Illinois wrestler Jackson Morse walked off the mat for the final time for the Illini on Saturday at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. In the third-place match at 165 pounds, he fell by fall to No. 5 Bo Jordan (Ohio State), making him the fourth-place All-American after finishing the tournament with a 5-2 mark.
Morse began the tournament with wins over Connor Brennan (Rider) and No. 8 Peyton Walsh (Navy). He then fell to top-seeded and 2014 157-pound champion Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State), sending him to the consolation bracket for the third time in his career.
Morse rebounded with a pin against Mike England (Missouri) to earn All-American honors for the first time in his five year career. He followed that performance with victories over Jim Wilson (Stanford) and No. 15 Ethan Ramos (North Carolina) before falling to Jordan in the first period.
The redshirt senior opened the morning session with a 6-0 victory against Ramos. Morse, the No. 9 seed, grabbed a takedown and was awarded a point for a technical violation for a 3-0 lead after the first period. Morse escaped in the second and added a takedown in the final 20 seconds for the victory.
Morse finishes his final season with a 34-8 record and 106-47 career mark, tying him with Jon Llewellyn for 16th-most in the program's history. He is the 21st member to join the program's 100-win club. He also was a pinning machine with 20 wins by fall, to tie him for 10th all-time.
Morse lifted the Illini into 12th place with 46 points, heading into the final session. Redshirt freshman Isaiah Martinez will be the lone Illini competing Saturday night when he takes on Brian Realbuto (Cornell) for the 157-pound national title. Finals will be televised live at 7 p.m. on ESPN starting with the 149-pound bout.
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