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.

The Fighting Illini placed second out of 57 teams at the 1999 Midlands. The Illini had 10 placewinners with Ryan Escobar placing fourth at 125 pounds, Chad Hay, seventh at 125, David Stoltz, seventh at 133, Carl Perry, fifth at 141, Adam Tirapelle, third at 149, Matt Lackey, eighth at 165, Nate Patrick, second at 184, Pat Quirk, second at 197, and John Lockhart, seventh at heavyweight.

2000 Midlands Wrestling Tournament Preview

2000 Weight-by-Weight Preview
(Preview and Pre-seeds provided by the Northwestern Sports Information office)

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

1. LeRoy Vega, Minnesota
2. Ruben DeLeon, Cal. St.-Bakersfield
3. Jason Silverstein, Purdue
4. Ryan Escobar, Illinois
5. Chris Williams, Michigan State
6. Nathan Navarro, Oregon State
7. Jose Leon, Boston Univ.
8. Alex Rivera, Northern Illinois
9. Sean Shea, George Mason
10. Shawn Amistade, Pittsburgh

1. Teague Moore, Sunkist WC
2. Pat McNamara, Michigan St.
3. Roman Flezar, Hofstra
4. Matt Azevedo, Iowa State
5. Brett Lawrence, Minnesota
6. Cody Sanderson, Sunkist WC
7. David Douglas, Arizona State
8. Evan Robinson, Purdue
9. Jeff Ratliff, Ohio State
10. Ben Richards, Oregon State

1. Doug Schwab, Iowa
2. Florian Ghinea, Montclair State
3. Eric Larkin, Ariz. St.
4. Mike Castillo, Michigan State
5. Chad Erickson, Minnesota
6. Jason DeBruin, Hofstra
7. Donnie DeFilippis, George Mason
8. Matt Goldstein, Lehigh
9. Zach Roberson, Iowa State
10. Shane Cunanan, Oregon State

1. Bill Zadick, Hawkeye WC
2. Adam Tirapelle, Illinois
3. Dave Esposito, Lehigh
4. John Fisher, Sunkist WC
5. Eric Schmeising, Hofstra
6. Jared Lawrence, Minnesota
7. Mike Zadick, Iowa
8. Marc Hoffer, American Univ.
9. Joe Henson, Penn
10. John Marc Bentley, No. Carolina

1. Chris Bono, Sunkist WC
2. T. J. Williams, Iowa
3. Gerry Abas, Unattached
4. Yoshi Nakamura, Penn
5. Cole Sanderson, Iowa State
6. Eric Jorgenson, Oregon State
7. Kirk White, Boise State
8. Luke Becker, Minnesota
9. Gray Maynard, Michigan State
10. Joe Carr, West Virginia

1. Joe Heskett, Iowa State
2. Steve Blackford, Arizona State
3. Brad Pike, Minnesota
4. Matt Lackey, Illinois
5. Ian Nelms, Cal. St.-Bakersfield
6. Joel Walker, Ohio State
7. Noel Thompson, Hofstra
8. Chris Vitale, Lehigh
9. Carl Fronhofer, Pittsburgh
10. Clint Wattenberg, Cornell

1. Joe Williams, Hawkeye WC
2. Mike Feeney, Eatern Michigan
3. Perry Parks, Iowa State
4. Ben King, Illinois
5. Nathan Coy, Oregon State
6. John Hardy, Minnesota
7. Rob Anspach, Hofstra
8. Bill Lowney, Northern Illinois
9. Curtis Owen, Arizona State
10. Louis Taylor, Eastern Illinois

1. Cael Sanderson, Iowa State
2. Nate Patrick, Illinois
3. Lionel Halsey, Schultz WC
4. Victor Sveda, Indiana
5. Damion Hahn, Minnesota
6. Rob Rohn, Lehigh
7. Cash Edwards, Boise State
8. Francis Volpe, Harvard
9. Shawn Scannell, Rider
10. Isaac Weber, Ore. St.

1. Tim Hartung, Minnesota Storm
2. Pat Quirk, Illinois
3. Lee Fullhart, Hawkeye
4. Nick Preston, Ohio State
5. Zach Thompson, Iowa State
6. Raphael Davis, Schultz WC
7. Brandon Eggum, Minnesota Storm
8. Jon Trenge, Lehigh
9. Corey Anderson, Cornell
10. Marc DeFrancesco, Rider

1. Steve Neal, Schultz WC
2. Mitch Clark, Ohio Int?l WC
3. John Lockhart, Illinois
4. Jason Cooley, Oregon State
5. Tommy Rowlands, Ohio State
6. Steve Mocco, Blair Academy
7. Ryan Kehler, West Virginia
8. Mark Knauer, Iowa State
9. Matt Lamb, Michigan State
10. Shawn Laughlin, Lehigh

This Group Represents 25 Midlands titles and 14 NCAA Division I champions.