Illini dismantle Central Missouri at home

Illinois´ Brian Glynn attempts to pin Central Missouri State´s Kevin Grece during their match Saturday at Huff Hall. Online Poster

Illinois´ Brian Glynn attempts to pin Central Missouri State´s Kevin Grece during their match Saturday at Huff Hall. Online Poster

By Jon Gluskin

“Domination” is a word that is so often used in sports today that its meaning is almost diminished.

But to call the Illini’s performance against Central Missouri State domination would not be an overstatement. Illinois manhandled CMSU, defeating them 51-0 in front of a home crowd of 771.

If the No. 3 Division I college football team played any Division II school, the results for the latter team would not be pretty. This was the same scenario, only wrestling.

“We knew there were going to be no team battles here,” said head coach Mark Johnson. “I want to make sure the guys look good and almost all of them looked good, were very aggressive and overall I was pleased.

“I expected a total domination, but I was happy that we got a lot of pins and we really distanced ourselves. Sometimes you can win the meet 40-0 and actually have some close matches, but today we really didn’t. Today we got a lot of pins, we got a lot of major decisions and technical falls. I think we only maybe had one regular decision out there. That’s dominance.”

Junior Pete Friedl, fifth in the nation at 174-pounds, started things off for the Illini, winning the only major decision of the afternoon, 13-3, over the mules’ Jesse Sheets.

“I think we came out hard, we came out intense,” said Donny Reynolds (165). “We tried to stay intense throughout the whole time we were wrestling out there. I think, for the most part, we looked pretty good. As long we came out and wrestled the full seven minutes hard, with a good intensity, we knew we could do a good job and take care of business.”

Up next for the Illini was the No.3-ranked Brian Glynn (184), who won on a technical fall, ousting opponent Kevin Grece 17-1.

In the closest match of the afternoon, No. 11 Tyrone Byrd (197) beat Dan Moore 6-1. This is when things started to get interesting.

With the Illini up 12-0 at this point, an offensive explosion took place.

In the next 4:04, No. 14-ranked Mike Behnke, No.2-ranked Kyle Ott and No.3-ranked Mark Jayne pinned their opponents.

Illinois 30. Central Missouri State 0. Game over.

“I really liked what I saw – a lot of pins out there; a lot of bonus points,” Jayne said. “That’s what we’re going to need. I wanted to go out there and for sure get a pin, maybe try some new stuff. I didn’t get a chance to do that, but I’ll take my early pin.”

Michael Martin (141) and Anton Dietzen (149) soon followed the pins with technical falls of their own. Martin beat Wade Kilgore 20-5, while Dietzen beat Vince Bertucci 22-4.

No.2 Alex Tirapelle (157) beat Jesse Zeugin 21-5 on a technical fall, and No.17 Donny Reynolds, competing in his first home match ever, beat Justin Cooper on a fall 2:21 into the match.

Johnson said he told Reynolds he doesn’t care how long it takes, but he wants Reynolds to win on a pin.

“Coach has been harping on me all year,” Reynolds said. “I started getting back into the groove of things, and then in the Missouri Tournament I sprained my LCL, so I was out a little bit. And I just started getting back into the thick of things again this week. Coach was like, ‘You’ve got to stay hard with your intensity, that’s what’s going to help you win matches.'”

The Illini didn’t even allow State to have a takedown.

This was the third-most points ever scored in a dual meet for the Illini.

Johnson said his team was so dominant because he stressed putting guys away as quick as possible, and going for the pin.

The Illini won’t be in action again until Dec. 29-30, when they will compete in the 42nd Annual Midlands Classic Tournament. Midlands are a more competitive tournament, and the Illini will be tested from better competition than in this tournament.

“It (CMSU) gives us a match before the finals, so now we can concentrate on finals and then worry about the Midlands after we get done with our schoolwork,” Johnson said. “I think I saw a lot of improvement between Missouri and Northern Iowa. It’s hard to say today because we were such a dominant team, but I just wanted to make sure we took care of business and that happened.”

Before winter break is over, the Illini will travel to Columbus, Ohio, for the Buckeye Duals on Jan. 8 and to Madison, Wis., on Jan.14, before coming back home for North Carolina State on the Jan. 15.