Day 1 of the NCAA Wrestling Championships are in the books and the Fighting Illini sit in 23rd place. This is a far cry from the past six years, which have seen them finish between 7th and 12th by tournament’s end. However, it’s not that surprising given that only 5 Illini qualified and some bad matchups were drawn for them.
Travis Piotrowski was pinned by Nick Piccininni of Oklahoma State in 1:47. Piccininni moved to 24-3 on the year and went on to win his second round match. He’ll now face Iowa’s Spencer Lee, who has won both his matches in 18-0 tech falls, this morning. Piotrowski was bumped to the consolation bracket.
133 lb man Dylan Duncan fared better, but only slightly. He was thoroughly overpowered by Ok State’s Kaid Brock in a 7-4 decision that Brock dominated from start to finish and was not as close as the score indicates. I’m expecting Brock to go to at least the semifinals.
Michael Carr finally got the Illini on the board in the 141 lb class with an 8-1 decision over SDSU’s Henry Pohlmeyer that he was in full control of the whole time.
Piotrowski began his run to 125 lb third place with a 9-1 major decision over Gage Curry of American U. This morning, he will face 5 seed Sean Fausz of NC State, who was upset by 12 seed Louie Hayes from UVA.
Duncan ended up with a Land of Lincoln Trophy match in the 133 lb consolation bracket, where he dropped a 7-5 decision to Northwestern’s Colin Valdiviez. Duncan finished his freshman campaign with a 20-9 record.
As predicted, 141 lb Carr faced off against defending champion Dean Heil in the third Illinois-Ok State match of the tournament. A valiant effort fell short as Carr was unable to score any offensive points and dropped a 6-2 decision. This morning, he’ll face Virginia Tech’s Brent Moore in the consolation bracket.