Audio Interview: Bj Futrell
The No. 5 Fighting Illini wrestling team began their dual season impressively as Illinois went 3-0 at the Journeyman Duals in Troy, N.Y. Illinois moved past Princeton 46-0, No. 15 Maryland 31-6 and No. 24 Binghamton 39-10 to finish the day undefeated. No. 3 B.J. Futrell (141) and No. 16 Daryl Thomas (133) highlighted the day as Futrell won each bout by pin, becoming the all-time school record holder in career pins with 34 total while Thomas defeated two top-20 ranked opponents en route to going 2-0 on Saturday.
"We as a staff were pretty pleased with our effort" Heffernan said. "We competed hard and were aggressive throughout the day. We were especially impress with Daryl Thomas beating two ranked guys convincingly. It was also good for Jordan Blanton to reverse an earlier loss from the all-star meet against Maryland. B.J. Futrell was dominate all day with three falls, breaking the school record for most falls in a career. Pat Walker has made a noticeable jump in the way he is competing and is off to a great start. Conrad Polz looked fantastic in all three matches."
Illinois moved past Princeton as No. 3 Jesse Delgado opened the dual with a 20-6 major decision over Max Rogers, while Thomas followed with a 22-7 technical fall against Garrett Frey to give the Illini the early 9-0 lead. Futrell followed with a pin against Nick Maselli to push the score to 15-0 before Caleb Ervin moved past his opponent, Zach Bintliff with a 6-4 decision. At 157, Matt Nora posted a 11-6 decision over Kyle Roddy, while Conrad Polz followed with a 14-3 major decision over Judson Ziegler to extend the Illini lead to 25-0. Jordan Blanton earned a 21-2 technical fall victory over Ryan Callahan, while Tony Dallago (184) moved past Scott Gibbons 12-4. The Illini won the 197 bout by forfeit before Pat Walker pinned Charles Fox to give the squad a 46-0 shutout victory over the Tigers.
"It was a strong start to our dual season but as always we need to get back to work at practice and finish the semester off on the right note to continue to build momentum," Heffernan said. "We have the opportunity to be a very good team if we pay attention to details, train the right way and believe in ourselves."
The Fighting Illini faced its next opponent, No. 15 Maryland in the team's second dual of the day. The first four Orange and Blue grapplers defeated their opponents, including Daryl Thomas defeating his first of two ranked opponents on the day as he moved past No. 15 Geoff Alexander 7-3. The Terrapins were on the board after Danny Orem defeated Matt Nora 3-1, however the Illini led 15-3 heading into the 165 weight class. Polz pinned Josh Snook in an incredible 12 seconds, before Blanton moved past No. 4 Josh Asper 3-1in overtime to push the lead to 24-3. Dallago dropped his 9-2 decision to No. 8 Jimmy Sheptock, however Mario Gonzalez defeated Ty Snook 6-5 and Walker capped the team victory with his 20-5 major decision over Carl Buchholz to make the final score 31-6.
Delgado started the Illini's final dual of the day with a pin in 1:52 over Binghamton's Mike Sardo, with Logan Arlis earning a 12-8 decision and Futrell recording a pin in 1:45 to put the Illini ahead 15-0. Futrell's pin against No. 15 Joe Bonaldi gave him the honor of becoming Illinois' leader in career pins with 34 and counting. The Bearcats' scores came from No. 4 Donnie Vinson's 8-0 major decision over Caleb Ervin and Nate Schiedel's pin of Jeff Koepke gave them 10 team points. At 165 and 174, Polz and Blanton gave the Illini bonus points by winning their bouts by major decision and pin, respectively. Dallago kept the momentum going for the Orange and Blue by defeating Cody Reed 8-5 and Pat Walker pinned heavyweight Tyler Deuel to give the Illini the overall win 31-10.
The Fighting Illini will travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa to compete in the Northern Iowa Open on Saturday, Dec. 8.
#5 ILLINOIS 46, Princeton 0
125 - #3 Jesse Delgado (ILL) maj. dec. Max Rogers 20-6
133 - #16 Daryl Thomas (ILL) tech. fall Garrett Frey 22-7 (5:45)
141 - #3 B.J. Futrell (ILL) pinned Nick Maselli (5:14)
149 - Caleb Ervin dec. Zach Bintliff 6-4
157 - Matt Nora dec. Kyle Roddy 11-6
165 - #5 Conrad Polz maj. dec. Judson Ziegler 14-3
174 - #6 Jordan Blanton tech. fall Ryan Callahan 21-2 (6:00)
184 - #11 Tony Dallago maj. dec. Scott Gibbons 12-4
197 - ILL win by forfeit
HWT - Pat Walker pinned Charles Fox (1:48)
#5 ILLINOIS 31, #15 Maryland 6
125 - #3 Jesse Delgado (ILL) dec. Shane Gentry 4-1
133 - #16 Daryl Thomas (ILL) dec. #15 Geoffrey Alexander 7-3
141 - #3 B.J. Futrell (ILL) pinned Sean O'Malley (3:18)
149 - Caleb Ervin (ILL) dec. Lou Mascola 8-3
157 - Danny Orem dec. Matt Nora (ILL) 3-1
165 - #5 Conrad Polz (ILL) pinned Josh Snook (0:12)
174 - #6 Jordan Blanton (ILL) dec. #4 Josh Asper SV1 3-1
184 - #8 Jimmy Sheptock dec. #11 Tony Dallago (ILL) 9-2
197 - #5 Mario Gonzalez dec. Ty Snook 6-5
HWT - Pat Walker maj. dec. Carl Buchholtz 20-5
#5 ILLINOIS 39, #24 Binghamton 10
125 - #3 Jesse Delgado (ILL) pinned Mike Sardo (1:52)
133 - Logan Arlis (ILL) dec. Derek Steeley 12-8
141 - #3 B.J. Futrell (ILL) pinned #15 Joe Bonaldi (1:45)
149 - Donnie Vinson maj. dec. Caleb Ervin (ILL) 8-0
157 - ILL win by forfeit
165 - #5 Conrad Polz (ILL) maj. dec. Vincent Grella 12-1
174 - #6 Jordan Blanton (ILL) tech. fall John Paris (5:00)
184 - #11 Tony Dallago (ILL) dec. Cody Reed 8-5
197 - Nate Schiedel pinned Jeff Koepke (ILL) (2:17)
HWT - Pat Walker (ILL) pinned Tyler Deuel (2:32)