Mike Poeta recieved the Dan Gable Most Outstanding Wrestler Award from Dan Gable.
Dec. 30, 2006
Evanston, Ill. - Mike Poeta upset top-seeded and top-ranked Trent Paulson of Iowa St., 9-8, in the finals of the Midlands Championship to win the 157-pound title and remain undefeated on the season. Jimmy Kennedy placed second at 133 pounds, Troy Tirapelle fourth at 149 and John Dergo sixth at 184. As a team, Illinois finished in sixth place in a field of 56 teams.
The final score may have been close, but Poeta (Highwood, Ill.) was in control of the match the entire time. When the fourth-ranked sophomore planted Iowa State's senior with a series two explosive takedowns in the first two periods, the hometown crowd went into a frenzy. In the third period, Paulson scored a takedown to cut Poeta's lead 8-7. After a Poeta escape, a point was given to Paulson on stall call to make it 9-8.
As a result of Poeta's performance, he earned the Dan Gable Most Outstanding Wrestler Award. The award is a result of a vote cast by select media in attendance. Poeta received the award from legendary coach Dan Gable himself.
"I felt unbeatable all tournament," Poeta said. "However, it's one of those matches where you get your hand raised but your head is down. I wasn't happy with the way I finished and I know that there's a lot more I need to work on to get better."
Kennedy (Ingleside, Ill.) settled for second place in the 133-pound championship bout. The freshman dropped his only match of the tournament when he was pinned by top-ranked and No. 1 seed senior Nick Simmons of Michigan State.
"Now that I've experienced this, I know what to expect the next time." Kennedy said. "I learned a lot about my competition and I'm going to use it later in the season."
Tirapelle (Clovis, Calif.) dropped a close 3-2 decision to JP O'Connor (Harvard) to finish in fourth place at 149. Dergo (Morris, Ill.) was edged by Louis Caputo (Harvard), 3-1, to place sixth at 184.
Head coach Mark Johnson said, "We knew that winning this was going to be a struggle for us this year because we're rebuilding. But, with two true freshmen out there placing second and fourth, it shows people how good we're going to be."
The Fighting Illini are back in action on Jan. 13 when they travel to College Park, Md. for duals against Maryland and North Carolina.
Notes: Comcast SportsNet will air the Midlands finals on two tape-delayed broadcasts - Tuesday, Jan. 30th at 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 31st at 3 p.m.
TEAM STANDINGS (Out of 56 teams) 1. Iowa State - 154.5 2. Iowa - 107.0 3. Northwestern - 102.0 4. Central Michigan - 96.5 5. Indiana - 96.0 6. ILLINOIS - 89.5
133: No. 7 seed Jimmy Kennedy (Fr., Ingleside, Ill.) 16-2 1st Round: Pinned Ben Lockett (SFSU), 1:29 2nd Round: Dec. Conor Beebe (CMU), 5-3 Quarterfinals: Dec. No. 2 seed Robbie Preston (independent), 5-3 SV Semifinals: Dec. Eric Metzler (Northwestern), 2-1 Finals: Pinned by #1 No. 1 seed Nick Simmons (MSU), 1:56
149: #14 No. 7 seed Troy Tirapelle (So., Clovis, Calif.) 16-4 Pigtail: Dec. Jason roush (Mt. St. Joseph), 10-3 1st Round: Maj. dec. Aron Scott (Iowa St.), 18-5 2nd Round: Maj. dec. Tim Hammer (MSU), 12-4 Quarterfinals: Lost by dec. #5 No. 2 seed Matt Coughlin (IU), 12-6 Wrestleback 4th Round: Dec. Brad Stockton (Waldorf), 10-6 Wrestleback Quarterfinals: Maj. dec. Tyler Grayson (CMU), 12-2 Wrestleback Semifinals: Maj. dec. Matt Redmond (PU), 13-3 Third Place: Lost by dec. to #5 No. 1 seed JP O'Connor (Harvard), 3-2
157: #4 No. 3 seed Mike Poeta (So., Highwood, Ill.) 11-0 1st Round: Maj. dec. Kenneth Packard (SFSU), 11-2 2nd Round: Maj. dec. Brad Medchill (Iowa), 17-4 Quarterfinals: Dec. Jason Knipp (Iowa St.), 8-3 Semifinals: Dec. No. 7 seed Moza Fay (N. Iowa), 8-3 Finals: Dec. #1 No. 1 seed Trent Paulson (Iowa St.), 9-8
184: John Dergo (Fr., Morris, Ill.) 15-3 1st Round: Dec. Eric Simaz (Central Michigan), 7-4 2nd Round: Dec. No. 2 seed Gerald Harris (independent), 6-4 TB2 Quarterfinals: Lost by dec. to #14 No. 7 seed Joe Williams (MSU), 8-3 Wrestlebacks 4th Round: Dec. Colin Hitschler (Penn), 4-2 Wrestlebacks Quarterfinals: Dec. #11 No. 6 seed Marc Bennett (IU), 6-3 Wrestlebacks Semifinals: Lost by maj. dec. to #6 No. 4 seed Christian Sinnott (CMU), 11-3 Fifth Place: Lost by dec. to No. 5 seed Louis Caputo (Harvard), 3-1