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    Illini Wrestlers Get Midlands Three-Peat!
    Illini's Friedl gives team Three-Pete with 184-pound title!

    Illini's Friedl gives team Three-Pete with 184-pound title!

    Dec. 30, 2005

    The fourth-ranked University of Illinois wrestling team accomplished a feat only seen by three teams in Midlands Tournament history and that is a three-peat for the team championship. Fueled by four wrestlers in the finals, the Illini scored 115.5 points for their third straight Midlands title. Seniors Alex Tirapelle (157) and Pete Friedl (184) brought home individual titles - Tirapelle winning his second and Friedl clinching the win for the team.

    Senior 157-pounder Tirapelle (Clovis, Calif.) won his second Midlands title as he defeated No. 2 seed Joe Johnston of Iowa, 3-0, in the finals. Tirapelle defeated the Hawkeye for the second time this year and the fourth time of his career. After no scoring in the first two periods, Tirapelle chose bottom and scored an escape and a takedown to secure the win.

    Friedl (Orland Park, Ill.) found himself in a familiar spot after clinching the Big Ten team title in 2005 with his win in the championship match. Once again his win at 184 pounds secured the team title for the Illini. He needed overtime to get it done and won in dramatic fashion getting the takedown over Purdue's Ben Wissel with only one second remaining in the match. After exchanging escape points in regulation, the two wrestlers went to sudden victory over time. Wissel got in a shot at the 27-second mark, but couldn't finish it out. Friedl took a shot with 10 seconds left, finally getting the call just before the buzzer.

    In a highly charged match, hometown favorite Mike Poeta (Fr., Highland Park, Ill.) faced off against Northern Iowa's Nick Biama. Poeta took control of the match early with two takedowns in the first two periods, but escape points kept Biama within a point. A Biama takedown in the third tied the match sending it to overtime. After no scoring in the sudden death period, the two wrestlers went to the second overtime period. Biama rode Poeta for the first 30-second period and Poeta gave Biama the escape to work on scoring the takedown. Poeta got close with a shot with 10 seconds remaining, but fell short in the 6-5 loss.

    Senior Tyrone Byrd dropped a close decision in the finals at 197 pounds to Central Michigan's No. 1 seed Wynn Michalek. The only points scored in the match were an escape point by Michalek in the second period. With a chance to tie the match, Byrd was ridden for the entire third period for the 2-0 loss.

    At 174 pounds, Donny Reynolds (Jr., Frankfort, Ill.) took fifth place via a medical forfeit. Earlier in the day, freshman Troy Tirapelle (Clovis, Calf.) took seventh at 149 pounds and tonight received the award for most falls in the least amount of time. He pinned four opponents in a total of 9:44.

    Notes: Comcast Sports Net will air the Midlands finals on four tape-delayed broadcasts - Jan. 11th (7 p.m.), 21st (3 p.m.), 24th (1 p.m.) and 28th (8 p.m.) ... The fourth-ranked Illini defeated 11 ranked teams to win their third Midlands title ... The Illini will be back in action on Jan. 13 in Fresno, Calif. against San Francisco State and Fresno State.

    1. Illinois - 115.5
    2. Central Michigan - 112.5
    3. Michigan State - 99.0
    4. Iowa - 83.0
    5. Iowa State - 83.5

    1st - Alex Tirapelle (157), Pete Friedl (184)
    2nd - Mike Poeta (165), Tyrone Byrd (197)
    5th - Donny Reynolds (174)
    7th - Troy Tirapelle (149)

    157: #1 No. 1 seed Alex Tirapelle (Sr., Clovis, Calif.) 9-1
    1st Round: Dec. Devin Mesanko (Unattached), 2-0
    2nd Round: Dec. Ross Needham (UW LaCrosse), 5-3
    Quarterfinals: Dec. No. 8 seed Matt Kocher (UN), 2-1
    Semifinals: Dec. #5 No. 4 seed Matt Lebe (West Virginia), 6-1 OT
    Finals: Dec. #2 No. 2 seed Joe Johnston (Iowa), 3-0

    165: #12 No. 4 seed Mike Poeta (R-Fr., Highwood, Ill.) 10-3
    1st Round: Pinned Mike Bishof (Chicago), 4:36
    2nd Round: Maj. Dec. Zach Shanaman (Sunkist), 10-2
    Quarterfinals: #17 No. 5 seed Will Durkee (Northwestern)
    Semifinals: Dec. #7 No. 1 seed Travis Paulson (Iowa State)
    Finals: Lost to #8 No. 3 seed Nick Baima (N. Iowa), 6-5

    174: No. 6 seed Donny Reynolds (Jr., Frankfort, Ill.) 9-2
    Pigtail Round: Pinned Kenny Robertson (EIU), 3:35
    1st Round: Dec. Luke Feist (Stanford), 4-3
    2nd Round: Maj. Dec. Curt Zinnel (N. Iowa), 10-2
    Quarterfinals: Dec. #5 No. 3 seed Matt Palmer (Columbia), 4-1
    Semifinals: Lost to #3 No. 2 seed Mark Perry (Iowa), 4-2
    Semifinals Consolation: Lost to Keith Gavin (Pitt), 5-2
    5th Place: Won by medical forfeit #5 No. 3 seed Matt Palmer (Columbia)

    184: #4 No. 3 seed Pete Friedl (Sr., Orland Park, Ill.) 9-1
    1st Round: Maj. Dec. Richard Escobar (SF State), 12-3
    2nd Round: Dec. Louis Caputo (Harvard), 3-1
    Quarterfinals: Dec. David Gliessner (Harper), 7-2
    Semifinals: Maj. Dec. #5 No. 2 seed Kurt Backes (Iowa State), 10-6
    Finals: Dec. #3 No. 1 seed Ben Wissel (Purdue), 3-1 ot

    197: #13 No. 3 seed Tyrone Byrd (Sr., Clinton, Ill.) 11-4
    1st Round: Bye
    2nd Round: Tech. Fall Derek Nelson (Iowa State), 15-0
    Quarterfinals: Dec. #20 No. 6 seed Nate Moore (Purdue), 3-2
    Semifinals: Dec. #8 No. 2 seed Matt Delguyd (Northwestern), 7-2
    Finals: Lost to #1 No. 1 seed Wynn Michalak (Central Michigan), 2-0

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