COLLEGE PARK, Md. – No. 15 Illinois wrestling won its fifth straight dual on Sunday afternoon, winning at Maryland, 31-9. The Illini won bouts in eight of the 10 weight classes, with victories from junior David Riojas (174), redshirt freshman Zac Braunagel (184), freshman Luke Luffman (285), redshirt freshman Justin Cardani (125), senior Travis Piotrowski (133), redshirt junior Dylan Duncan (141), redshirt senior Mousa Jodeh (149) and redshirt senior Eric Barone (157). Illinois is now 9-3 on the season and 6-2 in Big Ten duals.
“The guys looked pretty good today,” said head coach Jim Heffernan. “I’m really happy Mousa (Jodeh) got a win; he’s been fighting hard and deserved it. It was a solid effort, and guys are hustling and working hard. It was a long weekend and we’re ready to get back to campus.”
Junior David Riojas got the start today at 174-pounds and took on No. 25 Philip Spadafora in the day’s first bout. Riojas, starting in the Illini lineup for the first time this season, tallied four takedowns and two escapes on his way to a 10-5 decision over the nationally-ranked Spadafora.
Up next was Zac Braunagel taking on Kyle Jasenski in the 184-pound match. Ranked 14th nationally, Braunagel was dominant, racking up takedowns and closing the match with a four-point nearfall to take a 23-5 tech. fall against Jasenski. Braunagel is now 17-7 this season.
Freshman Luke Luffman was the next Illini winner. Ranked 25th nationally, Luffman tallied four takedowns, a four-point nearfall, a reversal and added the riding time point for a 15-2 major decision over Parker Robinson. Luffman’s victory puts his record at 15-6 this season.
Redshirt freshman Justin Cardani extended the Illini lead with a victory at 125-pounds over Brandon Cray. Cardani scored with a reversal in the second, an escape in the third and added the riding time point to take a 4-2 decision over Cray. Cardani, ranked 21st nationally, is now 14-6 overall, 10-2 in duals and 7-1 in Big Ten bouts.
Senior Travis Piotrowski controlled his matchup with King Sandoval at 133-pounds. Piotrowski scored with a takedown, an escape and added the riding time point on his way to a 4-0 shutout decision over Sandoval. Piotrowski is now 21-2 this season, and remains a perfect, 12-0 in dual bouts.
Redshirt junior Dylan Duncan continued his hot streak with his fifth consecutive victory. Taking on Quinn Devaney in the 141-pound match, Duncan had powered his way to a 12-1 lead. At the end of the second, Duncan got Devaney onto his back and achieved the pin, recording the fall time at 4:54 into the match. Ranked 11th nationally, Duncan has now won five straight bouts, and his record stands at 17-6 overall and 6-1 in Big Ten duals.
Redshirt senior Mousa Jodeh picked up a Big Ten win with a dominant performance against Ryan Garlitz. Jodeh picked up a takedown in the first and turned Garlitz for a four-point nearfall. He added another takedown, along with the riding time point, winning by major decision, 9-1.
Redshirt senior Eric Barone won his second match of the weekend, defeating Jahi Jones in the 157-pound match. Barone scored with a late first period takedown and escaped twice later on, winning the match by decision, 4-3.
Up next, No. 15 Illinois will host No. 7 Purdue on Sunday, February 16 at Huff Hall. The dual will begin at 1 p.m. CT and will air live on Big Ten Network. The matchup will be Fighting Illini Fit Day at Huff Hall. Their will be a free workout class prior to the dual, and the first 150 fans will receive a free Illini blender bottle.
174: David Riojas (ILL) dec. No. 25 Phillip Spadafora (UMD), 10-5 | ILL 3, UMD 0
184: No. 14 Zac Braunagel (ILL) tech. fall Kyle Jasenski (UMD), 23-5 | ILL 8, UMD 0
197: Jaron Smith (UMD) dec. No. 30 Matt Wroblewski (ILL), 6-5 | ILL 8, UMD 3
285: No. 25 Luke Luffman (ILL) major dec. Parker Robinson (UMD), 15-2 | ILL 12, UMD 3
125: No. 21 Justin Cardani (ILL) dec. Brandon Cray (UMD), 4-2 | ILL 15, UMD 3
133: No. 7 Travis Piotrowski (ILL) dec. King Sandoval (UMD), 4-0 | ILL 18, UMD 3
141: No. 11 Dylan Duncan (ILL) Fall Quinn Devaney (UMD), 4:54 | ILL 24, UMD 3
149: Mousa Jodeh (ILL) major dec. Ryan Gartlitz (UMD), 9-1 | ILL 28, UMD 3
157: Eric Barone (ILL) dec. Jahi Jones (UMD), 4-3 | ILL 31, UMD 3
165: Kyle Cochran (UMD) forfeit No. 13 Danny Braunagel (ILL) | ILL 31 UMD 9