Illini earn titles
Though they won the Las Vegas Invitational in 1998, the Illinois wrestling team never had an individual champion at the prestigious event. Until Saturday.
Heavyweight John Lockhart and 149-pounder Adam Tirapelle both won titles.
Tirapelle, ranked second in the country, pinned three opponents and decisioned third-ranked Reggie Wright of Oklahoma State 10-2 in the finals. He was named the meet's outstanding wrestler.
"I thought I wrestled pretty well, and I'm glad I won the Las Vegas tournament, but my focus is on the NCAAs, and there's always room to improve," Tirapelle said.
Illinois coach Mark Johnson doesn't need any convincing about Tirapelle.
"I think Adam Tirapelle has distanced himself from the rest of the field in the country," Johnson said.
The Illini weren't able to defend their title. But they finished a solid second behind national power Oklahoma State. Illinois, ranked third and fifth in the national polls, won 19 of 22 matches Saturday.
Pair powers win
Darcy Adler and Tracy Bollinger each won a pair of individual events and two relays as the hosts took all but two events in the Illinois Invitational at the IMPE pool.