Illinois will return to dual meet action as they host Big Ten newcomer Rutgers at Huff Hall on Friday. It will be the first ever meeting between the two programs. The No. 9 Fighting Illini are coming a second-place performance at the 52nd annual Midlands Championships, where seven wrestlers placed and Isaiah Martinez won the 157-pound title.
Zane Richards (133) and Zac Brunson (174) earned runner-up honors, Jackson Morse (165) grabbed third, while Steven Rodrigues (141), Nikko Reyes (184) and Jeff Koepke (197) each took sixth.
Two-time defending NCAA champion Jesse Delgado is a meet time decision. Delgado was slated as the pre-tournament No. 1 seed at Midlands, but withdrew.
Illinois will also be debuting a new home mat, which includes the shield.
Illinois Probable Starters
125: 1/1 Jesse Delgado, 2-0, Sr.
OR -/- Dominic Olivieri, 6-7, R-Jr.
133: 3/6 Zane Richards, 15-1, R-So.
14:1 16/19 Steven Rodrigues, 7-4, R-Jr.
OR -/- Logan Arlis, 8-6, R-Sr.
149: -/- Kyle Langenderfer, 12-5, R-Jr.
157: 4/7 Isaiah Martinez, 16-0, R-Fr.
165: 8/8 Jackson Morse, 17-1, R-Sr.
174: 6/6 Zac Brunson, 16-1, R-So.
184: 14/20 Nikko Reyes, 15-5, R-So.
197: -/- Jeff Koepke, 12-6, R-Jr.
HWT: -/- Christopher Lopez, 11-4, R-Jr.
OR -/- Brooks Black, 10-6, R-Fr.
*Rankings are listed in W.I.N./InterMat
141: No. 16 Steven Rodrigues vs No. 8 Anthony Ashnault
- Ashnault is a 4-time New Jersey state champion and has only lost this season to No. 1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) and No. 4 Nick Dardanes (Minnesota) this season. A win here from Rodrigues would be big after he was upset against Lehigh's Randy Cruz in his last dual meet performance.
157: No. 4 Isaiah Martinez vs No. 17 Anthony Perrotti
- Martinez puts his 16 match undefeated streak on the line against Rutgers only returning All-American.
197: NR Jeff Koepke vs NR Andrew Campolattano
- Campolattano is a transfer from Ohio State and another 4-time New Jersey state champion, while Koepke is coming off a sixth-place finish at Midlands. Campolattano should be a slight favorite in this one, but Koepke improved since his one point loss in the Lehigh dual.
Where: Huff Hall
Time: 7 p.m. CT
Stream: Illinois All Access ($$$)
Live Results: Track Wrestling