CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – No. 15 Illinois wrestling was defeated by No. 8 Purdue, 18-14, at Huff Hall on Sunday. The Illini saw wins from senior Travis Piotrowski (133), redshirt senior Eric Barone (157), redshirt freshman Danny Braunagel (165) and redshirt sophomore Matt Wroblewski (197). Piotrowski’s victory in the 133-pound bout moves his record to 22-2 on the season, and he closes the Big Ten dual season an undefeated, 9-0, in conference bouts. Illinois (9-4, 6-3) ends its conference schedule in fourth place in the current Big Ten dual standings.
“I thought our effort was pretty good,” said head coach Jim Heffernan. “At 125 their guy was ranked quite a bit higher than our guy, and I think Cardani competed really well against him. Travis (Piotrowski) was solid as always. Danny Braunagel stepped up and scored bonus points when we needed them. Matt Wroblewski did a great job keeping us in it. Those were the positives. I think we got beat to the punch way too much… We didn’t fight back well enough. Some positives today, but some negatives too.”
Senior Travis Piotrowski scored the first dual points of the day for the Illini with a win in the 133-pound bout against Travis Ford-Melton. Piotrowski tallied three takedowns, an escape and tacked on the riding time point, going on to win the bout by decision, 8-2. Ranked fifth nationally, Piotrowski, is now 22-2, the most wins in a season in his career. He is also undefeated at 13-0 across all dual bouts this season.
Redshirt senior Eric Barone picked up his third straight victory with a win today in the 157-pound bout. Taking on Nate Limmex, Barone got out to a quick, 2-0, lead with a takedown in the opening seconds of the first. He picked up another point for an escape, and added the riding time point to take a 4-2 decision over Limmex.
In the next bout at 165-pounds, redshirt freshman Danny Braunagel was in total control against Tanner Webster. Braunagel tallied four takedowns, two four-point nearfalls and a two-point nearfall en route to earning the tech. fall in the third at the 6:19 mark of the match with the score at 19-2. Ranked 13th nationally, Braunagel is now 19-6 this year and finishes the conference season with a record of 6-2.
Redshirt sophomore Matt Wroblewski earned a victory in the 197-pound match. Taking on Jared Florell, Wroblewski was trailing 2-1 after the first. On top in the second period, Wroblewski didn’t allow an escape, riding out Florell in the period. Wroblewski then escaped from bottom to start the third. He tacked on a late takedown plus the riding time point earned through the second period ride out to take a 5-3 decision victory.
Up next, No. 15 Illinois will compete in its final dual of the season, hosting Fresno State on Friday, February 21 at 4 p.m. at Huff Hall. Illinois wrestling will honor seven seniors for Senior Day prior to the dual.
125: No. 6 Devin Schroder (PUR) dec. No. 21 Justin Cardani (ILL), 3-0 | PUR 3, ILL 0
133: No. 5 Travis Piotrowski (ILL) dec. Travis Ford-Melton (PUR), 8-2 | ILL 3, PUR 3
141: Parker Filius (PUR) dec. No. 13 Dylan Duncan (ILL), 8-7 | PUR 6, ILL 3
149: No. 19 Griffin Parriott (PUR) dec. Mousa Jodeh (ILL), 6-2 | PUR 9, ILL 3
157: Eric Barone (ILL) dec. Nate Limmex (PUR), 4-2 | PUR 9, ILL 6
165: No. 13 Danny Braunagel (ILL) tech. fall Tanner Webster (PUR), 19-2 | ILL 11, PUR 9
174: No. 4 Dylan Lydy (PUR) SV-1 No. 13 Joey Gunther (ILL), 3-1 | PUR 12, ILL 11
184: Max Lyon (PUR) dec. No. 13 Zac Braunagel (ILL), 6-2 | PUR 15, ILL 11
197: No. 32 Matt Wroblewski (ILL) dec. Jared Florell (PUR), 5-3 | PUR 15, ILL 14
285: No. 25 Thomas Penola (PUR) dec. No. 26 Luke Luffman (ILL), 5-3 | PUR 18, ILL 14