Wrestling places eighth at NCAA Championships

By Jay Lee

The No. 8 Illinois wrestling team finished in eighth place at the NCAA Championships this weekend, with three Illini grapplers grabbing All-American honors. Mike Poeta, Jimmy Kennedy and John Wise each finished in the top eight in their respective classes to gain All-American recognition. Kennedy, who fell in his first pigtail match during the preliminary session on Thursday, went 6-1 in the wrestlebacks bracket to finish in fifth place in the 133-pound class. Senior heavyweight Wise went 4-2 on the weekend to finish in seventh place.

The No. 8 Illinois wrestling team finished in eighth place at the NCAA Championships this weekend, with three Illini grapplers grabbing All-American honors.

Mike Poeta, Jimmy Kennedy and John Wise each finished in the top eight in their respective classes to gain All-American recognition. Kennedy, who fell in his first pigtail match during the preliminary session on Thursday, went 6-1 in the wrestlebacks bracket to finish in fifth place in the 133-pound class. Senior heavyweight Wise went 4-2 on the weekend to finish in seventh place.

Poeta, who lost in last year’s championship match for the 157-pound class, once again finished in second with a 5-1 loss to Nebraska’s Jordan Burroughs. Burroughs, who finished a perfect 35-0 on the season, scored a takedown with one second left in the first period. The late takedown would prove to be the difference in the match, as Burroughs held a 3-1 advantage throughout the rest of the match before he gained another takedown in the final seconds of the match to seal the win.

The 55 points the Illini registered on the weekend are the fifth-most in school history. Iowa (96.5 points) captured the national title, successfully fending off Ohio State (92), which led for most of the weekend.