Illini Wrestling Inks Nation's Top Signees

Illinois wrestling program get their best ever.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. University of Illinois head wrestling coach Mark Johnson landed his most heralded recruiting class in school history on Wednesday after receiving letters of intent from Mike Poeta of Highland Park, Ill., the nation's No. 1 recruit, and Troy Tirapelle of Clovis, Calif., ranked No. 1 at 135-pounds and No. 14 overall.

Poeta, the highest rated senior by Intermat, posted a 42-1 record en route to his first career state title as a junior, winning the 140-pound weight class. He is a three-time Illinois state placewinner, taking third in both 2001 and 2002. A standout at freestyle, Poeta has also won two age group national titles. He is coached at Highland Park High School by former Illinois All-American Griff Powell.

Tirapelle joins his older brothers, Alex and Adam, in their choices to join the Fighting Illini squad. Tirapelle will be looking to become a three-time California State Champion this season. He helped lead his high school team to a state title last season, along with then-teammate and current Illini Gabe Flores and under head coach Stephen Tirapelle. He is on pace to follow his brothers and sister, Brooke, as the school¹s valedictorian this year.

Mike and Troy obviously are incredibly talented wrestlers with their high national rankings and put us closer to achieving our goal of winning a national team title, Johnson said. Not only are they great athletes, but outstanding students as well. Both Mike and Troy come to Illinois expecting

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