Wrestling finds success in opening tournaments

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Online Poster

By Jon Gluskin

Senior Brian Glynn matched an accomplishment of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty on Nov. 21. Glynn (184 pounds) achieved a “three-peat” at the Missouri Open – he was victorious there for the third consecutive season.

“I was very pleased,” Glynn said. “Overall, I wrestled pretty well. I think the main thing (for my continuing success at the Open) is just confidence. It’s early in the year, and I’m really anxious to see how I’ve improved after each year.”

Glynn beat four opponents en route to the title, defeating Old Dominion’s Adam Wright 13-3 in the finals.

Glynn wasn’t the only victorious Illini in Columbia, Mo. Junior Alex Tirapelle (157) defeated Missouri’s Brad Cieleski 4-2 to earn his title, and junior Pete Friedl (174) won 3-2 over Oklahoma’s Ek Waldhaus to give him the championship.

“There were a lot of good things that happened,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “We had some good things. We had some bad things. Overall, it was a pretty good deal.”

Sophomore Donny Reynolds (165) finished second in his first career tournament, losing 12-5 to former All-American Tyron Woodley of Missouri. Redshirt-freshman Gabe Flores (125) also placed second, losing 9-2 to No. 1-ranked Sam Hazewinkel of Oklahoma.

Sophomore Matt Weight (197) placed fourth for the Illini; redshirt-freshman Dan Zeman placed fifth, along with junior heavyweight Chris Little, who won due to a medical forfeit.

The Illini also had a strong showing in the freshman division, where Troy Tirapelle (149) and Mike Poeta (157) both took first. Joe Gomez (133) finished second, and both Roger Smith-Bergsrud (165) and Ben Zulauf (197) came in third.

Glynn said there is room for improvement for his team, such as getting in better shape.

“We didn’t do extremely well,” Glynn said. “(But) we’re where we need to be. As a team, we need to improve on a lot of different aspects, but it’s all stuff we can work on. Some of the younger guys just need to step up and come into their own now.”

Johnson said it was a good opportunity to watch the young guys compete, and the Open helped in showing some of the areas on which some individuals need to improve. He said he is more concerned with the individual performances as opposed to the team as a whole.

Senior Mark Jayne was one of the Illini’s four starters not competing in the Missouri Open. Jayne (133) competed instead at the NWCA All-Star Dual Monday night and defeated his No. 7-ranked opponent, Sam Hiatt, of Northern Illinois, 3-1.

“I’d say I was happy,” Jayne said. “(But) I would have liked to score a little more.”

Jayne was originally slated to battle No. 1-ranked Travis Lee of Cornell, but an injury to Lee opened the door for Hiatt to compete.

“I was a little upset about that,” Jayne said. “I wouldn’t mind seeing (Lee) down the road sometime. It was a little different, but you still got to go out hard. The kid I wrestled was still pretty tough.”

Jayne said he would like to improve on setting himself up for more scoring, but added he thought his bout was a good start.

The Illini compete Sunday at the UNI Open in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Johnson said the UNI Open will be beneficial before the team’s first home tournament Saturday, Dec. 11 against Central Missouri State. He also said he expects to do better this weekend.

“You can tell we’re pretty good,” Johnson said.