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  • Illini wrestling prepares to open season

    http://www.morrisdailyherald.com/art...7billinois.txt

    Illini wrestling prepares to open season
    Dergo will move from 184 to 174-pounds for his sophomore season

    Thursday, November 8, 2007 2:32 PM CST


    CHAMPAIGN - A year after the Illini expected to spend a season rebuilding and ended up with an 11-1 record in dual meets and a second-place finish in the Big Ten dual meet season, Illinois wrestling returns eight starters who have qualified for the NCAA Championships in their college careers. Seven Illini earned preseason rankings by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, with Mike Poeta leading the way at No. 3 in 157. The majority of the Illinois squad opens the season Nov. 18 at the Missouri Open, while Poeta will travel to the NWCA All-Star Classic on Nov. 19.

    Those eight wrestlers look to lead the Fighting Illini through a typically tough Mark Johnson schedule that includes the Las Vegas Invitational, the Midlands tournament and kicks off the Big Ten schedule with a trip to Michigan. After another road match at defending national champion Minnesota, Illinois wraps up the Big Ten season with a Senior Day match against archrival Iowa.

    The Illini lost former All-American Cassio Pero from last season's squad as well as Matt Winterhalter at 174. The open tournaments early in the season will help solidify the 149- and 184-pound weight classes.

    125-pounds

    NWCA No. 13 Gabe Flores is the only senior in this season's projected lineup, which bodes well for the Illini in 2008-09. But having Flores in the lightest class will be an advantage for the Illini this season, as he has qualified for the past two NCAA Championships and should enter 2007-08 with an impressive ranking. Flores is healthy entering the season for the first time since his redshirt-freshman year and enters the campaign after a productive off-season. Flores will provide leadership after going 21-7 in 2006-07, his first season at his natural weight class. Redshirt-freshman John Deneen will back-up Flores at 125.







    133-pounds

    Sophomore Jimmy Kennedy enters his second season as the starter at 133 after being named the No. 1 rookie in the weight class in the country by Amateur Wrestling News. Kennedy, ranked No. 5 by NWCA, went 29-7 last season, including an 11-1 record in duals that accounted for the second-most dual points by an Illini, and was the No. 9 seed at the NCAA Championships as a true-freshman. A student of the sport, Kennedy will be shooting for an All-America honor after dropping a sudden-victory match in the round of 12 at the NCAA Championships last season. Freshmen state champions Zeke Rowan and Ryan Prater, and senior Joe Gomez will also wrestle at 133.

    141-pounds

    Troy Tirapelle slips down to the 141-pound class in his junior season after competing at 149 for two seasons. An All-American his freshman year, Tirapelle fought through a serious ankle injury during the latter part of the 2006-07 season that severely limited his performance at last year's Big Ten Tournament. As the son of a successful coach and the youngest in a long line of brothers who found success on the mat, Tirapelle is looking for another All-America honor in 2007-08. True-freshman state champion Vince Vercelli will back up Tirapelle.
    149-pounds

    This is the first of only two weight classes in which the Illini do not return a starter from the 2006-07 campaign. Senior Dan Zeman and redshirt-freshmen Sean Reynolds and Joe Kotowski will battle it out throughout the open tournaments for the spot in the Orange and Blue lineup. Zeman has filled in at 149 and 157 the past two seasons, and Reynolds is coming off a redshirt season in which he recovered from a knee injury. Fully healthy, Reynolds looks to return to the form that made him a two-time undefeated state champion in high school and a three-time Junior National All-American. Kotowski was a state runner-up in high school who also redshirted in 2006-07. Adding depth to the class will be redshirt-freshman Matt Lee and true-freshmen Grant Paswall and Jake Beechy.

    157-pounds

    Team captain and 2007 All-American Mike Poeta will lead the Illini from his spot at 157 pounds, where he is ranked No. 3 by NWCA. Poeta dominated his class last season, winning the Midlands championship and racking up a 25-3 record with a 9-0 record in duals. He finished third at the NCAA Championships, fourth at Big Tens and held the No. 1 ranking for nine consecutive weeks before suffering his first loss of the season at the Big Ten Tournament. With a career record of 53-10, Poeta is likely to be near the top of the rankings once again. Working behind him will be Clint Arlis, who wrestled in three Big Ten duals last season in Poeta's absence. Senior Andrew Lukanich also will wrestle at 157 after battling injuries the past two years, and redshirt-freshman Adam Domanico returns from shoulder surgery in 2006-07.
    165-pounds

    NWCA No. 8 Roger Smith-Bergsrud enters his junior season after a stellar campaign a year ago. Smith-Bergsrud placed sixth at the Big Ten Tournament, qualifying for the NCAA Championships, and also proved to be durable as the only wrestler to compete at 165 for the Illini in 2006-07. After racking up a record of 32-11, including a 10-2 mark in dual action, Smith-Bergsrud enters 2007-08 looking for more. Dubbed a surprise by many in his first year in the lineup, Smith-Bergsrud reached the round of 12 at NCAAs. Transfer Joe Barczak will back him up at 165.

    174-pounds

    A year after qualifying for the NCAA Championships at 184 pounds with a fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships as a true-freshman, John Dergo will drop to a more natural weight class at 174. A member of Amateur Wrestling News' All-Rookie team in 2006-07 and with a No. 13 preseason NWCA ranking, Dergo will strive to continue the great success he has had throughout his athletic career. Redshirt-freshmen Ben Friedl, brother of former Illini All-American Pete Friedl, and Clinton Polz will back-up Dergo.

    184-pounds

    The other weight class where the Illini don't return a starter, 184-pounds will see some strong competition between seniors Pat Brownson and Dave Gleissner, and redshirt-freshman Ben Friedl. Both wrestlers competed in open events a year ago, with Brownson racking up a 6-5 mark and placing fourth at the Missouri Open and fifth at the UNI Open. Gleissner was 11-7 last season, finishing third at the Dubuque Open.

    197-pounds

    National qualifier and preseason NWCA No. 13 Patrick Bond returns after a highly successful redshirt-freshman year in which he went 16-7 with a 7-2 record in duals. Bond placed fifth at the Big Ten Tournament and was named to Amateur Wrestling News' All-Rookie team. Bond looks to return even stronger after spending three weeks at the United States Olympic Training Center, where he trained with the Pan American and World Championship teams. Sophomore Jake Norman and freshman Harold White also will wrestle at 197.

    HWT

    NWCA No. 13 John Wise made the most of his first season as a full-time starter in 2006-07, qualifying for the NCAA Championships after placing seventh at the Big Ten Tournament. Wise has improved his size and strength as well as his technique in the off-season, pointing toward more success in 2007-08. He will be pushed by redshirt-freshman Mike Shaub, who went 12-5 in open tournaments a year ago, and true-freshman Joe Rizqallah.
    sigpic
    ‎"Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance"
    ~Albert Einstein~

  • #2
    Tirapelli an AA?

    Actually, after a great Big Ten tournament he was two and out.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by wrestlingnut View Post
      Actually, after a great Big Ten tournament he was two and out.
      Yeah, I noticed that, too. After his great run at Big Tens, Troy lost to Boise State's Sherfey by Tech Fall and Army's Simpson by Maj Dec. Not exactly an AA performance. For the writer, I think it is called poetic license.

      However, the article was half-decent. Interesting that on the U of Illinois website there is nothing to indicate that the article came from a newspaper.

      Lots of teams are beginning their season tonight or this weekend. For Illinois, we'll have to wait one more week.

      Since Coach Johnson isn't holding a public intra-squad, does anyone know of any within-the-room results at 149 or 174? Or are these top-secret?

      Comment


      • #4
        Unfortunately, I believe Reynolds' career is over due to yet another knee injury that requires surgery. Tough breaks for Sean and Don... would have been fun to watch both if they could have just stayed healthy. Before the injuries they both competed at a high level and beat many top wrestlers in the country. I would say Zeman will earn the spot in Sean's absense.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by C.A.Z. View Post
          Unfortunately, I believe Reynolds' career is over due to yet another knee injury that requires surgery. Tough breaks for Sean and Don... would have been fun to watch both if they could have just stayed healthy. Before the injuries they both competed at a high level and beat many top wrestlers in the country. I would say Zeman will earn the spot in Sean's absense.
          Kotowski will battle as well! Is Sean R. definitely out? That's too bad if so...and pretty sad that both Don and Sean would go out with knee injuries like that.
          "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Attitude View Post
            Kotowski will battle as well! Is Sean R. definitely out? That's too bad if so...and pretty sad that both Don and Sean would go out with knee injuries like that.
            Yes, Sean is done. His career is over. I really feel bad for that kid and the Reynolds. Both of those kids careers being cut short by injuries... there is no other way to say it, other than it sucks.

            I agree on Kotowski. I personally think he is going to win the spot.
            "When I step on the mat I try to score points & entertain the fans". Offensive points scored 2205.. Offensive points against 32.. Never put on his back.. 97 pins.. 24 TF.. 26 MD.. 16 Dec.. 17 FFT.. 2 ID.. 90% of wins by bonus points.. 93% of wins at State by bonus points.. final 115 matches offensively outscored opponents 1472-2.. never taken down in any state series match in IKWF or IHSA.. some say that's not dominating.. some say not a good mat wrestler.. I disagree.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by wrestlingnut View Post
              Tirapelli an AA?
              Actually, after a great Big Ten tournament he was two and out.
              wrestlingnut,

              Read the sentence again:

              "As the son of a successful coach and the youngest in a long line of brothers who found success on the mat, Tirapelle is looking for another All-America honor in 2007-08."

              It doesn't say Troy was an AA, but is referring to another AA for the Tirapelle family (father and two older brothers before who were AAs).

              Given the date written, I find the 149 lb writeup a little more suprising, but I have yet to read a newspaper/communication article that didn't have errors so this is consistent from that aspect.

              Comment


              • #8
                Lot of UofI wrestlers at the Loras Open today wrestling unattached. Those I remember were: Prater, Bullard, Rowan, Tirappele (sorry about spelling), Poeta, Wise. Poeta took 1st; Brantley of UNI beat Wise in the finals I believe; Prater took 2nd losing the championship match by one point.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ionel View Post
                  wrestlingnut,

                  Read the sentence again:

                  "As the son of a successful coach and the youngest in a long line of brothers who found success on the mat, Tirapelle is looking for another All-America honor in 2007-08."

                  It doesn't say Troy was an AA, but is referring to another AA for the Tirapelle family (father and two older brothers before who were AAs).

                  Given the date written, I find the 149 lb writeup a little more suprising, but I have yet to read a newspaper/communication article that didn't have errors so this is consistent from that aspect.
                  Read the second sentence.

                  " An All-American his freshman year, Tirapelle fought through a serious ankle injury during the latter part of the 2006-07 season that severely limited his performance at last year's Big Ten Tournament."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by funk em up View Post
                    Read the second sentence.

                    " An All-American his freshman year, Tirapelle fought through a serious ankle injury during the latter part of the 2006-07 season that severely limited his performance at last year's Big Ten Tournament."
                    Yes, I clearly missed that one. It does make you wonder how one can write that without checking the facts. However, this fits with what I said earlier, most in the communication area especially newspaper staff writers, just don't take the time to check the facts.

                    Have any found results or brackets for the Loras Open?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ionel View Post
                      Yes, I clearly missed that one. It does make you wonder how one can write that without checking the facts. However, this fits with what I said earlier, most in the communication area especially newspaper staff writers, just don't take the time to check the facts.

                      Have any found results or brackets for the Loras Open?
                      The real danger i when you quote facts given to you by a coach, A.D. or S.I.D. and they are wrong...next thing you know the editor is on your butt because a retraction has to be printed...it happens to all sports writers because there usually not enough time to check every quote given you...the editors usual put your back to the wall in relationship to deadlines...it's a ugly catch 22...I had a retraction two weeks ago because the coach gave me his wrong age...note I said the coach gave me...oh well...life goes on...

                      Comment

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