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Isaiah Martinez wins 157-pound Big Ten championship, remains undefeated

9 Illinois grapplers earn automatic bids to NCAAs.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Martinez left the mat Sunday like he has all season long with his arm raised.

The top-ranked Martinez defeated No. 2 Dylan Ness of Minnesota, 12-5, to win the 2015 Big Ten championship at 157 pounds. Martinez was also named the Big Ten "Freshman of the Year" after posting a 30-0 record thus far.

Martinez grabbed two takedowns in the first period and Ness countered with an escape. Following another escape by Ness in the second, Martinez escaped from bottom and put Ness to the mat three more times in a dominating third period.

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Kyle Langenderfer posted the second-best finish by the Illini at the championships, grabbing third-place with two victories Sunday. Langenderfer pinned an injured No. 3 Hunter Stieber (OSU) and beat No. 5 Alec Pantaleo (MICH), 9-7, in sudden victory.

No. 2 Jesse Delgado (125) defeated No. 4 Tim Lambert (NEB) to advance to the third-place match, but Delgado forfeited to No. 5 Jordan Conoaway (PSU) for fourth.

No. 6 Zane Richards (133), No. 5 Jackson Morse (165), No. 5 Zac Brunson (174) and No. 11 Jeff Koepke (197) each made the fifth-place match, with Richards and Morse coming away as victors. Richards avenged his 3-1 second round loss to No. 3 Jimmy Gulibon (PSU) with a 4-3 win. Morse beat No. 12 Garrett Sutton (MICH) for the second time on the weekend, 2-0.

Brunson fell 3-1 in sudden victory to No. 6 Mike Martin (OSU), while Koepke also dropped a 10-1 decision to No. 6 Max Huntley (MICH).

The Illini went 1-1 in the seventh-place matches. Nikko Reyes (184) topped No. 5 Kenny Courts (OSU), while No. 10 Brooks Black fell, 3-2, to No. 7 Spencer Myers (MD) for eighth. It was the second match between the two on the weekend and third overall. Black holds a 2-1 record over Myers.

All nine Illini place winners earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo. on March 19-21. It is the first time since 2009 the Illini have at least nine qualifiers.

Iowa and Ohio State were named co-Big Ten champions after finishing with 120 points, while Minnesota finished with 108 points for third and Michigan took fourth with 101.5 points. With Delgado's default Penn State claimed fifth place with 96.5 points, only half a point more than the Illini, who claimed sixth place with 96 points.

Team Standings

1. Iowa 120

1. Ohio State 120

3. Minnesota 108

4. Michigan 101.5

5. Penn State 96.5

6. Illinois 96

7. Nebraska 85.5

8. Wisconsin 74

9. Northwestern 72

10. Purdue 37.5

11. Rutgers 20.5

12. Indiana 16

13. Michigan State 12.5

14. Maryland 10.5

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