Illinois Wrestling closes 2022-23 season at NCAA Championships

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TULSA, Okla. – The remaining four wrestlers from Illinois completed Day 2 of the NCAA Championships on Friday, March 17 from the BOK Center. Junior red shirt [12] Zac Braunagel and his second year in a red shirt [10] Lucas Byrd both struggled in their first NCAA quarterfinals this afternoon.

Zac pinned Virginia Tech [21] Andrew Smith (3:59) and in the third period, a comeback upset Lehigh [5] Michael Beard (7-6 December). He fought [4] Ethan Laird (RID) in the quarter-finals and appeared to have the winning out when time expired. Upon review, however, it was ruled that he had exceeded the limits by a few centimeters and had not obtained the withdrawal. He fell to the score of 3-2. He faced [10] Jacob Cardenas (CORN) in the bloody round and fell in a hard fought duel by a 6-4 decision.

Byrd defeated Iowa [23] Brody Teske (December 13-10) and avenged his loss to Penn’s [7] Michael Colaiocco (Dec. 6-3) to earn his place in the quarter-finals. He fought [2] Daton Fix (OKST) in a fierce battle, but fell 3-2. He battled Jesse Mendez (OSU) in the blood round and fell in the tiebreaker round 4-3 on the drive time standard.

Redshirt sophomore Edmond Ruth won two consolation bouts today. First, he defeated Chattanooga’s [10] Rocky Jordan in the second round (Dec. 2-0). Then he fought against [17] Donnell Washington (IND) to win in a 6-5 decision and advance to the Blood Round. He faced [11] Nelson Brands (IOWA) in the blood round and fought hard, but fell 4-1.

With no wrestlers on the podium this year, it ends the 30-year All-American streak that was the fourth-longest in the nation. This wraps up the 2022-23 wrestling season for Illinois. In head coach Mike Poeta’s second year, they improved their double record to 6-7 (4-4 B1G) while going 4-2 at home. This is the most doubles and home wins since the 2019-20 season.

Attendance for the third session was 15,507 and the fourth session saw 15,694 to bring the championship total to 61,742.


133: Lucas Byrd – 10th seed.
Field. Round 1: [10] Lucas Byrd Dec. [23] Brody Teske (IOWA), 13-10.
Field. 2nd round: [10] Lucas Byrd Dec. [7] Michael Colaiocco (PENN), 6-3.
Field. Quarterfinal: [2] Daton Fix (OKST) Dec. [10] Lucas Byrd, 3-2.
The inconvenients. Round 4: [13] Jesse Mendez (OSU) Dec. [10] Lucas Byrd, TB-3 4-3.
Byrd eliminated.

165: Danny Braunagel – 19th seed.
Field. Round 1: [19] Danny Braunagel Major Dec. [14] Peyton Hall (WVU), 16-5.
Field. 2nd round: [3] Dean Hamiti (WIS) pinned Danny Braunagel in 2:47.
The inconvenients. 2nd round: [4] Julian Ramirez (CORN) Dec. [19] Danny Braunagel, 17-15 years old.
D. Braunegel eliminated.

174: Edmond Ruth – 9th seed.
Field. Round 1: [9] Edmond Ruth major dec. [24] Philippe Conigliaro (HAR), 14-4.
Field. 2nd round: [8] Bailee O’Reilly (MINN) Dec. [9] Edmund Ruth, 4-2.
The inconvenients. 2nd round: [9] Edmond Ruth Dec. [10] Rocky Jordan (CAT), 2-0.
The inconvenients. Round 3: [9] Edmond Ruth Dec. [17] Donnell Washington (IND), 6-5.
The inconvenients. Round 4: [11] Nelson Brands (IOWA) Dec. [9] Edmund Ruth, 4-1.
Ruth eliminated.

184: Dylan Connell – 23rd seed.
Field. Round 1: [10] Travis Wittlake (OKST) Dec. [23] Dylan Connell, 4-0.
The inconvenients. Round 1: [26] David Key (NAVY) Dec. [23] Dylan Connell, 8-4.
Connell eliminated.

197: Zac Braunagel – 12th seed.
Field. Round 1: [12] Zac Braunagel pinned [21] Andy Smith (VT) in 3h59.
Field. 2nd round: [12] Zac Braunagel Dec. [5] Michael Beard (LEHI), 7-6.
Field. Quarter-finals: [4] Ethan Laird (RID) Dec. [12] Zac Braunagel, 3-2.
The inconvenients. Round 4: [10] Jacob Cardenas (CORN) Dec. [12] Zac Braunagel, 6-4.
Z. Braunagel eliminated.


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