CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — No. 5 Illinois started 2013 with a victory as it took down Chattanooga 29-10 to improve to 4-0 on the season and 10-0 against the Mocs. Seven of the 10 Fighting Illini wrestlers won their matches including B.J. Futrell (141), Caleb Ervin (149), Matt Nora (157), Conrad Polz (165), Jordan Blanton (174), Tony Dallago (184) and Jeff Koepke (197).
“Once we got going we wrestled pretty well,” head coach Jim Heffernan said. “B.J. [Futrell]‘s pin got the momentum going our way and we got on a roll. After limping through last week we should be back to full strength for the start of the Big Ten season.”
The dual started at heavyweight as Chris Lopez dropped his bout 2-1 in overtime to Kevin Malone to put the Illini down an early 3-0. The Mocs continued their success as they got victories at 133 and 141 pounds. No. 7 Nick Soto majored Dominic Olivieri 14-1 and Marvin Lopez moved past Logan Arlis 5-3 to go up 7-0 in the team score.
The Illini then won the next seven bouts, starting with No. 3 Futrell who pinned Dean Pavlou, his eighth opponent of the season and inched the team score closer 10-6. At 149, Ervin moved past Jared Presley with an 11-4 decision to record his third dual match victory this season, while Nora notched his second dual win after moving past Trey Stavrum with an 8-1 decision.
With four bouts remaining, No. 7 Polz continued his undefeated record in dual matches this season when he took down Josh Condon with a 5-4 decision to bump the Illini’s lead to 15-10. Illinois scored bonus points in the next two weight classes with No. 4 Blanton and No. 11 Dallago. Blanton notched his fifth pin of the season to give the Illini six additional points while Dallago moved past Robert Prigmore by a 21-6 technical fall in 5:27. After moving up a weight class, Koepke won his first dual match victory after defeating John Shrader by a 7-2 decision to give the Illini a 29-10 victory.