Six Illini earn bids to NCAA Championships following Big Ten tourney


Mark Capapas

Senior Travis Piotrowski wrestles Austin Assad during the Illinois’ dual against Michigan on Jan. 26 at Huff Hall. Six Illini wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

By Brendyn Jones, Assistant Sports Editor

Six Illini qualified for the NCAA Tournament following victories during Session II and Session III of the Big Ten Tournament in Piscataway, New Jersey this weekend.

The cast of redshirt seniors Erin Barone, Joey Gunther, senior Travis Piotrowski, redshirt junior Dylan Duncan, and redshirt freshmen Danny and Zac Braunagle coined bids to the NCAA tourney and will earn podium places in the conference finals Sunday.

Piotrowski, Barone, and Danny Braunagle led the Illini in wrestlebacks Saturday, each producing 2-0 runs in the 133-, 157- and 141-pound weight classes, respectively.

Barone had a pair of top-10 wins on his way to punch his ticket to the NCAA championships, taking out Iowa’s nationally ranked No. 6 Kaleb Young and Michigan’s No. 8 Will Lewan.

The Braunagle twins are the only first time NCAA tournament goers from the wrestlers who earned bids at the Big Ten Championships over the weekend, capping of their redshirt freshman years with a chance to compete for a national title.

The top placers for the Illini in the Big Ten Championships were [will add results later]