By University of Illinois Athletics
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Fighting Illini wrestling won the first eight matches, scoring 30 points, as they beat Michigan State, 30-9, on Friday evening at Huff Hall. Beginning at 149 pounds, the Illini received bonus points from No. 18 Kyle Langenderfer, No. 1 Isaiah Martinez, No. 12 Zac Brunson, No.12 Emery Parker and No. 15 Brooks Black to pad the victory. Illinois improves to 3-2 in Big Ten duals, while Michigan State drops to 1-5 in the conference.
“It is always great to be at home,” said Head Coach Jim Heffernan of the three straight wins at Huff Hall. “We are [home] once this weekend and then once the next two weekends as well, but that means one of them is here so it’s a good thing. I thought we wrestled okay [tonight]. It was nothing great. I don’t think we were overly enthusiastic. We will need to be better on Sunday, but overall, it was a good win.”
Scoring the most dual points during the first period as he had all season, No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (18-0) earned his fifth technical fall in his last six matches, defeating Michigan State’s Drew Hughes, 22-7. Martinez racked up eight takedowns in the first three minutes of action, coupled with a four-point near fall, to take a commanding 20-7 lead after the opening period. Tough on top, Hughes rode Martinez for the full two minutes of the second period and the beginning of the third, but received three stalling penalties to give Martinez the 22-7 technical fall.
At 174 pounds and 184 pounds, Zac Brunson (22-4) and Emery Parker (21-4) led wire-to-wire to get major decisions at 174 pounds and 184 pounds, respectively. Brunson used three takedowns, a reversal and four-point nearfall to win 12-2, while Parker scored two takedowns and four back points to win, 10-1.
Brunson’s win is the 97th of his career, moving him into sole possession of 25th place on the Illinois all-time list.
No. 18 Kyle Langenderfer (17-4) won his fifth straight match, third by major decision or greater, with a13-5 major decision against Austin Thompson at 157 pounds. After giving up a takedown 15 seconds into the match, Langenderfer went on an 8-0 run over the next four minutes, highlighted by a takedown and two back points in the second period, to lead 8-3 after two periods. Two more takedowns in the third period and a point for riding time sealed the extra point.
Illinois’ final bonus point came at heavyweight where Brooks Black used two sets of back points to carry his 14-2 major decision. After an early takedown of Jacob Cooper, Black got Cooper on his back for four points. Starting down in the second period, Black escaped and, again, got the takedown and four near fall points.
The pair of four-point near falls ties Langenderfer’s two at Ohio State for the most in a dual match this season.
In addition to the five bonus-point victories, Illinois received victories from Andre Lee (197), Travis Piotrowski (125) and Eric Barone (149).
Andre Lee (8-10) picked up his first Big Ten win of the season with a 4-0 shutout of James Russell. Lee took the Spartan 197 pounder to the mat 25 seconds into the opening period to take the early lead. After earning an escape in period two, the Illini sophomore rode Russell out for the riding time point.
“He did some better things,” said Heffernan of the Illini sophomore. “He was better on top. He had some good shots on his feet and stayed active. He’s getting better and doing the right things. A lot of it is just confidence, so he’s got one win under his belt and that should help him get some more.”
A true freshman, Piotrowski (12-8) picked up his first victory in front of the home crowd with a 2-1 decision against Mitch Rogaliner. The two 125-pound grapplers traded escapes, but Piotrowski’s strength on top proved to be the difference, as the Illini freshman racked up 1:10 in riding time to win the match.
“Coming straight from high school and up through college, it is a big transition, but I am having a lot of fun,” Piotrowski said of his first collegiate season. “That is pretty much what this year is all about for me: going out there and having fun and doing my best and training hard. Last week, I was coming off a cold, but I am getting better now. I am really glad I got to go out there and get my first win.”
Finally, Eric Barone (5-5) picked up his third Big Ten dual win of the season with a 3-1 win in sudden victory against Nick Trimble. After a scoreless first period, Barone earned an escape in period two, but Trimble held the riding time point to force overtime. In the extra period, Barone wrapped up Trimble for winning takedown with 0:21 left on the clock to win the match.
Up next, the Orange and Blue will look to continue their winning streak on the road, as the Illini travel to Tempe, Arizona for a Sunday evening showdown against No. 19 Arizona State at 5 p.m. central time. The match can be streamed for free on Pac-12.com.
Illinois has won each of the last four matches against Michigan State
Zac Brunson’s 12-2 major decision moves him into sole possession of 25th place on Illinois’ all-time list
Isaiah Martinez’s 22-7 technical fall is his fifth in the last six matches and eighth of the season
Kyle Langenderfer has won five straight matches, three by major decision or greater
Brooks Black is 3-0 since returning from injury, including two pins and a major decision
#13 Illinois 30, Michigan State 9
149: Eric Barone (ILL) dec. Nick Trimble (MSU), 3-1 SV-1 | ILL 3, MSU 0
157: #18 Kyle Langenderfer (ILL) major dec. Austin Thompson (MSU), 13-5 | ILL 7, MSU 0
165: #1 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) tech fall Drew Hughes (MSU), 22-7 | ILL 12, MSU 0
174: #12 Zac Brunson (ILL) maj. dec. Logan Ritchie (MSU), 12-2 | ILL 16, MSU 0
184: #12 Emery Parker (ILL) maj. dec. Shwan Shadaia (MSU), 10-1 | ILL 20, MSU 0
197: Andre Lee (ILL) dec. Jimmy Russel (MSU), 4-0 | ILL 23, MSU 0
HWT: #15 Brooks Black (ILL) maj. dec. Jacob Cooper (MSU), 14-2 | ILL 27, MSU 0
125: Travis Piotrowski (ILL) dec. Logan Griffin (MSU), 2-1 | ILL 30, MSU 0
133: Austin Eicher (MSU) won by forfeit | ILL 30, MSU 6
141: Javier Gasca (MSU) decision Mousa Jodeh (ILL), 8-2 | ILL 30, MSU 9