CHAMPAIGN — A season-high crowd of 811 spectators at Huff Hall left disappointed after the Illinois wrestling team lost 22-13 to seventh-ranked Nebraska on Saturday.
The Illini (7-6, 1-5 Big Ten) trailed 6-0 after the first two matches and never led against the Cornhuskers, who prevailed in six of the 10 matches.
“We had chances to win this meet but didn’t make it happen,” UI coach Jim Heffernan said. “I think we let heavyweight and 149 (pounds) both slip away because we weren’t aggressive at critical points in the matches. That’s hard to take, and it needs to change.”
The 13th-ranked Illini picked up a 3-1 decision from Jesse Delgado at 125, a 4-2 decision from Zane Richards at 133, a 17-4 major decision from Jackson Morse at 165 and a 3-2 win by Mario Gonzalez at 197, but it was not nearly enough.
“Our effort was OK, but the urgency and toughness wasn’t there,” Heffernan said. “We’ve lost entirely too many close duals this year, and it’s not acceptable. We have one more weekend of Big Ten duals to get some things corrected.”
Men’s tennis falls to Tar Heels. The Illinois men’s tennis team dropped its second straight road match to an ACC foe, falling 5-2 at North Carolina.
Illinois lost the doubles point and recorded its only two points in singles. Farris Gosea won 6-5, 6-2 at No. 3 singles and Blake Bazarnik won a 6-1, 3-6, 6-5 match at No. 5 singles.
Gymnasts second at Minnesota. The Illinois men’s gymnastics team won five of the six events during a Big Ten triangular meet at Minnesota but finished second.
Illinois posted a score of 432.7, with the Gophers placing first at 435.2. Nebraska came in third at 420.7.
Illinois’ C.J. Maestas took home all-around honors with a score of 85.4 as he won the rings after accumulating 16.050 points.
Chandler Eggleston won two events for the Illini, placing first in the floor exercise (15.450) and the vault (15.200). Matt Foster finished first in the pommel horse (14.550), and Jordan Valdez won the horizontal bar (15.350) to post the other two victories for Illinois.
Pamilton makes debut. Stephon Pamilton, the defending Big Ten champion in the indoor 400 meters, made his indoor season debut at the Indiana Relays, placing third in the event during the invitational section with a time of 48.74 seconds.
Illinois did not have any first-place finishes Saturday, a day after Brandon Stryganek won the 200-meter dash (21.56) in the invitational section.
Vanier Joseph finished second in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.79. Aside from Pamilton’s third-place finish, a trio of Illini athletes — Cody Klein in the invitational section of the pole vault (5.15 meters), Jereme Atchison in the unseeded 5,000-meter run (14:59.5) and Unity product Zebo Zebe in the invitational section of the 600-meter run (1:19.67) — also placed third.
“We had a couple of breakthrough performances, but we still aren’t hitting on all cylinders,” UI coach Mike Turk said. “Slowly, we are progressing as a team, but we still have a ways to go.”