No. 3 Jimmy Kennedy is a three-time medalist at Midlands. He's gunning for a tournament title this week as the Illini compete in the event on Wednesday and Thursday.
Dec. 27, 2010
#9 Illinois (2-0, 1-0) Probable Wrestlers
125 -/-/- Logan Arlis, 7-7, Fr. 133 5/8/6 B.J. Futrell, 11-2, So. 141 3/2/2 Jimmy Kennedy, 7-1, Sr. 149 12/16/15 Eric Terrazas, 7-2, Jr. 157 -/-/- Kyle Dooley, 7-4, So. -/-/- Jake Beechy, 3-1, Jr. 165 -/-/- Conrad Polz, 3-3, So. 174 12/13/11 Jordan Blanton, 6-3, Jr. -/-/- Dan Stelter, 3-4, Jr. -/-/- Ben Friedl, 2-1, Sr. 184 13/15/13 Tony Dallago, 11-5, r-Fr. -/-/- Joe Barczak, 5-2, Sr. 197 -/-/19 Mario Gonzalez, 9-2, r-Fr. HWT -/-/- Pat Walker, 5-4, So. -/-/- Martin Smith, 4-4, Jr.
#9 Illinois Unattached Wrestlers
125 -/-/- Jackson Morse, 11-3, Fr.
Midlands Championships Session Times
Wednesday, Dec. 29
Session 1 - 9:30 AM-4 PM
Session 2 - 7 PM-10 PM
Thursday, Dec. 30
Session 3 - Noon-3 PM
Jake Herbert/Ben Askren Super Match - 3:30 PM
Session 4 (1st/3rd/5th place) - 7:15 PM-9:30 PM
Midlands will be streamed live on Takedown Radio.
Midlands will be aired on the Big Ten Network on a tape delay.
Debut: Jan. 8, 3 p.m. CT
Re-air: Jan. 14, 6 p.m. CT
Play-by-play: Tim Johnson
Analysis: Jake Herbert
Senior Jimmy Kennedy is back for his final season after redshirting in 2009-10 and opened the season ranked either No. 1 or 2 by all three major rankings. Kennedy now is ranked either No. 2 or 3 in all three polls, holding down the No. 2 spot in both the W.I.N. Magazine and Amateur Wrestling News polls, while coming in at No. 3 by Intermat. He is 7-1 thus far, including three wins over ranked opponents
Junior Jordan Blanton is ranked No. 12 by Intermat, No. 11 by AWN and No. 13 by W.I.N. after falling to Stanford's Nick Amuchastegui at the NWCA All-Star Classic, placing fifth at the Las Vegas Invitational and dropping a 3-1 decision to Purdue's Luke Manuel.
Sophomore B.J. Futrell has opened the season exceptionally well at his new 133-pound weight class after recovering from a shoulder injury that cut his 2009-10 season short. Futrell won his first seven matches this year and placed fourth at the Las Vegas Invitational, out-performing his No. 10 seed at the event. He topped three ranked foes in Vegas, including No. 6 Scotti Sentes (Central Michigan) and No. 7 Devin Carter (Virginia Tech), and has vaulted as high as No. 5 in this week's rankings.
Illinois' redshirt-freshmen at 184, Tony Dallago, had a good tournament at the Las Vegas Invitational, with Dallago taking sixth place, out-pacing his No. 9 seed. He beat No. 12 Luke Rebertus (Navy) in overtime in the consolation quarterfinals and also pinned No. 8 seed Matt Ryan (West Virginia) in the second round. Dallago then pinned Purdue's No. 8 A.J. Kissel in the teams' dual on Dec. 19. This week, he is ranked No. 13 by Intermat with six of his 11 wins coming by fall.
While the Illini will be led by upperclassmen Kennedy and Blanton, Illinois has a young starting lineup with one true-freshman, two redshirt-freshmen and four sophomores among its 10 starters. 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 wrestling as part of the Illinois team rather than unattached.
#9 Illini Head to Midlands
No. 9 Illinois travels to Evanston, Ill., for the first of three times this year for the 48th annual Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30. The Illini also will face Northwestern in a dual at the Wildcats' home gym and NU will host the 2011 Big Ten Championships.
The Illini have had great success at Midlands, finishing in the top 10 at the event in each of the last 14 years and winning the tournament three straight years from 2003-05. No. 3 Jimmy Kennedy has had the most success at Midlands among the current Illini team, having finished second in 2006, fourth in 2007 and third in 2008. No. 12 Jordan Blanton is the only other Illini to have placed at Midlands, finishing fifth at 184 in 2008.
Kennedy was named the No. 1 top contender, essentially a pre-seed, at 141 pounds at Midlands, while B.J. Futrell was seeded No. 2. Blanton (174), Eric Terrazas (149) and Tony Dallago (184) all were slotted at No. 6 in the top contender listings, released on Dec. 22 by the tournament committee. Conrad Polz (165) and Mario Gonzalez (197) both were listed as "other contenders."
As usual, Midlands will feature a great deal of top teams and individuals. Using the Dec. 14 NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, four of the top 10 and 15 of the top 25 teams in the country will be at Midlands. And using the Dec. 21 Amateur Wrestling News individual rankings, there are 97 ranked wrestlers among the 26 teams entered in Midlands, including four No. 1-ranked wrestlers, five wrestlers ranked No. 2 and 51 top-10 wrestlers. Those numbers don't count any individuals entering the tournament without their team counting the event as a competition date.
#9 Illini Top #15 Purdue, 26-15
No. 9 Illinois got a pair of pins from No. 15 Tony Dallago (184) and Pat Walker (heavyweight), and major decisions from No. 5 B.J. Futrell (133) and No. 3 Jimmy Kennedy (141) to dispatch No. 15 Purdue 26-15 at Huff Hall on Dec. 19 to open Big Ten dual action. Dallago upset No. 8 A.J. Kissel when he reversed the Boiler, slapped on a headlock and pinned him with one second left in the first period. Walker wrapped up Roger Vukobratovich in a bodylock, swept his left leg, planted him on the mat and pinned him in 5:33. It was Illinois' twelfth win in its last 13 duals against Purdue.
#9 Illini Place Fifth at Las Vegas
Ninth-ranked Illinois finished fifth at the Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 3-4, thanks to strong performances from a number of wrestlers. No. 2 Jimmy Kennedy took third, No. 19 B.J. Futrell placed fourth, No. 5 Jordan Blanton and Eric Terrazas both took fifth, Tony Dallago finished sixth and Mario Gonzalez placed seventh. Futrell and Terrazas were Illinois' biggest risers in the tournament, out-pacing their seeds of No. 10 and 11, respectively. In all, Illini wrestlers beat nine ranked foes in the tournament to record the team's best finish in Las Vegas since taking fourth in 2003.
#10 Illini Take Down #11 Mizzou, 18-13
No. 10 Illinois got big wins in swing matches from Eric Terrazas, Kyle Dooley and Mario Gonzalez to earn an 18-13 win over No. 11 Missouri in front of a sold-out crowd of 900 at the Jon Davis Wrestling Center on Nov. 12. Dooley upset No. 20 Dan Gonsor, 7-3, after Gonsor pinned Dooley at the Lindenwood Open two weeks earlier. In addition, Terrazas scored a 7-2 win and Gonzalez earned a 7-0 victory that sealed the team victory. B.J. Futrell scored a 9-3 win over Nathan McCormick, No. 2 Jimmy Kennedy notched a 6-3 victory over No. 17 Todd Schavrien and No. 3 Jordan Blanton topped Patrick Wright, 3-2.
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.
Pins Coming Fast and Furious for Illini
The 2010-11 Fighting Illini have proved themselves to be a team of pinners, already having notched 20 pins. Redshirt-freshman Tony Dallago leads the squad with six falls, while sophomore B.J. Futrell and freshman Logan Arlis both have four.
Kennedy Returns After Redshirt Year
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. After opening the season with a win against Missouri, Futrell now holds a 36-15 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.
Illini Sign 1 in Early Signing Period
University of Illinois head coach Jim Heffernan announced the signing of Caleb Ervin (Morganfield, Ky./Union County H.S.) to a National Letter of Intent during the early signing period on Nov. 17. Ervin, a two-time Kentucky state champion, will join the Fighting Illini in the fall of 2011. He is projected to wrestle at 149 or 157 pounds.
Ervin is ranked No. 8 in Amateur Wrestling News' preseason high school rankings at 145 pounds. In addition, he is Intermat's No. 86 national recruit. Ervin went 56-0 last year in earning the 2010 Kentucky High School Athletic Association title at 140 pounds, scoring bonus points in all five of his bouts at the state tournament with a major decision, two technical falls and two pins. Ervin also won the 2009 KHSAA title at 130 pounds and finished second at 130 pounds in 2008, helping Union County win a Kentucky state team title.
The Union County High School star is unbeaten since his freshman year, including a 62-0 campaign in 2009, for a 118-match unbeaten streak since placing second in the state tournament as a freshman. Ervin also won the National High School Coaches Association sophomore national championship in 2009, earning the award for most falls in the least amount of time with four falls in 11:06 along the way.
Illini on Big Ten Network 6 Times
The Big Ten Network has set its most extensive wrestling schedule ever, including six appearances by the Fighting Illini either on the network or streamed online. Illinois' two appearances on the network will be its duals at Northwestern on Friday, Jan. 14, and at home against Indiana on Thursday, Feb. 17. The Northwestern dual will be aired live at 7 p.m. CT, while the Indiana dual will be shown on tape delay Friday, Feb. 18, at 10 p.m. The finals of Midlands also will appear on the Big Ten Network on a tape delay, airing on Saturday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. CT and again on Friday, Jan. 14, at 6 p.m.
The Illini's duals against SIU Edwardsville (Jan. 21), Minnesota (Jan. 23), Ohio State (Feb. 4) and Penn State all will be streamed online at http://video.bigtennetwork.com. Fans can choose from a monthly or annual school pass, or a monthly or annual conference pass to the live streaming offerings.