It just wasn't in the cards this year.
But it shouldn't have ended like this. Not for a guy that was the face of the Illinois wrestling program this decade, not for the first back-to-back national champion in the program's history in 56 years.
Jesse Delgado injured his right knee during the second period of his consolation match against Nick Hermann (UVA), forcing him to injury default and end his legendary Illini wrestling career.
Delgado is the 22nd member of the 100-win club and posted a 101-17 career record for the Illini. He placed seventh at the national tournament his freshman year before winning back-to-back national titles and Big Ten championships.
Delgado beat Penn State's Nico Megaludis 7-4 to claim his first title and met Megaludis again last season in the semifinals before taking down Cornell's Nahshon Garrett in a 3-2 decision for his second national title.
Delgado's senior season never really got started, he suffered a shoulder injury during the Illini's home opener Nov. 9 that sidelined him for more than two months. He returned to the starting lineup Jan. 30 in a home dual against Maryland, he went 7-3 with one forefit during the third-place match at Big Tens leading into the national tournament. His average margin of victory was less than four points - true to Delgado's scrappy form.
Thanks for the memories.