Three Illini Headed to Semifinal Rounds at Midlands

Session III starts at 12 p.m. CT on Monday.

By University of Illinois Athletics

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Three Illinois wrestlers advanced to semifinal rounds in their respective weight classes through quarterfinal victories during Session II Sunday night at the Midlands Championships. Redshirt freshman Zac Braunagel (184), senior Travis Piotrowski (133) and redshirt senior Joey Gunther (174) each won their quarterfinal bouts to move on to semifinal matches, which will be contested during Session III on Monday starting at Noon CT. Their quarterfinal wins, along with four Illini still being alive in wrestlebacks, helped put No. 18 Illinois in fourth place (57 points) out of 35 teams at the Midlands Championships.

Redshirt freshman Zac Braunagel had a big first day at the Midlands Championships. After outscoring his first two opponents by a combined score of 32-6, Braunagel earned a spot in the Sunday night quarterfinals against No. 9 Nelson Brands of Iowa. Braunagel, ranked 21st nationally, knocked off Brands 3-2, tacking on the match-winning takedown to break a 1-1 tie in the closing seconds of the third period. Braunagel will be opposed by another Iowa wrestler, Abe Assad, in tomorrow’s semifinal bout at 184-pounds.

Senior Travis Piotrowski improved to 11-1 on the season with three wins on day one at Midlands. No. 9 Travis Piotrowski secured his spot in tomorrow’s 133-pound semifinals with a 5-3 decision over No. 9 Noah Gonser of Campbell. Piotrowski will take on national No. 1 Austin DeSanto of Iowa in the semifinal bout.

Redshirt senior Joey Gunther earned his spot in the semifinals at 174-pounds with a 3-2 decision over Wisconsin’s Jared Krattiger. Gunther broke through with a takedown with 17 seconds to go in the third period to break the 1-1 tie, and held on for the 3-2 victory. Gunther, who ranks 22nd nationally, will look to take down No. 5 Bryce Steiert of Northern Iowa in the semis.

The Illini also have four wrestlers still alive in the consolation brackets of their respective weight classes. Redshirt sophomore Matt Wroblewski (197) and freshman Luke Luffman (285) each picked up two wins a piece to advance to the second consolation round of eight in their weight classes. Redshirt junior Dylan Duncan (141) and redshirt freshman Danny Braunagel (165) lost their quarterfinal matchups tonight but will continue on in wrestlebacks tomorrow during Session III.

All sessions of the 2019 Midlands Championships can be streamed with a subscription to FloWrestling. Live results are also available with a subscription to FloWrestling.

Full Illinois Session II Results

133: #9 Travis Piotrowski (Sr.) | 3-0

Champ Round of 32: #9 Travis Piotrowski tech. fall Dominic Dentino (Wisconsin), 15-0
Champ Round of 16: #9 Travis Piotrowski dec. Brock Bergelin (Central Michigan), 6-1
Quarterfinal: #9 Travis Piotrowski dec. #10 Noah Gonser (Campbell), 5-3

174: #22 Joey Gunther (r-Sr.) | 3-0

Champ Round of 32: #22 Joey Gunther dec. Lennox Wolak (Columbia), 8-4
Champ Round of 16: #22 Joey Gunther TB-2 Brandon Martino (Fresno State), 2-1
Quarterfinal: #22 Joey Gunther dec. Jared Krattiger (Wisconsin), 3-2

184: #21 Zac Braunagel (r-Fr.) | 3-0

Champ Round of 32: #21 Zac Braunagel tech. fall Jed Smith (Army), 20-2
Champ Round of 16: #21 Zac Braunagel major dec. Anthony Orozco (Menlo), 10-4
Quarterfinal: #21 Zac Braunagel dec. #9 Nelson Brands (Iowa), 3-2

141: Dylan Duncan (r-Jr.) | 3-1

Champ Round of 64: Dylan Duncan Fall Lawrence Saenz (Fresno State), 4:08
Champ Round of 32: Dylan Duncan Fall Lukus Stricker (Harvard), 5:26
Champ Round of 16: Dylan Duncan dec. #23 Matt Kazimir (Columbia), 8-2
Quarterfinal: #7 Max Murin (Iowa) dec. Dylan Duncan, 8-5

165: Danny Braunagel (r-Fr.) | 2-1

Champ Round of 32: Danny Braunagel Fall Mason Smith (Army), 4:27
Champ Round of 16: Danny Braunagel dec. #15 Shayne Oster (Northwestern), 10-6
Quarterfinal: #6 David McFadden (Virginia Tech) dec. Danny Braunagel, 5-2

197: Matt Wroblewski (r-So.) | 3-1

Champ Round of 32: Matt Wroblewski major dec. Dylan Anderson (Minnesota), 10-2
Champ Round of 16: #8 Christian Brunner (Purdue) major dec. Matt Wroblewski, 14-1
Cons. Round of 16 #2: Matt Wroblewski SV-1 Tyrell Gordon (Northern Iowa), 5-1
Cons. Round of 8 #1: Matt Wroblewski dec. Nicholas Willham (Indiana), 3-1

285: Luke Luffman (Fr.) | 3-1

Champ Round of 32: Luke Luffman dec. Brandon Streck (Indiana), 5-4
Champ Round of 16: #4 Trent Hillger (Wisconsin) dec. Luke Luffman, 4-0
Cons. Round of 16 #2: Luke Luffman TB-2 Ben Goldin (Penn), 3-2
Cons. Round of 8 #1: Luke Luffman TB-2 Vincenzo Pelusi (Franklin & Marshall), 2-1

125: Justin Cardani (r-Fr.) | 2-2

Champ Round of 32: Justin Cardani dec. Ryan Chauvin (Army), 6-5
Champ Round of 16: #13 Michael Colaiocco (Penn) major dec. Justin Cardani, 10-2
Cons. Round of 16 #2: Justin Cardani dec. Liam Cronin (Indiana), 6-4
Cons. Round of 8 #1: #22 Gage Curry (American) SV-1 Justin Cardani, 7-5
Justin Cardani is eliminated.

133: Lucas Byrd* (Fr.) | 1-2

Champ Round of 32: Lucas Byrd Fall Marshall Craig (Purdue), 2:08
Champ Round of 16: Carmen Ferrante (Penn) dec. Lucas Byrd, 4-3
Cons. Round of 16 #2: Drew Marten (Central Michigan) dec. Lucas Byrd, 4-2
Lucas Byrd is eliminated.

141: We Rachal (r-Fr.) | 1-2

Champ Round of 64: Zach Sherman (North Carolina) dec. We Rachal, 5-0
Cons. Round of 32: We Rachal Fall Anthony Gibson (Northern Illinois), 0:09
Cons. Round of 16 #1: Lukus Stricker (Harvard) dec. We Rachal, 9-3
We Rachal is eliminated.

157: #22 Eric Barone (r-Sr.) | 2-2

Champ Round of 32: #22 Eric Barone dec. Derek Holschlag (Northern Iowa), 3-2
Champ Round of 16: #9 Anthony Artalona (Penn) major dec. #22 Eric Barone, 6:02
Cons. Round of 16 #2: #22 Eric Barone dec. Garrett Model (Wisconsin), 4-1
Cons. Round of 8 #1: Cade Devos (South Dakota State) dec. Eric Barone, 3-2
Eric Barone is eliminated.

174: David Riojas (Jr.) | 2-2

Champ Round of 32: David Riojas major dec. Logan Stanley (Ohio), 8-0
Champ Round of 16: #4 Dylan Lydy (Purdue) dec. David Riojas, 4-0
Cons. Round of 16 #2: David Riojas dec. Kevin Gschwendtner, 11-5
Cons. Round of 8 #1: Donnell Washington (Indiana) dec. David Riojas, 9-2
David Riojas is eliminated.

174: Trey Sizemore* (Fr.) | 0-2

Champ Round of 16: #20 Jacob Covaciu (Indiana) inj. default Trey Sizemore, 4:32
Cons. Round of 16 #2: Mitch Hartman (Bucknell med. forfeit Trey Sizemore, MFF
Trey Sizemore is eliminated.

184: Nikita Nepomnyashchiy (r-So.) | 1-2

Champ Round of 32: Johnny Sebastian (Wisconsin) major dec. Nikita Nepomnyashchiy, 9-0
Cons. Round of 16 #1: Nikita Nepomnyashchiy dec. Carson Berryhill (Oklahoma), 12-7
Cons. Round of 16 #2: Hunter Cruz (Fresno State) dec. Nikita Nepomnyashchiy, 4-0
Nikita Nepomnyashchiy is eliminated.

#- National ranking from FloWrestling
*- Competing unattached

For complete coverage of Fighting Illini Wrestling, visit, follow the Illini on Twitter (@illiniwrestling) and Instagram (illiniwrestling) and like Fighting Illini Wrestling on Facebook.

Related: Five Illini Wrestlers Advance to Quarterfinal Rounds at Midlands Championships

What do you think?

175 Points
Upvote Downvote

Written by Mike Bare

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Huskie Quartet Advances at 57th Midlands Championships

Semifinals Set at #Midlands57