Illinois wrestling loses to No. 16 Minnesota, picks up first conference win over Indiana in final home duals


Sydney Laput

Wrestler Dylan Duncan evades a tackle from his Northwestern opponent on Jan. 29. Duncan won both of his matches against Minnesota and Indiana over the weekend.

By Nick Kane, Staff Writer

No. 16 Minnesota 22, Illinois 12

With three more duals left until the Big Ten Championships, the once highly rated Illini find themselves in a five-dual losing streak and still winless at home and in conference. This Illini squad knew it was going to be tough after the Matmen Open, but the Illini have been unable to capitalize against these highly touted Big Ten foes. During this streak, the Illini have been outscored by a monstrous 76 points (130-54). 

Illinois dropped the first match when Minnesota’s Patrick McKee defeated redshirt sophomore Justin Cardani in a 4-1 decision. It looked like the Illini were on the verge of upsetting the 16th-ranked Gophers after wins from redshirt freshman Lucas Byrd (8-3 decision), redshirt senior Dylan Duncan (4-1 decision) and redshirt senior Christian Kanzler (13-8 decision). 

At 157-pounds, Minnesota’s Brayton Lee defeated freshman Joe Roberts, 10-4, but the Illini still led 9-6 with five more matches left. Illinois got back in the win column after the intermission when redshirt sophomore Danny Braunagel beat Cael Carson in an early takedown. 

That was the last win for the Illini. Sophomore DJ Shannon lost by major decision, and redshirt sophomore Zac Braunagel followed him with a loss by decision. In a crucial match, redshirt junior Matt Wroblewski lost an incredibly close match to Michial Foy, 8-7, at 197-pounds. At 285-pounds, sophomore Luke Luffman ended the night by dropping his match to the very well known Gable Stevenson, who is without a doubt one of the best wrestlers in the country, by fall (1:16).

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Illinois will go right back into it Sunday and square off versus Indiana in the final home dual of the 2021-2022 season. 

Illinois 36, Indiana 3

After a three-week span of getting dominated against Big Ten opponents, Illinois was able to pick up its first win at home and in conference action. In what was truly an incredibly impressive win, Illinois beat Indiana, 36-3, on Sunday.

Thirty-six points is only two less than what the Illini put up in the last three matches combined. The Illini won nine of the 10 matches and by impressive margins. An impressive showing for Mike Poeta’s squad in what was his first career Big Ten win as a head coach. 

At 125-pounds, Cardani collected the first of many wins to come for the Illini by defeating Indiana’s Jacob Moran. Byrd and Zac Braunagel both pinned their opponents, and Duncan kept his perfect record alive with an 8-2 victory to move to 3-0 on the year. 

Illinois would go on to win its next five matches. Kanzler won an exciting one against Graham Rooks. At 157-pounds, Roberts won another close one, 3-2. Danny Braunagel looked impressive throughout his match and later won via disqualification. 

Shannon defeated Indiana’s Nick South by a 6-4 decision, and Zac Braunagel won by fall (4:17). At 285-pounds, Luke Luffman won a 5-4 decision over Jacob Bullock. Nick Willham picked up the lone Hoosier win of the day by beating Wroblewski.

The Illini will look to get a winning streak going before Big Ten championships as they travel to face Wisconsin Friday, February 11.



[email protected]