CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The No. 6 Fighting Illini wrestling team got back on track after defeating Indiana 30-9 in front of 815 fans for the annual 'Great Escape' promotion. Seven Illini wrestlers won their matches with six scoring bonus points. Illinois improves to 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten.
"I think overall we did a good job today," head coach Jim Heffernan said. "It was good to get back on the mat after last weekend. There were a lot of good things we saw today."
The match began at 125 with No. 3 Jesse Delgado winning his 14th match of the season as he moved past Joe Duca by a 24-9 major decision. The sophomore notched almost four minutes of riding time in his victory. At 133, No. 10 Daryl Thomas stayed undefeated in conference play after winning his ninth match of the year. Thomas was the second Illini to score bonus points for the team, winning by a 22-7 tech fall in 5:00 over Alonzo Shepherd to push Illinois' team score to 9-0.
Redshirt-freshman Steven Rodrigues wrestled for the injured B.J. Futrell at 141 pounds in his first collegiate match as an Illini. The Mount Kisco, N.Y., native notched a 14-4 major decision over Alex Gregory to increase Illinois' lead to 13-0 over the Hoosiers. At 149, Caleb Ervin won his second consecutive match after defeating Preston Keiffer 13-1 to give the Illini four more team points, 17-0.
Indiana got on the score board at 157 pounds when No. 12 Taylor Walsh defeated Matt Nora 3-0 to give the Hoosiers three team points. Next at 165 pounds, No. 7 Conrad Polz stayed undefeated in conference play and won his 16th match of the season when he moved past Ryan Konz of Indiana, 6-2. No. 8 Jordan Blanton also scored bonus points for the Illini after defeating Cheney Dale 18-7 to push the team score to 24-3. The Hoosiers scored three more points at 184 as Luke Sheridan defeated Tony Dallago 10-5 to make the score 24-6.
Indiana forfeited at 197 pounds to give the Illini six more team points, pushing the team score to 30-6 with one match remaining. The Hoosiers won the match at heavyweight, 7-2 but the Illini had the match secured by a final score of 30-9.
The Orange and Blue will compete next weekend when they travel to Oak Harbor, Ohio on Friday, Feb. 1 to compete against Ohio State and then return to Huff Hall when they welcome the No. 1 Penn State Nittany Lions on Sunday, Feb. 3.
125: #4 Jesse Delgado (ILL) major dec. Joe Duca (IND) 24-9 (4-0)
133: #10 Daryl Thomas (ILL) tech fall Alonzo Sheperd (IND) 22-7, 5:00 (9-0)
141: Steven Rodrigues (ILL) major dec. Alex Gregory (IND), 14-4 (13-0)
149: Caleb Ervin (ILL) major dec. Preston Keiffer (IND) 13-1 (17-0)
157: #12 Taylor Walsh (IND) dec. Matt Nora (ILL), 3-0 (17-3)
165: #7 Conrad Polz (ILL) dec. Ryan Konz (IND), 6-2 (20-3)
174: #8 Jordan Blanton (ILL) major dec. Cheney Dale (IND), 18-7 (24-3)
184: Luke Sheridan (IND) dec. #12 Tony Dallago (ILL), 10-5 (24-6)
197: #5 Mario Gonzalez (ILL) forfeit over T.J. Hohendael (IND), 6-0 (30-6)
HWT: #15 Adam Chalfant (IND) dec. Chris Lopez (ILL), 7-2 (30-9)