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University of Illinois Big Ten Championships advance press release



ILLINI WRESTLERS SET TOP COMPETE AT 87th ANNUAL BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS: The seventh-ranked University of Illinois wrestling team will travel to Evanston, Ill., for the 87th annual Big Ten Wrestling Championships. The championships will be held March 3-4 at Welsh-Ryan Arena on the campus of Northwestern University. The Fighting Illini enter this year's championship after compiling a 12-2 dual record (6-2 in the Big Ten), a first-place finish in the 52-team field at the Las Vegas Invitational and a sixth-place finish at Midlands. The Illini rank second in the Big Ten in team championships with 16. The last Illinois team to win the title was in 1952. Iowa leads the Big Ten with 29 team championships. Illinois has also crowned 56 individual Big Ten champions which ranks fifth. The last Illinois individual champion was 149-pounder Adam Tirapelle last season. The Lineup Overall Dual Wt./Wrestler/Overall Record/DualRecord 125 Ryan Escobar 22-10 11-3 133 Kelly Madden 16-9 4-2 141 Mike Castillo 20-7 13-1 149 Adam Tirapelle 23-1 13-1 157 Griff Powell 21-9 10-3 165 Matt Lackey 23-7 12-2 174 Ben King 14-5 7-3 184 Nate Patrick 28-2 14-0 197 Pat Quirk 23-7 10-4 Hwt John Lockhart 24-6 12-2 NCAA Qualifying Tournament: The Big Ten championship is also a national qualifying tournament with 72 wrestlers advancing to the NCAA championship in Iowa City, Iowa, on March 15-17. The top seven placewinners in each of the 10 weight classes along with two wild card selections will advance. Illinois was the only Big Ten school to have all 10 of its wrestlers qualify for the NCAA tournament last season. Quick Shots: * Adam Tirapelle, the nation1s second-ranked 149 pounder, tied the school record for career pins with his 31st career fall on Jan. 21 against Gabe Cook of Indiana. With his next fall he will become the Illini1s career pins leader. Tirapelle is also moving up the career victories list and currently has 119 wins. With his next win his will tie Illini assistant coach of former national champion Steve Marianetti for second on the list with 120 wins. With two wins he ties Ernest Benion1s career mark of 121. With three victories he becomes the Illini1s all-time career leader in wins. * The Illinois lineup features six senior starters who will be vying for their last shots at Big Ten and national titles. The seniors are Ryan Escobar (125 pounds), Mike Castillo (141), Adam Tirapelle (149), Ben King (174), Nate Patrick (184) and Pat Quirk (197). * Nate Patrick, one of the Illini seniors, may be back next season. Patrick tore his ACL prior to the 1997-98 season and has only been in the starting lineup for two complete seasons. He completed his redshirt season during the 1996-97 season and will seek a medical redshirt year from the NCAA. He finished second at 184 pounds at last year1s Big Ten Championships, injury defaulting in the finals. UP NEXT: Illinois will travel to Evanston, Ill., for the Big Ten Wrestling Championships set for March 3-4. Any Illini qualifiers will participate in the NCAA championships on March 15-17 in Iowa City, Iowa. LAST TIME OUT: The Illini improved to 12-2 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten with a 25-6 win over No. 8 Ohio State. John Lockhart of Illinois dropped a narrow 3-2 decision to No. 1 Tommy Rowlands in the dual1s opening match but win the next eight decisions for the decisive victory. CASTILLO EARNS WEEKLY HONOR Illini wrestler Mike Castillo was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week by the conference office following his performance in duals at Purdue and Wisconsin. Castillo, a senior from Western Springs, Ill., went 2-0 during the week with a 15-5 major decision win over Paul Sacquitne of Purdue and an 8-3 upset win over No. 13 Grant Hoerr of Wisconsin. Castillo, ranked No. 20 at the time, has moved up to No. 12 in the Intermat individual rankings at 141 pounds. THE RATING GAME: The Fighting Illini are ranked seventh in the latest InterMat NCAA Division I wrestling rankings. Nine Illini individuals are also ranked, they are: Ryan Escobar, 17th (125); Mike Castillo, 12th (141); Adam Tirapelle, 2nd (149); Griff Powell, 17th (157); Matt Lackey, 6th (165); Ben King, 14th (174); Nate Patrick, 2nd (184), Pat Quirk, 12th (197) and John Lockhart, 5th (Heavyweight). FALL GUYS: Adam Tirapelle has tied Keith Healy as the Illini's all-time career pins leader. He has eight falls this season and his next pin will place him alone atop the list. Nate Patrick is also making a push up the chart. The senior is currently 28-2 with a team-leading nine falls and has moved into a tie for fifth with Karl Roesler on the list with 21 career pins. CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Several Illini are climbing the career wins and pins charts. Adam Tirapelle is 23-1 on the season and has amassed 119 career wins. He currently needs only two more wins to tie Ernest Benion as the Illini career wins leader and three to take possession. At his current pace he will gain the record at the Big Ten tournament in Evanston on March 3-4. Pat Quirk has also cracked the top 10 in career wins. He has 23 wins this season giving him 100 for his career which ranks eighth all-time, just ahead of 2000 NCAA 141-pound national champion Carl Perry. ANOTHER MARK IN THE BOOK: The Illini's success on the mat this season has moved head coach Mark Johnson atop the Illini recordbook for career coaching wins. Johnson moved past B.R. Patterson with a 32-3 win over Penn State, moving Johnson's record to 101-25-1 in under nine complete seasons. Patterson ammased a record of 100-113-12 from 1951-68, a span of 18 years. Johnson's current record is 103-26-1. THE COACH: Head coach Mark Johnson is in his ninth season as head coach of the Fighting Illini, with a record of 104-26-1 (.798) at Illinois * Has a career record of 124-31-3 (.794) in 11 years * Became the Illini all-time career leader in coaching victories with a 32-3 win over Penn State. He surpassed B.R. Patterson1s total of 100 wins. It took Patterson 18 seasons to accumulate 100 wins while Johnson did it in less than nine years. * 1977 Michigan graduate and two-time All-American at 177 pounds * 1980 U.S. Olympic team member * 1995 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year * Has coached four national champions (Ernest Benion, Steve Marianetti, Eric Siebert and Carl Perry), seven NCAA finalitst, 19 All-Americans and 62 Big Ten placewinners at Illinois Illinosi Career Wins Wrestler (Wt.) Wins 1. Ernest Benion (158) 121 2. Steve Marianetti (134/150) 120 3. Adam Tirapelle (149) 119 4. Eric Siebert (150) 112 5. Jevon Herman (177) 110 6. Kevin Puebla (126) 110 7. Jon Llewellyn (Hwt) 106 8. Pat Quirk (197) 100 9. Carl Perry (126/141) 98 10. Kirk Azinger (142/150) 91 Seth Brady (Hwt) 91 Nate Patrick (184) 91 Current Illini 18. John Lockhart (Hwt) 81 Illinois Career Pins Wrestler (Wt.) Pins 1. Keith Healy (134) 31 Adam Tirapelle (149) 31 3. Larry TenPas (157) 26 4. Bob Norman (Hwt) 22 5. Karl Roesler (Hwt) 21 Nate Patrick (184) 21 7. Eric Seibert (150) 19 8. Mike O1Brien (126) 18 9. Bill Zeman (165) 17 10. John Lockhart (Hwt) 15 Current Illini Ryan Escobar (125) 10 Illinois Career Coaching Wins Coach Years Record 1. Mark Johnson 1993- 104-26-1 2. B.R. Patterson 1951-68 100-113-12 3. H.E. Kenney 1929-43, 47 95-30-3 4. Ron Clinton 1984-92 47-83-0 5. Paul Prehn 1920-28 42-5-0 6. Tom Porter 1974-78 39-50-1 7. Greg Johnson 1979-83 37-52-2 8. Glenn Law 1944-50 30-15-2 9. Jack Robinson 1969-73 27-50-1 10. Walter Evans 1915-17 7-2-2 11. A. Elston 1912-13 2-1-0 12. T. Paulsen 1914 1-0-0 13. R.N. Far
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