2005 wrestling awards given out at banquet

By Jon Gluskin

Sunday night was a special one for a number of wrestlers at the annual banquet, where awards were presented for

various categories.

Senior Brian Glynn (184 pounds) and junior Kyle Ott (125) were named 2005 Most Valuable Wrestlers, the highest honor for the team. Glynn earned the award after

finishing third at the NCAA

Tournament, losing to the eventual champion, while Ott came in second for the

second consecutive year.

“With five All-Americans, it’s kind of hard (to choose an MVP),” said head coach Mark Johnson. “Kyle, being in the NCAA finals and Big Ten finals, he brings a lot to the table. Brian Glynn’s been there (for our team) for four years in a row.”

Another wrestler receiving an award was junior Pete Friedl (174), the Big Ten champion, who was honored with the Most Outstanding Award.

Senior Mark Jayne (133) capped off a spectacular career at Illinois winning the Most Falls (7) and Most Courageous Awards for wrestling through a nagging turf toe this season.

Sophomore Cassio Pero (141) earned the Most Improved Award. Pero, who began starting once sophomore teammate Michael Martin went down with an injury, qualified for Nationals and finished seventh, earning All-American status. Pero is in place to be one of the key components to the team’s success next season.

Junior Alex Tirapelle was acknowledged with the Outstanding Leadership Award because of his encouragement and coaching of his teammates, even when things went bad for him with his knee injury.

“He’s there cheering for everyone,” Johnson said. “He’s always been one of the great leaders I’ve had as a coach, even as an underclassman.”

The Illini – led by Big Ten Coach of the Year Johnson – had one of their most

successful seasons in school

history, winning the Big Ten regular season championship (16-1-1, 7-0-1) and its first Big Ten Tournament Champonship in 53 years. Their 16 dual wins set the school record. They also won the Midlands Tournament for the second straight time, placed second at the National Duals and finished sixth at Nationals. This was the Illini’s ninth top-10 finish in 13 seasons under Johnson.