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Illinois Wrestling: No. 9 Illini fall late at No. 1 Minnesota, 20-19

Illinois came painfully close to upsetting the top-ranked Gophers

Courtesy of Illinois Athletics

Down 20-8 with two matches left, Illinois nearly pulled off back-to-back pins to complete a comeback to knock off No. 1 Minnesota.

Kyle Langenderfer made short work of Seth Lange, pinning him in 51 seconds at 149-pounds. No. 5 Isaiah Martinez needed the same result at 157-pounds. Heading into the meet, Martinez was slated for a showdown with No. 1 Dylan Ness, who withdrew because of the flu. Instead, Martinez wrestled backup Brad Dolezal.

Martinez took Dolezal down several times in the first period, but Dolezal was able to avoid the pinfall. Early in the second period, Martinez got a takedown on Dolezal, but was unable to stick him on his back as he earned a 19-4 technical fall for the No. 9 Illini to fall 20-19 on Sunday in Minneapolis.

Eighth-ranked Jackson Morse recorded a 12-1 major decision over Nick Wanzek to start the meet at 165-pounds. The Gophers won the next four, including two back-to-back major decisions over Jeff Koepke at 197 and Brooks Black at 285, for a 14-4 Minnesota lead.

Dominic Oliveri cut the deficit with a 13-4 major decision against Jordan Bremer at 125-pounds.

And then came the match of the meet: No. 3 Zane Richards vs. No. 1 Chris Dardanes.

Richards led 7-1 going into the third period, but the top-ranked Gopher forced overtime in the closing seconds of regulation. Dardanes then pulled in a takedown in the first sudden victory for a 12-10 decision. Chris' brother, Nick, the fourth-ranked wrestler at 141 earned a 9-4 decision over No. 14 Steven Rodrigues for a 12-point Gopher lead.

Illinois will travel back to Champaign for a week of preparation before they host Nebraska at 7 p.m. CT on Friday at Huff Hall.

Meet Results

125: Dominic Olivieri (ILL) major dec. Jordan Bremer (MINN), 13-4; 8-14
133: No. 1 Chris Dardanes (MINN) dec. No. 5 Zane Richards (ILL) in SV1, 12-10; 8-17
141: No. 4 Nick Daranes (MINN) dec. No. 14 Steven Rodrigues (ILL), 9-4; 8-20
149: Kyle Langenderfer (ILL) fall Seth Lange (MINN), :51; 14-20
157: No. 5 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) tech. fall Brad Dolezal (MINN), 19-4; 19-20
165: No. 8 Jackson Morse (ILL) major dec. Nick Wanzek (MINN), 12-1; 4-0
174: No. 3 Logan Stroley (MINN) dec. No. 6 Zac Brunson (ILL), 7-3; 4-3
184: No. 12 Brett Pfarr (MINN) dec. No. 20 Nikko Reyes (ILL), 6-2; 4-6
197: No. 2 Scott Schiller (MINN) major dec. Jeff Koepke (ILL), 14-1; 4-10
285: No. 12 Michael Kroells (MINN) major dec. Brooks Black (ILL), 9-1; 4-14

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