Illini Grapplers Top Huskies, 25-12

By University of Illinois Athletics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois wrestling received victories from No. 6 Zane Richards, Kyle Langenderfer, No. 1 Isaiah Martinez, No. 13 Emery Parker and No. 17 Brooks Black, as the Illini defeated Northern Illinois, 25-12, on Sunday (1/22) afternoon at Huff Hall. Richards, Martinez and Black combined for 16 of the team’s 25 points, highlighted by Black’s first-period pin to end the match. The win improves Illinois’ all-time record against the in-state foe to 19-9.

“I saw a lot on Friday I liked, but I didn’t see much from them today, quite honestly,” Head Coach Jim Heffernan said. “A lot of standing around, a lot of letting them control tie-ups and slow us down. And, the issue was, we didn’t do anything about it. Frankly, it’s just one of those deals after a good win and an emotional high, the safeguard, the thing we try to warn them against, is being flat and that’s about as flat as our team has been in a very, very long time.”

After missing the first three duals of 2017 with an injury, Brooks Black welcomed himself back into the lineup with a pair of pins this weekend. After pinning (0:36) Kostya Golobokov on Friday evening, Black put Northern Illinois’ Caleb Gossett on his back in 38 seconds today.

“I’d say I responded pretty well, getting two pins,” said Black on his return to the lineup. “Maybe not the top caliber of guys but, like Coach Heffernan said after the Michigan match, it’s good to get back out there and get my nerves going because the difference from practice to being in the wrestling ring is a lot different. I responded well. We’ve got a big test next week, Michigan State and then Arizona State, and I think we’ll show.”

Black now has three pins on the season, surpassing his season total from last season.

Illinois’ two top-ranked wrestlers No. 1 Isaiah Martinez and No. 6 Zane Richards both cruised to technical falls to spur the victory.

Martinez matched the team high for takedowns in a dual match this season with 10, five coming in the first period, adding in a two-point near fall in the second period to win 23-7. The technical fall is Martinez’s seventh of the season.

While Martinez dominated the opening period, Richards did much of his damage in the third frame to earn his sixth technical fall of the season. Leading 10-2 entering the final two minutes, Richards doubled his point total with four takedowns to defeat Alijah Jeffery, 20-5.

With the victory, Richards moves into a tie with Carl Perry for 23rd on Illinois’ all-time win list with 98. Jesse Delgado ranks No. 22 in Illini history with 101 career wins.

In addition to the three bonus-point victories, the Fighting Illini added decisions by Mousa Jodeh (10-11) at 141 pounds, Kyle Langenderfer (16-4) at 157 pounds and No. 13 Emery Parker (20-4) at 184 pounds.

Jodeh picked up his tenth win of the season in the defensive struggle against Angel Velasquez. After both wrestlers traded escapes in regulation and a scoreless sudden victory period, Jodeh was able to ride out Velasquez in the tiebreaker to win 2-1.

At 157 pounds, Langenderfer fell behind early after Cade McWhirter opened the match with a takedown. The Mokena, Illinois native regained the lead for good with a reversal in the final minute of period two. Leading 3-2, and 35 seconds of riding time in his favor, Langenderfer kept McWhirter under wraps for the first 1:45 of the third period to clinch the decisive riding time point for the 4-3 decision.

With Illinois’ lead cut to 16-9 through seven matches, No. 13 Emery Parker pushed the lead back out to double-digits with an 8-1 decision of Bryce Gorman. After a scoreless first period, Parker proved too tough on top for Gorman, earning two back points while riding out the Huskie. Parker quickly escaped to start the third, and then added two takedowns, but was unable to get a third takedown for the bonus point before time expired.

Northern Illinois picked up wins from Kirk Johansen (125), No. 12 Steve Bleise (149), Trace Engelkes (174) and No. 9 Shawn Scott (197), each victory coming by decision.

Despite dropping the match, Andre Lee (7-10) gave ninth-ranked Scott everything he could handle before dropping the bout in sudden victory, 7-5. Lee earned two takedowns, including one with 16 seconds left in the match to take a 4-3 lead, but allowed a last-second escape by Scott to send the match into overtime. Scott then earned the winning takedown three seconds into the extra period.

“Andre is showing some progress,” said Heffernan of the redshirt sophomore. “The mistake he made in overtime was probably being in too much of a hurry, but two offensive takedowns in the match was important. He’s frustrated, but he’s wrestling better and he’s making progress.”

Up next, the Fighting Illini conclude their three-match home stand on Friday, January 27 when the Orange and Blue host Michigan State at 7 p.m. As part of ‘Frats to the Mats’ night, University of Illinois fraternities are invited to attend the match and participate in a pre-match thumb-wrestling contest.

Illini Notes:
The Illini improve to 19-9 all-time against Northern Illinois
Brooks Black’s 0:38 pin of Caleb Gossett is the Illini junior’s third of the season and his second in as many matches. Black pinned Kostya Golobokov (Michigan) in 0:36 on Friday night
Zane Richards tied Carl Perry on Illinois’ all-time list with his 98th career victory. Richards is three victories away from No. 22 on the list, Jesse Delgado (101)
Isaiah Martinez earned his team-leading seventh pin of the season, while Richards added his sixth of the season
Emery Parker became the second Illini to reach the 20-win plateau this season, joining 174-pounder Zac Brunson (21)

No. 15 Illinois 25, Northern Illinois 12
125: Kirk Johansen (NIU) won by decision over Travis Piotrowski (ILL), 4-1 | ILL 0, NIU 3
133: No. 6 Zane Richards (ILL) won by technical fall over Alijah Jeffery (NIU), 20-5 | ILL 5, NIU 3
141: Mousa Jodeh (ILL) won by decision over Angel Velasquez (NIU), 2-1 TB-1 | ILL 8, NIU 3
149: #12 Steve Bleise (NIU) won by decision over Eric Barone (ILL), 3-1 | ILL 8, NIU 6
157: Kyle Langenderfer (ILL) won by decision over Caden McWhirter (NIU), 4-3 | ILL 11, NIU 6
165: No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) won by technical fall over Shaun’Que McMurty (NIU), 22-7 | ILL 16, NIU 6
174: Trace Engelkes (NIU) won by decision over No. 12 Zac Brunson (ILL), 6-2 | ILL 16, NIU 9
184: No. 13 Emery Parker (ILL) won by decision over Bryce Gorman (NIU), 8-1 | ILL 19, NIU 9
197: Shawn Scott (NIU) won by decision over Andre Lee (ILL), 7-5 SV-1 | ILL 19, NIU 12
HWT: No. 17 Brooks Black (ILL) won by fall over Caleb Gossett (NIU), 0:38 | ILL 25, NIU 12

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Written by Mike Bare

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