By University of Illinois Athletics

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Redshirt junior Eric Barone and junior Travis Piotrowski each placed fifth to lead Fighting Illini wrestling at the 56th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships. Barone won the 157-pound fifth-place match against Mike D’Angelo (unattached) in a 6-2 decision. Piotrowski was awarded fifth after a medical forfeit by teammate Justin Cardani in the 125-pound bout. Cardani (unattached,125) and redshirt sophomore Dylan Duncan (133) placed sixth. Redshirt junior Joey Gunther placed seventh at 165-pounds after defeating Jacen Petersen in a 6-5 decision during Session III. No. 14 Illinois placed ninth out of 35 competing schools with a final total of 65 points.

“We were kind of all all across the board this weekend,” said head coach Jim Heffernan. “Saw some good things from different guys. Justin Cardani was great, Duncan was not at his best but gutted through it. Saw some good things from some other guys in some cases but not enough overall. It will be good for us to get back in the wrestling room, play some things up, be together as a group and get some guys healthy for the second half.”

Barone placed at Midlands for the first time in his career with the fifth-place finish at 157-pounds. He was opposed by Mike D’Angelo (unattached) in the fifth-place bout, whom he defeated earlier in the tournament in a 10-3 decision to advance to the semifinals. Barone was dominant again in his second meeting with D’Angelo. He recorded an early takedown and even with just a 2-1 lead early in the match, Barone looked in control. With a 3-2 lead in the third period, Barone distanced himself with another takedown, and then finished the match with a point for riding time. With the 6-2 decision over D’Angelo, Barone finishes the weekend with a 4-2 record and improves to 13-5 on the season.

Piotrowski also placed at Midlands for the first time in his career with the fifth-place finish at 125-pounds. Piotrowski finishes the day with a 5-2 record and is now 10-5 on the season. Cardani earned sixth-place at 125, compiling multiple upsets in his first Midlands action.

Dylan Duncan finished sixth at 133-pounds, placing for the second consecutive year at the Midlands Championships after a fifth-place finish at 133 last year. With a 3-2 weekend, Duncan’s record for the season is now 8-4.

Earlier this afternoon during Session III, redshirt junior Joey Gunther won the seventh-place bout at 165-pounds over Jacen Petersen in a 6-5 decision. Gunther concludes his first Midlands weekend as an Illini with a 5-2 record. He is now 15-6 on the season, with his 15 wins currently standing as the most on the team.

Up next, No. 14 Illinois will begin Big Ten competition with duals at Michigan State and No. 5 Michigan. The Michigan State dual will take place in East Lansing, Mich. on Friday, January 11 at 6 p.m. CT. The Illini will then travel to Ann Arbor to take on the Wolverines on Saturday, January 12 at 6 p.m. CT.

For complete coverage of Fighting Illini Wrestling, visit FightingIllini.com, follow the Illini on Twitter (@illiniwrestling) and Instagram (illiniwrestling) and like Fighting Illini Wrestling on Facebook.

Illini Placers

125: #12 Travis Piotrowski (Jr.) // 5-2

Champ. Round 1 – Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 – Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) won by decision over Ryan Hetrick (Army West Point) (Dec 8-1)
Champ. Round 3 – Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) won by decision over Jacob Schwarm (Northern Iowa) (Dec 5-1)
Quarterfinal – Pat Glory (Princeton) won by tech fall over Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) (TF 17-1)
Cons. Round 6 – Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) won by medical forfeit over Joseph Melendez (North Carolina – UNAT) (MFF)
Cons. Round 7 – Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) won by decision over Kyle Biscolglia (Northern Iowa – UNAT) (Dec 5-0)
Cons. Semi – Connor Brown (Wisconsin) won by decision over Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) (Dec 8-4)
5th Place Match – Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) won by medical forfeit over Justin Cardani (Illinois – UNAT) (MFF)
Travis Piotrowski Places Fifth

157: #12 Eric Barone (r-Jr.) // 4-2

Champ. Round 1 – Eric Barone (Illinois) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 – Eric Barone (Illinois) won by decision over Joe Oliva (Penn) (Dec 9-8)
Champ. Round 3 – Eric Barone (Illinois) won by decision over Adam Whitesell (Maryland) (Dec 6-0)
Quarterfinal – Eric Barone (Illinois) won by decision over Mike D`Angelo (Unattached) (Dec 10-3)
Semifinal – Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) won by decision over Eric Barone (Illinois) (Dec 9-3)
Cons. Semi – Jeren Glosser (Iowa) won in sudden victory – 1 over Eric Barone (Illinois) (SV-1 3-1)
5th Place Match – Eric Barone (Illinois) won by decision over Mike D`Angelo (Unattached) (Dec 6-2)
Eric Barone Places Fifth

133: #15 Dylan Duncan (r-So.) // 3-2

Champ. Round 1 – Dylan Duncan (Illinois) received a bye () (Bye)
Champ. Round 2 – Dylan Duncan (Illinois) won by decision over Lukus Stricker (Harvard) (Dec 6-2)
Champ. Round 3 – Dylan Duncan (Illinois) won by decision over Bobby Jordan (Johnson & Wales) (Dec 11-5)
Quarterfinal – Dylan Duncan (Illinois) won by decision over Colin Valdivez (Northwestern) (Dec 9-6)
Semifinal – Austin Desanto (Iowa) won by disqualification over Dylan Duncan (Illinois) (DQ)
Cons. Semi – Zachary Sherman (North Carolina – UNAT) won by decision over Dylan Duncan (Illinois) (Dec 8-5)
5th Place Match – Paul Glynn (Iowa) won by medical forfeit over Dylan Duncan (Illinois) (MFF)
Dylan Duncan Places Sixth

125: Justin Cardani (Unattached) (Fr.) // 5-2

Champ. Round 1 – Justin Cardani (Illinois – UNAT) won by injury default over Ryan Millhof (Arizona State) (Inj. 3:56)
Champ. Round 2 – Justin Cardani (Illinois – UNAT) won by decision over Perez Perez (Iowa) (Dec 4-2)
Champ. Round 3 – Justin Cardani (Illinois – UNAT) won by decision over Brandon Courtney (Arizona State) (Dec 8-7)
Quarterfinal – Connor Brown (Wisconsin) won by decision over Justin Cardani (Illinois – UNAT) (Dec 7-0)
Cons. Round 6 – Justin Cardani (Illinois – UNAT) won by decision over Brandon Cray (Maryland) (Dec 2-1)
Cons. Round 7 – Justin Cardani (Illinois – UNAT) won by decision over Elijah Oliver (Indiana) (Dec 3-2)
Cons. Semi – Pat Glory (Princeton) won by major decision over Justin Cardani (Illinois – UNAT) (Maj 10-0)
5th Place Match – Travis Piotrowski (Illinois) won by medical forfeit over Justin Cardani (Illinois – UNAT) (MFF)
Justin Cardani Places Sixth

165: #16 Joey Gunther (r-Jr.) // 5-2

Champ. Round 1 – Joey Gunther (Illinois) won by major decision over Neil Antrassian (Penn) (Maj 13-4)
Champ. Round 2 – Joey Gunther (Illinois) won by major decision over Dillion Hoey (Indiana) (Maj 8-0)
Champ. Round 3 – Joey Gunther (Illinois) won by decision over Phil Spadafora (Maryland) (Dec 9-7)
Quarterfinal – Joshua Shields (Arizona State) won by tech fall over Joey Gunther (Illinois) (TF 17-2)
Cons. Round 6 – Joey Gunther (Illinois) won in tie breaker – 1 over Emil Soehnlen (Purdue) (TB-1 2-1)
Cons. Round 7 – Jonathan Viruet (Brown) won by decision over Joey Gunther (Illinois) (Dec 3-0)
7th Place Match – Joey Gunther (Illinois) won by decision over Jacen Petersen (Arizona State) (Dec 6-5)
Joey Gunther Places Seventh.

Related: Four Illini Set to Wrestle in Fifth-Place Matches at Midlands