The second day of the NCAA Division I National Wrestling Championships has concluded and the championship matches are set. Our own Illinois Fighting Illini ended the day with 42 team points, putting them in 10th heading into the last day.
Isaiah Martinez of the 157lb class will be the lone Illini representative in the championship finals after winning a 6-3 decision against Joey Brascetta of Virginia Tech this morning and then scoring a sudden-victory takedown to win the semifinal match against Kent State's Ian Miller. I-Mar will face Penn State's Jason Nolf tomorrow night for the championship. It will be their third meeting of the year, and each is the only wrestler to defeat the other. Nolf has put up more points in his run to the championship final, but Martinez faced more high seeds as Nolf's side of the bracket was upset city. This is the most anticipated match of the tournament.
Zane Richards of the 133lb class lost a heartbreaker in the semifinals to Iowa's Cory Clark 4-3 on a last-second takedown. Clark picked up his second win against Richards, and he is the only wrestler to defeat him this year. Richards will face Penn State's Jordan Conaway in the consolation semifinals tomorrow morning.
Steven Rodrigues of the 165lb class lost a close one to Ohio State's Bo Jordan in the quarterfinals but defeated Nebraska's Austin Wilson in the consolation quarterfinals. He still hasn't lost to anyone outside the Jordan family and will take on Missouri's Daniel Lewis in the consolation semis tomorrow morning.
Zack Brunson of the 174lb class is done wrestling after losing in the consolation bracket to Missouri's Blaise Butler.
Jeff Koepke of the 184lb weight class is also done after losing to Blake Stauffer of Arizona State in the consolation bracket.
Brooks Black in the heavyweight division is also out after losing to Minnesota's Michael Kroells in the consolation bracket.
A team top 10 finish is still quite possible for our boys tomorrow.