WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Fighting Illini wrestling team notched their second conference win of the season on Friday, defeating Purdue 18-16 at the Holloway Gymnasium. The Illini got wins from Zac Brunson (157), Tony Dallago (174) and Nikko Reyes (184), while Jesse Delgado (125) and Jackson Morse (165) each earned crucial bonus points in their victories.
“It was kind of an ugly dual win tonight,” said head coach Jim Heffernan. “We had some really good performances from Jackson Morse, Jesse Delgado and Tony Dallago. Nikko Reyes and Zac Brunson did enough to get wins. It’s good to get a win and we look forward to being at home on Sunday.”
The dual started at 125 with #3 Jesse Delgado and Luke Schroeder. Delgado came out strong, scoring four takedowns and a two-point near-fall in the first to take an early 10-3 lead. The second period began in the neutral position, with Delgado recording a takedown in the first 10 seconds, followed by a three-point near-fall to go up 15-3. After scoring two more takedowns, Delgado claimed the 19-4 tech. fall victory to give the Illini an early 5-0 lead.
#9 Zane Richards squared off against #17 Cashe Quiroga next in the 133-pound bout. Quiroga scored first with a takedown, but Richards responded with an escape and a takedown of his own to go up 3-2. After acquiring nearly a minute of riding time, Quiroga escaped to tie the score. Richards started the second period in the bottom position and quickly escaped before being taken down a minute later, giving Quiroga the 5-4 lead going into the final period. Quiroga controlled the third period, scoring three takedowns and two three-point near-falls to get the 19-6 major decision, handing Richards his first loss in two months.
After being sidelined with a hand injury since December, #9 Steven Rodrigues returned at 141 pounds to face Danny Sabatello. Sabatello scored first, recording a takedown within the first few seconds, but Rodrigues was able to escape shortly after. Quiroga notched another takedown halfway through the period, but Rodrigues immediately escaped to make the score 4-2 going into the second. Rodrigues started the period on top and managed to ride Sabatello for over a minute before Quiroga escaped. Quiroga quickly scored a takedown and a two-point near-fall, but Rodrigues managed to turn him for a two-point reversal at the buzzer to make the score 9-4. Starting on the bottom, Rodrigues managed to notch two escapes in the third period, but it wasn’t enough as Sabatello came away with the 10-6 victory, giving Purdue a 7-5 lead.
John Fahy moved up a weight class to fill in for #17 Caleb Ervin at 149, taking on Brandon Nelson. After a scoreless first period, Nelson scored the only points of the second period, escaping from the bottom position and taking down Fahy. Fahy started the final period in the bottom position and was able to escape with 10 seconds left, but Nelson held on to claim the 3-1 decision.
#15 Zac Brunson gave Illinois its next win in the 157-pound matchup. He took down Purdue’s Alex Griffin early in the first period and acquired a minute of riding time before a stalemate was called. Brunson decided to forfeit a point and start standing, giving Griffin his first points of the match. Brunson started the second period on bottom and managed a quick escape to score the only points of the period and make the score 3-1. Brunson recorded one more takedown in the third period, and with the one-point riding time advantage, won the 6-2 decision.
#10 Jackson Morse squared off against Chad Welch in the 165-pound bout, and took an early 7-1 lead after scoring two takedowns and a three-point near-fall in the first. He recorded two more takedowns in the second, while Welch notched two escapes to make the score 11-3 going into the final period. Morse tallied two takedowns in the third and was awarded one point for a stalling call on Welch to win the 18-5 major decision and score four points for the Illini, giving them a 12-10 lead.
At 174, Tony Dallago squared off against Patrick Kissel and recorded a takedown and a two-point near-fall to take the early 4-0 lead. He then started the second period in then bottom position, where Kissel managed to turn him for three near-fall points. Dallago responded with a reversal, then notched one more takedown before the period ended to make the score 8-4 going into the third. After scoring two more takedowns and earning the one-point riding time advantage, Dallago won the 13-7 decision to increase Illinois’ lead to five.
Nikko Reyes scored the first points of the 184-pound bout, taking down Tanner Lynde 20 seconds in, but was called for a technical violation resulting in one point for Lynde. Reyes scored the only points of the second period, escaping from the bottom position then notching a takedown, then held on in the third to win the 9-5 decision and give the Illini their biggest lead of the night at 18-10.
The Boilermakers won the final two matches of the night, with #14 Braden Atwood defeating Jeff Koepke in a 3-1 decision at 197 pounds. In the heavyweight bout, Alex White took down Chris Lopez with seven seconds left in the sudden victory overtime period to claim the 3-1 victory and make the final score 18-16 in favor of the Illini.
The Illini return to Huff Hall for the last time this season on Sunday, where they will take on in-state rival #9 Northwestern. The dual will serve as Illinois’ Senior Day, with seniors Adam Acheson, Brendan Mahaney, Tony Dallago and Mario Gonzalez being honored prior to the match.
#15 Illinois 18, Purdue 16
125: #3 Jesse Delgado (Illinois) tech fall Luke Schroder (Purdue), 19-4 (4:19)
133: #17 Cashe Quiroga (Purdue) maj. dec. #9 Zane Richards (Illinois), 19-6
141: Danny Sabatello (Purdue) dec. #9 Steven Rodrigues (Illinois), 10-6
149: Brandon Nelsen (Purdue) dec. John Fahy (Illinois), 3-1
157: #15 Zac Brunson (Illinois) dec. Alex Griffin (Purdue), 6-2
165: #10 Jackson Morse (Illinois) maj. dec. Chad Welch (Purdue), 18-5
174: Tony Dallago (Illinois) dec. Patrick Kissel (Purdue), 13-7
184: Nikko Reyes (Illinois) dec. Tanner Lynde (Purdue), 9-5
197: #14 Braden Atwood (Purdue) dec. Jeff Koepke (Illinois), 3-1
285: Alex White (Purdue) dec. Christopher Lopez (Illinois), 3-1 SV1