Wrestling Heads To Midlands
Dec. 28, 1999
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 Wednesday 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 Thursday, December 30 with the championship, third- and fifth-place matches at 7:30 p.m.
Last YearThe Fighting Illini placed fourth out of 55 teams and had four placewinners. Steve Doerrer placed second at 125 pounds, Adam Tirapelle was third at 149, Nate Patrick was fifth at 184 and John Lockhart was sixth at heavyweight.
1999 Midlands Wrestling Tournament Preview
The last Midlands of the 20th century may well be the most competitive in its 37-year history. Seven of the 1998 champions return to defend their titles and each weight is filled with top-ranked competitors from throughout the country. Nineteen teams ranked in the Top 25 will be battling for the prestigious Midlands title.
Here is a breakdown of each weight class entering the event:
125 POUNDS - Defending champion Jody Strittmatter is the early favorite. He won last year while at Pitt-Johnstown and went on to capture the NCAA Division II championship. Jody now represents the University of Iowa as he goes for his second straight Midlands title. Other strong contenders for the 125 title include Tim Dernlan (Ohio International Wrestling Club), Moses Delfin (Cal State-Bakersfield), Matt Azevedo (Iowa State), Paul Gomez (Nebraska), Justin Bravo (Penn), Jeremy Sluyter (E. Stroudsburg), Michael Kawamura (Arizona State) and Mike Mena (Hawkeye Wrestling Club).
133 POUNDS - David Morgan, a Michigan State grad, won at 118 in 1996 and '97. Eric Juergens of Iowa is currently No. 1 and Cody Sanderson of Iowa State is No. 2. These are the top three seeds, and the winner could come from this trio. Also in the picture are Joe Warren (Michigan), Charles Walker (Oklahoma State), Roman Fleszar (Hofstra), Zach Zimmerer (Stanford), Ryan Egan (Northern Illinois) and Rob Loper (Pittsburgh).
141 POUNDS - Last year's champion, Chris Marshall of Central Michigan, returns but No. 1-ranked Doug Schwab of Iowa is the man to beat. Schwab is the current NCAA champion. Another challenger is Mark Ironside, a three-time champion and Iowa grad. Other contenders are Mark Angle (Clarion), Damion Logan (Michigan), Jamill Kelly (Oklahoma State), Carl Perry (Illinois), Scott Schatzman (Northwestern) and Jon Archuleta (Cal State-Bakersfield).
149 POUNDS - Six of the eight medalists from 1998 return to the Millennium. However, the finalists have moved up to 157. It is a wide open weight class, with the top competitors being Adam Tirapelle (Illinois), Dave Esposito (Lehigh), Reggie Wright (Oklahoma State), Ryan Shapert (Edinboro), Billy Maldonado (Iowa State), Quinn Foster (Arizona State) and Stan Spoor (Clarion).
157 POUNDS - A classic matchup could be T.J. Williams (Iowa) and 1997 champion Chris Bono (Sunkist Kids). Other challengers include Brian Snyder (Nebraska), Jason Ramstetter (Schultz Wrestling Club), Brett Matter (Penn), Griff Powell (Illinois), Ryan Bernholz (Lehigh), Nathan Vasquez (Cal State-Bakersfield) and Terry Murphy (Wildcat Wrestling Club).
165 POUNDS - Joe Heskitt of Iowa State won as a freshman in 1998. He will be challenged by Steve Blackford (Arizona State), Joey Killar (Harvard), Travis Doto (Lehigh), Bill Zeman (Illinois), Carl Fronhofer (Pittsburgh), Greg DeGrand (Michigan State) and Yoshi Nakamura (Penn). Thirty-year-old former champion Ken Ramsey (Ohio International Wrestling Club) also stands to be a factor in this weight.
174 POUNDS - Joe Williams (Hawkeye Wrestling Club) returns in an attempt to gain his sixth straight title, a feat achieved by only two other wrestlers, Dan Gable and Bruce Baumgartner. Several top ranked collegians have the opportunity to stop Joe's streak. They are Otto Olson (Michigan), Josh Kosheck (Edinboro), Ed Mosley (Harvard), Mark Bybee (Northwestern), Ryan Cunningham (Central Michigan), Andy Varner (Cal State-Bakersfield) and Mike Feeney (Eastern Michigan).
184 POUNDS - Another freshman winner from a year ago, Cael Sanderson (Iowa State), has continued to win ever since, including the 1999 NCAA title. His competition will come from Will Hill (Michigan State), Nick Preston (Ohio State), Kevin Welsh (Edinboro), Nate Patrick (Illinois), Pat Popolizio (Oklahoma State), Lionel Halsey (Cal State-Bakersfield) and freshman Damion Hahn (Minnesota).
197 POUNDS - The current top five wrestlers in this category - Nick Muzashvilli (Michigan State), Zach Thompson (Iowa State) and Brad Vering (Nebraska), Mark Munoz (Oklahoma State) and Pat Quirk (Illinois) - are considered the favorites, but two recent grads could impact. Ohio State grad Mitch Clark (1997 Midlands and 1998 NCAA champ at 184) is a capable contender as well as John VanDoren (Lehigh '99), who placed second at the Midlands in 1998. Other contenders are Turk Lords (Montana State Northern), Chris Vike (Central Michigan), Todd Palmisano (Rider) and Mike Fickell (Penn).
HEAVYWEIGHT - A new champion will be crowned in 1999 after three-in-a-row for Steve Neal. He will be unable to defend his title due to minor surgery this fall. Neal won two NCAA crowns and, in his first try, the World title this fall in Anakara, Turkey. He has joined nine others in the Midlands Triple Crown circle (Midlands, NCAA and Worlds or Olympics). The favorite could be 1998 runner-up, Angelo Borzio, the current East Stroudsburg coach. Other leading challengers are Trent Hynek (Iowa State), Bandele Adenizi (Penn), John Lockhart (Illinois), Wes Hand (Iowa), Dave Anderton (Oklahoma State), Garrett Lowney (unattached, Minnesota), Matt Brink (Michigan) and Brian Keck and Airon Richardson (Wildcat Wrestling Club).
Midlands Millennium Pre-Tournament Seeds
The 1999 Midlands Millennium final seedings will be
concluded tonight 28.