Tirapelle named TheMat com Wrestler of the Week

By Gary Abbott | March 09, 2005, 12 a.m. (ET)
Alex Tirapelle (Clovis, Calif./Illinois) was named TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week for the week of March 1-7. Each week, TheMat.com will select an Athlete of the Week, based upon performance within wrestling for that week. The selection committee will consider any level of wrestling, from youth programs through the Senior level. Tirapelle, a junior, won the gold medal at 157 pounds at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships, held in Iowa City, Iowa, March 5-6. Tirapelle joined teammate Pete Friedl (174) as Big Ten champions for the Illini. Their victories helped lead Illinois to the Big Ten team title, the first for the Illinois since 1952. In the gold-medal finals, Tirapelle defeated Ryan Bertin of Michigan 4-3 in a rematch of the 2003 NCAA finals. Bertin seemed to control the match early, scoring on a reversal in the second period, but two escapes by Tirapelle tied the match at 2-2 late in the third, and with just under 20 seconds left, Tirapelle finished a single-leg to win the match. "Ryan and I have wrestled eight times and we're four and four. Nothing really changes with us. We both go out and wrestle our own match," Tirapelle said after his win. On his way to the title, Tirapelle scored four wins. He opened with a 15-3 win over Matt McCarty of Michigan State. In the quarterfinals, he stopped C.P. Schlatter of Minnesota, 4-1. His semifinal victory was over Joe Johnston of Iowa by a 9-5 margin. Tirapelle is a two-time NCAA All-American, placing second in 2003 and fourth in 2004. He was a three-time California state high school champion for Clovis High School. His older brother Adam was a NCAA champion for the Univ. of Illinois. Tirapelle is majoring in business administration. Click here to view previous Athletes of the Week