The Daily Illini

Illini Wrestling prepares for dual meet against Iowa on Friday

Illinois%E2%80%99+Isaiah+Martinez+wrestles+with+Michigan%E2%80%99s+Logan+Massa+in+the+165-pound+weight+class+during+the+match+on+Jan.+20.+Martinez+won+by+decision+and+the+Illini+beat+the+Wolverines.
Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez wrestles with Michigan’s Logan Massa in the 165-pound weight class during the match on Jan. 20. Martinez won by decision and the Illini beat the Wolverines.

Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez wrestles with Michigan’s Logan Massa in the 165-pound weight class during the match on Jan. 20. Martinez won by decision and the Illini beat the Wolverines.

Austin Yattoni

Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez wrestles with Michigan’s Logan Massa in the 165-pound weight class during the match on Jan. 20. Martinez won by decision and the Illini beat the Wolverines.

By Jared Farmer, Staff writer

When the No. 15-ranked Illinois wrestling team travels to Iowa City on Friday, it will be looking to knock off No. 7 Iowa and hand the Hawkeyes their first loss of the season.

These two teams have not competed against one another since January 2016 of the 2015-2016 season, in which the then-No. 14 Illini fell to then-No. 2 Iowa 26-12 in a dual at Huff Hall.

The Illini are coming off a string of solid performances. The team secured a 33-10 victory at Fresno State, in which senior Isaiah Martinez recorded his 100th individual career victory. Additionally, sophomore Travis Pietrowski and senior Kyle Langenderfer won titles at the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunner Open.

“We’ve been feeling pretty good as a team,” said junior Emery Parker. “I think we’re at a better spot than where we were going into California. We’ve found a lot more things to improve on, and we’re trying to continue to stay focused going forward.”

Illinois will look to carry its momentum from the Roadrunner Open into this showdown. Martinez, who is also coming off of a fifth-place finish after representing the United States at the U23 World Championships in Poland last week, said he and the team were pleased with how they performed out in Bakersfield.

“It was nice seeing everyone compete hard and have decent composure in front of 10,000 people that are screaming and cheering against you,” Martinez said. “That’s a good indicator of how the team is going to respond to other large hostile crowds going forward.”

Along with Martinez and Parker, who will be wrestling at 165 and 184 pounds respectively, Pietrowski (125), Langenderfer (157), freshmen Dylan Duncan (133) and Mike Carr (141), sophomore Eric Barone (149), junior Andre Lee (197), and junior Deuce Rachal (HWT) will also be wrestling against Iowa this Friday.

“I think we’re going to do really well,” Parker said. “We’ve been training hard this past week over break and tweaking certain things. I think it’s important that we try being more aggressive early on, and if we do that, we’re in a good spot going in.”

[email protected]

Leave a Comment