CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois wrestling has called Huff Hall home for close to a century, but starting with the 2022 season the team is making the big move to the State Farm Center.

Sunday marked the beginning of the new era, with a good crowd packed into the lower bowl to watch the first non-meet match there in quite some time. Lucas Byrd kept the No. 15 Illini close to No. 2 Iowa early by winning his 133 match by a 5-0 decision to tie the match at three points a piece. The Hawkeyes showed up after that, winning every remaining weight class to take it 36-3, but it was still a monumental day for the program.

“It definitely means more to the Illinois kids,” says head coach Mike Poeta. “This is where our state tournament is. As your growing up and as your maturing where you’re in the state of where something is so important to you, the high state tournament is everything. Illinois kids, this building is really special. For those guys, I know they were really happy to be in here.”

The Illini are back at home Jan. 29 against Northwestern.