Illini wrestlers back at full strength
Carl Perry's back. So is Seth Brady.
And not a moment too soon for the University of Illinois wrestling team. The sixth-ranked Illini, with all of their regulars finally off the injured list, are scheduled to compete in four dual meets in one day this weekend.
The setting is the Peach State Duals.
"We're excited to head to Atlanta for dual meets with our entire team injury-free and intact for the first time this season," UI coach Mark Johnson said of Saturday's five-team event. "We had some excellent performances at Midlands, our hard training season is over, and now we're ready to wrestle."
The Illini last wrestled in late December, placing sixth in the Midlands Classic at Evanston.
Starting heavyweight Brady missed that one because of a back injury. So did 126-pounder Perry, who has wrestled only five times this season due to injury. And a couple of other regulars, Ernest Benion (158) and Karl Roesler (190), also have been sidelined at times this season.
The Illini will open the Peach State Duals with an 8 a.m. match against Virginia. That will be followed by duals against Nebraska at 10 a.m., Tennessee-Chattanooga at noon, and host Georgia State at 2 p.m.
Illinois has a 1-0 dual-meet record, having defeated Indiana 20-15 on Dec. 14 at Huff Hall.
Benion, the 1995 NCAA champion and a two-time All-American, enters with an 11-1 record. The lone loss was in the title bout at the Midlands Classic.
All-American Lindsey Durlacher (118) placed third at Midlands and is 16-4 for the season.
Netter springs upset.
Illini sophomore Gavin Sontag knocked off top seed Paul Goldstein of Stanford on Wednesday in the Milwaukee Tennis Classic.
Sontag rallied to defeat the three-time national junior champion 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. Sontag, from Aurora, Ohio, is 23rd in the Rolex Region collegiate IV rankings.
Swimmers head west.
The 22nd-ranked Illinois women's swimming team will return to action this weekend with a pair of meets in Southern California.
The Illini will take on host UCLA on Friday before competing in a double dual on Saturday against Fresno State and host Cal-Irvine.
Illinois, which last competed in early December, has been training in Mission Viejo, Calif., since Jan. 3.
"We face a very tough UCLA team on Friday," UI coach Jim Lutz said. "If we have a good meet, we could break into the top 20 next week."
Women gymnasts open Sunday.
The Illini women's gymnastics team will open its season Sunday in a quadrangular meet at DeKalb.
Illinois will be joined by Central Michigan, Wisconsin-Oshkosh and host Northern Illinois.
Among the UI's top returnees are sophomores Becky Ashton and Kim Berres.