Illinois wrestling begin season

By Lauren Mroz

The Illinois wrestling team begin its 2015-16 season in Ypsilanti, Michigan, this weekend at the Eastern Michigan Duals. This year’s team returns seven of last year’s starting lineup that finished 11th at the NCAA Championships and sixth at the Big Ten Championships.

Headlining this year’s team is 2015’s 157-pound individual national champion Isaiah Martinez. Last year, Martinez became the first freshman to go undefeated and win the national title since Cael Sanderson of Iowa State in 1999.

In addition to the redshirt sophomore, head coach Jim Heffernan returns redshirt sophomores Brooks Black and Kyle Langenderfer, redshirt juniors Zane Richards and Zac Brunson and restart senior Jedd Koepke.

Freshman Francis Edelen will take over in the 125-pound position, since Jesse Delgado graduated in May. Delgado was a two-time national champion for the Illini.

Sophomore Brock Ervin will get his first start in the 141 weight class. He finished last season with a 21-4 record with six falls.

After battling injuries throughout his last two seasons, redshirt senior Caleb Ervin is expected to return as a full-time starter.

Sophomore Andre Lee will likely start for the 197 pound weight class after he finished 9-3 his first year. Lee won the Michigan State Open last year.

WIN Magazine ranks this year’s Illinois team at 10th in the nation.

This weekend, the Illini will face competitors from Olivet College, Utah Valley and Clarion university. 

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