Illinois wrestling loses to Northwestern, remains winless in Big Ten meets


Sydney Laput

Wrestler Dylan Duncan takes down his Northwestern opponent during his match on Saturday. Duncan won his his match 9-2, but the Illini lost against Northwestern 13-26.

By Nick Kane, Staff Writer

For only the second time in almost 22 years, Illinois dropped a match to the Northwestern Wildcats, falling, 26-13, on Saturday at State Farm Center. With this loss, Illinois is now officially winless in the month of January, dropping its fourth straight match, with each loss coming in conference play.

The afternoon started off well for the Illini thanks to wins from redshirt freshman Lucas Byrd and a redshirt senior Dylan Duncan decision win in his season debut to make it 6-0. 

The big lead disappeared in the next match after Northwestern’s Yahya Thomas defeated redshirt senior Christian Kanzler by fall (1:49) to tie it up. Northwestern found its first lead of the day when Wildcat Ryan Deakin defeated Joe Roberts by fall at 157-pounds. 

At 165 pounds, redshirt sophomore Danny Braunagel collected a 14-3 win over David Ferrante, cutting the Illini’s deficit to one going into the intermission.

The match continued to go back and forth after the intermission with sophomore DJ Shannon dropping the first match, 3-1, and Illinois’ redshirt sophomore Zac Braunagel winning 14-8, which once again had Illinois trailing by one. 

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The Wildcats won their second match of the day by fall at a critical time when Northwestern’s Andrew Davison beat redshirt junior Nikita Nepomnyashchiy (fall 2:25), at 197 pounds. Sophomore Luke Luffman dropped a close one to finish off the day. 

The Illini will look to make February a better month when they take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers this Saturday at State Farm Center. The Illini are still looking for their first Big Ten win and their first win at home this season.



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