Illini wrestling aims to get back in win column against conference rivals


Sydney Laput

Wrester Lucas Byrd goes towards his Northwestern opponent on Saturday. The Illini will be up against rival Minnesota on Friday.

By Nick Kane, Staff Writer

Things are not getting easier for the Illini, who desperately need a win, as they go up against another powerhouse Big Ten foe in No. 16 Minnesota.

After getting dominated by Rutgers, Iowa, Purdue and Northwestern, Illinois is still seeking its first conference win and will attempt to break the losing streak to a program it has had very little success against, historically. 

These two programs have faced each other 14 times since 2001. The Illini have won two of those matches, with the last one being in 2016 and the other one dating back all the way to 2005.

The last time these two teams met in February of last year. Illinois was the ninth-best team in the country and things were looking good, but the 13th-ranked Golden Gophers took care of business with the final score being 25-13.

Minnesota has been a well-balanced team that has been getting contributions from every weight. It is the reason they are continuing to climb up the rankings and are fighting for first place in the Big Ten.

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Cael Carlson leads the team with 16 wins at 165-pounds, Brayton Lee possesses an immaculate 12-0 record and Jake Bergeland has been doing incredible with his workload at 141-pounds, hosting a 13-5 record.

Of the 15 wrestlers listed on the Minnesota roster, seven have at least ten wins. 

After this matchup, Illinois will get right back into it in a matchup versus Indiana at the State Farm Center in what will be its last regular season home game against a Big Ten Opponent before taking on Wisconsin and Nebraska. 



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