Parker wins the final match of his career to place fifth at 184-pounds

By University of Illinois Athletics

PITTSBURGH – Redshirt senior Emery Parker won the final match of his career Saturday to place fifth at 184-pounds at NCAA Championships. The No. 4 seed at 184-pounds, Parker defeated North Carolina’s Chip Ness in an 11-5 decision to take fifth in the weight class at this year’s national tournament. Parker is an All-American at 184-pounds for the second time in his career with the finish.

“He’s a great competitor,” said head coach Jim Heffernan. “The kid doesn’t like to lose… Once he lost he really picked it up. Great competitor, a two-time All-American. That’s not easy to do.”

After dropping his first match of the day in a hard-fought battle with No. 1 Myles Martin, Parker bounced back in impressive fashion in the fifth-place bout against No. 15-seed Chip Ness. Parker did the majority of his damage in the first period, picking up a takedown and adding on a four-point nearfall about a minute in to the opening period. Parker tacked on another takedown later in the period, and took a commanding 8-2 lead into the second frame.

Parker set the tone in that first period and controlled the rest of the match. He added on three more points in the final period, one for an escape and two more for what would be the final takedown of his Illini career to bring his point total to 11. Parker would go on to win the match over Ness in an 11-5 decision, coming out on top in the final bout of his Illinois career.

“It’s the last match of my career, just get off early, and just win,” said Parker of his mindset in the fifth-place match. “I put up a lot of points in the first period and that gave me some space… Scoring a lot of points in the beginning was probably the best move I made in that match.”

A three-time NCAA qualifier, Parker finishes with a 15-5 record in his three appearances in the national tournament. He went 13-2 in wresltebacks matches at NCAA Championships, and 13-1 combined in those matches at nationals in 2018 and 2019.

Emery Parker finishes his career as a two-time All-American. Parker is the 41st wrestler in UI program history to earn All-American honors at least twice in his career. He finishes his redshirt senior season with a 24-5 record. Parker’s final career record stands at 86-23. His win percentage of .788 ranks 16th in Illinois program history.

“Being an Illini is representing my state and where I come from,” Parker said. “Whenever I go out there, I think how many people that I’ve put their time on the line. Their resources, experience everything on the line in order to make me better. When I wrestle I look at it as my way of giving back to some of those people. When everything’s said and done it’s giving back to the people who have given so much to me and sacrificed a lot for me.”

“He works everyday, he ask questions and he lives his life right,” Heffernan said. “He does everything the right way. He’s a great person, and on top of it he’s become a good leader. Those things are invaluable to a program.”

Full Illinois Results:

184: #4 (4) Emery Parker | 6-2 | Fifth Place
Champ Round 1: #4 (4) Emery Parker dec. #30 (29) Will Schany (Virginia), 5-2
Champ Round 2: #8 (13) Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh) dec. #4 (4) Emery Parker, 9-7
Cons Round 2: #4 (4) Emery Parker SV-1 #15 (14) Dylan Wisman (Missouri), 8-6
Cons Round 3: #4 (4) Emery Parker Fall #13 (12) Cash Wilcke (Iowa), 5:23
Cons Round 4: #4 (4) Emery Parker dec. #11 (10) Samuel Colbray (Iowa State), 5-2
Cons Round 5: #4 (4) Emery Parker dec. #3 (3) Zach Zavatsky (Virginia Tech), 7-4
Cons Round 6: #1 (1) Myles Martin (Ohio State) dec. #4 (4) Emery Parker, 5-2
5th Place Match: #4 (4) Emery Parker dec. #14 (15) Chip Ness (North Carolina), 11-5
Emery Parker Places 5th.

125: #12 (11) Travis Piotrowski | 1-2
Champ Round 1: #12 (11) Travis Piotrowski dec. #25 (22) Cole Verner (Wyoming), 4-3
Champ Round 2: #6 (6) Sean Russell (Minnesota) major dec. #12 (11) Travis Piotrowski, 10-1
Cons Round 2: #22 (21) Jay Schwarm (Northern Iowa) dec. #12 (11) Travis Piotrowski, 8-2
Travis Piotrowski is eliminated.

133: #22 (30) Dylan Duncan | 0-2
Champ Round 1: #3 (3) Nick Suriano (Rutgers) major dec. #22 (30) Dylan Duncan, 12-3
Cons Prelim: (32) Devan Turner (Oregon State) dec. #22 (30) Dylan Duncan, 7-5
Dylan Duncan is eliminated.

141: #9 (6) Mike Carr | 2-2
Champ Round 1: #9 (6) Mike Carr dec. #27 (7) Anthony Sparacio (Binghamton), 8-2
Champ Round 2: #18 (22) Max Murin (Iowa) dec. #9 (6) Mike Carr, 4-3
Cons Round 2: #9 (6) Mike Carr dec. #24 (21) Austin Headlee (North Carolina), 10-4
Cons Round 3: #16 (20) Matt Findlay (Utah Valley) Fall #9 (6) Mike Carr, 2:19
Mike Carr is eliminated.

157: #13 (15) Eric Barone | 2-2
Champ Round 1: #13 (15) Eric Barone dec. #19 (18) Logan Parks (Central Michigan), 5-3
Champ Round 2: #2 (2) Tyler Berger (Nebraska) Fall #13 (15) Eric Barone, 6:07
Cons Round 2: #13 (15) Eric Barone dec. #18 (17) BC LaPrade (Virginia Tech), 6-3
Cons Round 3: #7 (10) Steve Bleise (Minnesota) TB-2 #13 (15) Eric Barone, 3-2
Eric Barone is eliminated.

165: #27 (26) Joey Gunther | 2-2
Champ Round 1: #7 (7) Isaiah White (Nebraska) dec. #27 (26) Joey Gunther, 5-1
Cons Round 1: #27 (26) Joey Gunther dec. #24 (23) Zach Finesilver (Duke), 6-3
Cons Round 2: #27 (26) Joey Gunther TB-2 #26 (24) Cael McCormick (Army), 5-4
Cons Round 3: #22 (18) Gordon Wolf (Lehigh) dec. #27 (26) Joey Gunther, 13-7
Joey Gunther is eliminated.

#-Coach’s Poll Ranking
()- NCAA Championships Seed

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