Gunther Wins in Illini Debut as Illinois Drops Grapple in the Grove to No. 10 Missouri

Over 2,000 fans attended the outdoor dual

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The No. 17 Illinois wrestling team dropped its dual versus No. 10 Missouri by a score of 30-8 on Saturday in a match held outside at Grange Grove. Redshirt junior Joey Gunther earned a victory in his Illinois debut, wrestling to a 4-1 decision over Connor Flynn. Redshirt junior Eric Barone and redshirt senior Emery Parker also were victorious in their season-debuts at 157-pounds and 184-pounds respectively.

“Overall, I’m not very pleased with our effort,” said head coach Jim Heffernan. “There was nowhere near enough offense, excitement or hustle. We need to get a few weight classes figured out and get some guys healthy and back in the line up. We have a lot to work on and need to get better.”

Barone earned a 9-2 decision over Missouri’s Lane Stigall in the 157-pound matchup. Barone never trailed in the dual. After leading 1-0 after the first period, Barone extended his lead to 4-0 with a takedown near the end of the second period. Barone padded his lead in the third period with two more takedowns. No. 17 Gunther’s decision over Flynn in the 165-pound matchup made it back-to-back victories for the Orange and Blue.

No. 2 Emery Parker came from behind to get the victory in the 184-pound bout against Dylan Wisman. He tied the score at two with a takedown and then took the lead to start the third with an escape. The 2018 All-American tacked on two more points to earn a 5-3 decision.

No. 8 redshirt sophomore Mike Carr had his upset bid against No. 3 Jaydin Eirman come up just short in one of the day’s most exciting matches. Carr took the lead in the 141-pound matchup after two takedowns put him ahead 4-1. After Eirman tied the match, Carr jumped back in front to a 9-4 advantage following an escape, a takedown and a technical violation on Eirman. Eirman, however, was able to come back to tie the score at 10 in the third to force overtime, where he won the match 12-10 following a takedown.

In the 197-pound matchup, redshirt senior Andre Lee and Wyatt Koelling saw their tight contest go into overtime. Koelling edged out Lee by a score of 2-1.

Redshirt freshmen Josh Contreras (125) and Abdullah Assaf (133) made their first starts for the Illini. JUCO transfer Christian Kanzler made his first appearance for the Orange and Blue in the 149-pound bout.

The Illini return to action next weekend for their first tournament of the season, the Maryville Open in St. Louis. The all-day event will take place next Saturday, November 10.

For complete coverage of Fighting Illini wrestling, go to and follow @IlliniWrestling on Twitter and Instagram.

Illini Notes:
Joey Gunther was victorious in his Illinois debut. The Iowa transfer defeated Connor Flynn in a 4-1 decision in the 165-pound match.
Along with Gunther, three more Illini made their first starts for the Orange and Blue on Saturday: Josh Contreras (125), Abdullah Assaf (133) and Christian Kanzler (149, Illinois debut)
The first Grapple in the Grove held at Grange Grove outside of Memorial Stadium had an estimated attendance of 2,159

#10 Missouri 30, #17 Illinois 8
125: Colby Smith (MIZ) tech. fall Josh Contreras (ILL): 15-0 | MIZ 5, ILL 0
133: No. 9 John Erneste (MIZ) major dec. Abdullah Assaf (ILL): 13-0 | MIZ 9, ILL 0
141: No. 3 Jaydin Eierman dec. No. 8 Mike Carr (ILL): 12-10 | MIZ 12, ILL 0
149: No. 4 Grant Leeth (MIZ) default Christian Kanzler (ILL): 10-1 | MIZ 18, ILL -1
157: Eric Barone (ILL) dec. Lane Stigall (MIZ): 9-2 | MIZ 18, ILL 2
165: No. 17 Joey Gunther (ILL) dec. No. 14 Connor Flynn (MIZ): 4-1 | MIZ 18, ILL 5
174: No. 4 Daniel Lewis (MIZ) fall Jake DiBenedetto (ILL): 12-2 | MIZ 24, ILL 5
184: No. 2 Emery Parker (ILL) dec. Dylan Wisman (MIZ): 5-3 | MIZ 24, ILL 8
197: Wyatt Koelling (MIZ) dec. Andre Lee (ILL): 2-1 | MIZ 27, ILL 8
HWT: Zach Elam (MIZ) dec. Deuce Rachal (ILL): 10-4 | MIZ 30, ILL 8

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Written by Mike Bare

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