Illinois Takes Early Lead At 2005 Big Ten Wrestling Championships

March 5, 2005

IOWA CITY, IA – With the first round and quarterfinals of competition in the books at the 2005 Big Ten Conference Wrestling Championships the University of Illinois has a slim lead heading into Saturday’s (March 5) semifinal matches here at the University of Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Fighting Illini have 56.5 points total entering the evening session. Minnesota sits in second place with 55 points; Michigan is third with 54 points, Indiana fourth with 52 points and Iowa rounds out the top five with 47 points. Closing out the standings is Michigan State with 36.5, Northwestern with 34.5, Wisconsin with 29, Purdue with 29, Penn State with 15 and Ohio State with nine.

In the 125-pound bracket three of the top four wrestlers advanced to the semifinals with top seeded Kyle Ott of Illinois included in the group. Ott will wrestle Bobbe Lowe of Minnesota the fifth ranked wrestler who advanced to the semis on a 9-3 decision over John Velez of Northwestern – the fourth seed. Joe Dubuque of Indiana and Nick Simmons of Michigan State will be the other semifinal match-up.

Another Illinois wrestler is in the semis in the 133-pound division. Top seeded Mark Jayne will face Iowa’s Mario Galanakis for the right to wrestle in the conference finals and face the winner of the other semifinal between Mark Moos of Michigan and Mack Reiter of Minnesota.

At 141-pounds, Josh Churella of Michigan reached the semis with a 3-0 shutout decision in the quarterfinals versus Ed Gutnik of Wisconsin. Michael Simpson of Indiana will be Churella’s opponent in the semis while Ryan Lang of Northwestern and Andy Simmons of MSU will wrestle in the other semifinal.

The Wolverine’s Eric Tannenbaum faces the Spartan’s Darren McKnight in the first semifinal at 149-pounds. The Badger’s Craig Hennings is coming off a major-decision in his quarterfinal tilt and will face Ty Eustice of the host Hawkeyes in the semis.

Another Wolverine is in the semifinals of the 157-pound event. Top-seeded Ryan Bertin will attempt to reach the finals for the Maize and Blue by defeating fifth-seeded Brandon Becker of Indiana. Joe Johnston of Iowa and Alex Tirapelle of Illinois make up the other semifinal bout.

All four top seeds will be featured in the 165-pound bracket. Ryan Churella of Michigan faces Jake Donar of Wisconsin while Matt Nagel of Minnesota goes up against Mark Perry of Iowa. Pete Friedl of Illinois will face Indiana’s Brady Richardson at 174-pounds while R.J. Boudro of Michigan State takes on Northwestern’s Jake Herbert.

At 184-pounds another Fighting Illini is into the semis with top seeded Brian Glynn. Glynn will go up against Purdue’s Brad Wissel to get to the finals on Sunday (March 6). Roger Kish of Michigan State made it to the semifinals as the sixth seed and will wrestle Eric Bradley of Penn State.

Ohio State will attempt to get some points out of J.D. Bergman at 197-pounds. The top-seeded Bergman will go up against Tyrone Byrd of Illinois. The Wildcat’s Matt Delguyd faces Purdue’s Nathan Moore in semifinal number two.

At heavyweight, all four top-seeds advanced to the semis with Cole Konrad, Dustin Fox, Pat DeGain and Greg Wagner seeded first through fourth, respectively. Minnesota’s Konrad will face Northwestern’s Fox while Indiana’s DeGain goes up against Michigan’s Wagner.

Session two featuring the semifinals and more consolation-bracket action begins at 6:00 p.m. central time Saturday night here in Iowa City.