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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports wrestling

Hoosiers pinned by Illini

It was another tough test for the Hoosiers on Sunday when they took to the mat against the No. 8 Fighting Illini in IU’s University Gymnasium. Despite its efforts, the team suffered a loss, 10-29.

The team started off slow at the 157-pound weight class, with redshirt freshman Sawyer Morris falling to Illinois’ Jackson Morse with a score of 3-15.

Action started to improve for IU at the 165-pound weight class, with redshirt freshman Preston Keiffer wrestling No. 10 Conrad Polz, even though Keefer ended with a 6-18 loss.

Sophomore Ryan Leblanc came out with a strong nearfall in the first period of the 174-pound weight class for IU, fighting hard against Illinois’ No. 12 Jordan Blanton. Leblanc came out with a close loss after giving up a two-point takedown in overtime.

No. 3 Matt Powless (197 pounds) returned to the mat for IU after being out due to a recent knee injury. Powless kept up resilient efforts to earn a 10-3 major decision against Mario Gonzalez, placing the first team points on the board for the Hoosiers.

“I was really pleased with the score result, but I mean, at times, I could have wrestled more aggressively,” Powless said. “But with this being my first match back from my injury, I’d rather play it safe.”  

The action continued with IU heavyweight Adam Chalfant facing off against Pat Walker. After a couple of big takedowns, Chalfant earned a 5-2 victory, adding three points to the total team score.

The team started to lose ground as the meet shifted into the lower weights.

Hoosier Zach Zimmer had a good start but could not hang onto the lead, suffering a 14-4 loss against No. 5 Jess Delgado.

Matt Ortega (141 pounds) was reunited with Illinois’ Daryl Thomas for the third time this season. Thomas defeated Ortega with a score of 18-12 at the Las Vegas Invitational, with Ortega answering back later in the season with a 7-4 win against Thomas.

Ortega and Thomas went back and forth on the scoreboard, but ultimately, Ortega could not hold on as he suffered a 16-9 loss.

IU freshman Taylor Walsh (149 pounds) concluded the meet with a strong finish against No. 16 Eric Terrazas. With a combination of takedowns, reversals and one minute of riding time, Walsh earned a 7-0 win.

“I thought we wrestled hard, in general,” IU Coach Duane Goldman said. “I think some of our guys that are having more success this season, like Chalfant, Walsh, Powless and Leblanc, all wrestled well and showed a lot of progress. I’m seeing a lot of improvement from our guys, for sure.”

Powless also had positive things to say about the team, despite the loss.

“While we did lose, there were individuals who wrestled well and wrestled hard,” Powless said. “So I was happy with the team.”

The Hoosiers will regroup this week to prepare for their next meet. The team will travel to Edwardsville, Ill., to compete against SIUE and South Dakota State University
on Friday.

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