TULSA, Okla. – Five Illinois wrestlers completed day one of the NCAA Championships on Thursday, March 16 from the BOK Center. Redshirt sophomore [10] Lucas Byrd earned his 29th and 30th win to advance to tomorrow’s quarterfinals for the first time in his career. Redshirt junior [12] Zac Braunagel pulls out a third period comeback upset to advance to his first quarterfinals.

Lucas Byrd

Byrd defeated [23] Brody Teske (IOWA) by a decision of 13-10 to advance to round two. In round two Byrd was set for a rematch with [7] Michael Colaiocco (PENN). These two went against each other in the semifinals at Midlands, Colaiocco won that day 15-13. Byrd was ready for the rematch as he dominated from the first whistle today with two takedowns in the first period. He compiled nearly three minutes of riding time on his way to the 6-3 redemption win.

[10] Byrd is set to face [2] Daton Fix (OKST) in the Quarterfinals.

Zac Braunagel

Zac earned his second fall on the year in his round one win over [21] Andy Smith (VT) in 3:59. This set the stage for a matchup in round two against [5] Michael Beard (LEHI). Zac trailed 5-2 heading into the final period and flipped a switch. He rattled off an escape and two takedowns to complete the comeback upset 7-6.

[12] Zac Braunagel is set to face [4] Ethan Laird (RID) in the Quarterfinals.

Danny Braunagel 

Redshirt junior [19] Danny Braunagel earned his 20th win on the year with his upset win over [14] Peyton Hall (WVU). Danny major decisioned Hall 16-5 with 10 points scored in the third period.

19] Danny Braunagel is set to face [4] Julian Ramirez (CORN) in Cons. Round 2.

Edmond Ruth

Redshirt sophomore [9] Edmond Ruth major decisioned [24] Philip Conigliaro (HAR) by a score of 14-4. After a scoreless first period Ruth was relentless in period two with two takedowns, a near fall and an escape.

[9] Edmond Ruth is set to face [10] Rocky Jordan (CHAT) in Cons. Round 2.


133: Lucas Byrd – 10 seed.

Champ. Round 1: [10] Lucas Byrd dec.  [23] Brody Teske (IOWA), 13-10.

Champ. Round 2: [10] Lucas Byrd dec. [7] Michael Colaiocco (PENN), 6-3.

165: Danny Braunagel – 19 seed.

Champ. Round 1: [19] Danny Braunagel major dec. [14] Peyton Hall (WVU), 16-5.

Champ. Round 2: [3] Dean Hamiti (WIS) pinned Danny Braunagel in 2:47.

174: Edmond Ruth – 9 seed.

Champ. Round 1: [9] Edmond Ruth major dec. [24] Philip Conigliaro (HAR), 14-4.

Champ. Round 2: [8] Bailee O’Reilly (MINN) dec. [9] Edmond Ruth, 4-2.

184: Dylan Connell – 23 seed.

Champ. Round 1: [10] Travis Wittlake (OKST) dec. [23] Dylan Connell, 4-0.

Cons. Round 1: [26] David Key (NAVY) dec. [23] Dylan Connell, 8-4.

197: Zac Braunagel – 12 seed.

Champ. Round 1: [12] Zac Braunagel pinned [21] Andy Smith (VT) in 3:59.

Champ. Round 2: [12] Zac Braunagel dec. [5] Michael Beard (LEHI), 7-6.

The Illini sit at 17th/30 with 10 team points. Today’s attendance for session one was 15,199 and session two was 15,342 to combine for 30,541 today.


These wrestlers are back in action tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT for session three on ESPNU. Byrd and Zac will wrestle to advance to the semifinals; Ruth and Danny star their battle in the second round of the consolation bracket. Session four will begin at 7 p.m. CT and host the blood round, consolation fourth round and semifinals.

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