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Illinois Wrestling: Illini fall to No. 2 Missouri in NWCA Duals quarterfinals, 23-13

Jesse Delgado drops a decision against No. 2 Alan Waters

Courtesy of Illinois Athletics

Illinois' sixth-ranked Zac Brunson at 174 pounds fell by pin to Missouri's fifth-ranked John Eblen by pin, then the Illini's Nikko Reyes trimmed the deficit to three with a 3-1 win in sudden victory over No. 12 Willie Miklus but the Tigers won the final two bouts to hand the Illini a 23-13 loss and snap their five-match win streak.

The dual opened with one of the most anticipated matches in college wrestling this season between top-ranked 125-pound wrestlers, No. 1 Jesse Delgado against No. 2 Alan Waters. Delgado trailed 4-0 after the first period and never recovered as he fell 6-2 for his first loss in his last 23 matches.

Seventh-ranked Zane Richards scored four points in each of the first two periods en route to a 9-2 victory over Zach Synon at 133 pounds to tie the dual. The Tigers (22-0) clawed back with two straight victories to regained their lead. Illinois' No. 12 Steven Rodrigues fell by 11-3 major decision to No. 6 Lavion Mayes at 141 pounds, and Kyle Langenderfer dropped a 6-3 decision to top-ranked Drake Houdashelt at 149 pounds.

Then the Illini (13-5) answered with their two most consistent wrestlers: No. 2 Isaiah Martinez (157) and No. 8 Jackson Morse (165). Martinez picked up his 34th consecutive win with a 17-6 major decision over Joseph LaVallee. Morse escaped and grabbed a takedown for a three-point lead heading into the third and held on for a 4-3 win over Mike England.

With the trimmed to three after Reyes' win, top-ranked and reigning NCAA champion J'Den Cox major decisioned, 15-3, Illinois' Jeff Koepke, while No. 10 Devin Mellon topped Brooks Black in first overtime tiebreaker, 5-1.

The Illini will be back in action March 7 at Big Ten Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

Meet Results

125: No. 2 Alan Waters (MIZ) dec. No. 1 Jesse Delgado (ILL), 6-2, 0-3

133: No. 7 Zane Richards (ILL) dec. Zach Synon (MIZ), 9-2, 3-3

141: No. 6 Lavion Mayes (MIZ) major dec. No. 12 Steven Rodrigues (ILL),11-3, 3-7

149: No. 1 Drake Houdashelt (MIZ) dec. Kyle Langenderfer (ILL), 6-3, 3-10

157No. 2 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) major dec. Joseph LaVallee (MIZ), 17-6, 7-10

165No. 8 Jackson Morse (ILL) dec. Mike England (MIZ), 4-3, 10-10

174: No. 5 John Eblen (MIZ) fall No. 6 Zac Brunson (ILL), :50, 10-16

184: No. 19 Nikko Reyes (ILL) dec. No. 12 Willie Miklus (MIZ), SV-1 3-1, 13-16

197: No. 1 J'Den Cox (MIZ) major dec. Jeff Koepke (ILL), 15-3, 13-20

HWT: No. 10 Devin Mellon (MIZ) dec. Brooks Black (ILL), TB1 5-1, 13-23

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