last year due to injury. Neal was the 1999 World Champion and has 15 straight wins at the Midlands. Mitch Clark (Ohio Int.) was third at last year?s meet and is also a strong contender. Ryan Kehler (West Virginia), John Lockhart (Illinois), Tommy Rowlands (Ohio St.), Jason Cooley (Oregon State) and Mark Knauer (Iowa State) are the collegians in contention. High school senior Steve Mocco (Blair Academy) is just the third high school wrestler to be admitted into the Midlands. Jimmy Carr and Cary Kolat are the others, and both placed in their initial tournament.
Midlands Pre-Tournament Seeds
This Group Represents 25 Midlands titles and 14 NCAA Division I champions.