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Illinois Wrestling: Isaiah Martinez wins 157 title, No. 9 Illini finish second at Midlands Championships

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Seven Illini grapplers place

Courtesy of Illinois Athletics

Isaiah Martinez won the 157-pound title to lead the No. 9 Fighting Illini to second place at the 2014 Midlands Championships with 130.5 points, behind Iowa's 189.

Seven Illini grapplers placed including, Zane Richards (133) and Zac Brunson (174) earning runner-up honors, Jackson Morse (165) placing third, while Steven Rodrigues (141), Nikko Reyes (184) and Jeff Koepke (197) all fell to sixth place.

Martinez advanced to the finals with a 16-5 major decision over Iowa's Mike Kelly. In the championship bout, Martinez hit two first-period takedowns, but South Dakota State's Cody Pack escaped from each. Martinez escaped in the second and Pack followed suit in the third before the Illini grappler racked up riding time for a 6-3 win. It is his first Midlands Championship.

Richards upset No.1-seeded A.J. Schopp of Edinboro to advance to the finals. Iowa's Cory Clark and Richards exchanged escapes in second period. Richard pushed the action the entire match, but Clark recorded a takedown for a 3-1 lead and held on after Richards escaped, and added riding time for a 4-2 decision.

Brunson rolled through to the finals with a 8-0 major decision over Northwestern's - unattached Johnny Sebastian. With an escape in the second period, Brunson took a 1-0 lead into the final period over Iowa's Mike Evans. The Hawkeye grappler rolled Brunson on a reversal and held him down the rest of the way for a 2-1 win.

Midlands' tournament MVP and eventual 165-pound champion made quick work of Morse in the semifinals to send him to the consolation round. Morse topped CSU Bakersfield's Adam Fierro and Iowa's Nick Moore to claim third.

Rodrigues fell 15-6 to Virginia Tech's Devan Carter in the semifinals then to Lehigh Valley Athletic Club's Joseph McKenna in the consolation semifinals. He finished his day with a third-straight loss to Old Dominion's Chris Mecate by a 6-2 result.

Reyes won four consecutive matches before dropping decisions in the consolation semifinals and the fifth-place bout. Koepke fell by a 5-3 decision to Wisconsin's Timmy McCall in the semifinals. Another Big Ten opponent in Northwestern's Alex Polizzi claimed a 4-1 victory over Kopeke to send him to the fifth-place match. There he also fell 5-3 to Princeton's Abe Ayala.

FULL TOURNAMENT RESULTS

CHAMPIONS

125: Joey Dance-VTech

133: Cory Clark-Iowa

141: Mitchell Port-Edinboro

149: Jason Tsirtsis-Northwestern

157: Isaiah Martinez

165: Taylor Walsh-Indiana

174: Mike Evans-Iowa

184: Jack Dechow-ODU

197: Nathan Burak-Iowa

285: Bobby Telford-Iowa

TEAM SCORES

1. Iowa-189

2. Illinois-130.5

3. Northwestern-106

4. Edinboro-101

5. Virginia Tech-99.5

6. Old Dominion-81

7. Wisconsin-80.5

8. Maryland-51.5

9. North Dakota State-45.5

10. Indiana-45