Day two of the NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships concluded last night with two Fighting Illini wrestlers having clinched All-American honors. Isaiah Martinez and Emery Parker are guaranteed to finish as All-Americans.
It’s the first time Parker has earned this honor, while Martinez became the first four-time All-American in Fighting Illini wrestling history. Martinez will wrestle Vincenzo Joseph for the national title in his final collegiate match Saturday night. He has the chance to become the first three-time National Champion in Illinois Wrestling history.
In the 125 lb consolation bracket, Travis Piotrowski faced a tough match against the 5 seed Steven Fausz but nearly broke a late stalemate with a pin. He would settle for a takedown and a 4 point near fall and win 8-1, but later Friday morning he was shut out 5-0 by Zeke Mosley of West Virginia. Piotrowski finished a 19-10 record.
Michael Carr won both his matches in the Friday morning session, taking an 8-5 decision against Brett Moore and pulling out a 5-4 victory over Nic Gil. These victories advanced him to the blood round, also known as the cutoff for All-American honors.
The march of Martinez continued with a dominating 10-1 victory over Chance Marsteller. Martinez’ ground game on top hasn’t been very strong, but nobody’s been close to taking him down from the neutral position.
Parker won a wild 13-10 match in the 184 wrestlebacks and later scored a 15-5 major decision over CMU’s Jordan Ellingwood to advance to the blood round.
Carr’s tournament ended Friday night when he was upset by EMU’s Sa’Derian Perry, who came into the tournament with a losing record but will now end up as an All-American. He finished the year with a 20-7 record.
Parker faced off against Chip Ness in the blood round and was able to avenge his loss to Ness in the championship bracket with a 7-5 decision. He’ll wrestle Michigan’s Dominic Abounader Saturday morning for the right to wrestle for 3rd place.
Martinez faced his stiffest challenge so far against Iowa’s Alex Marinelli, but ultimately came away with a 5-2 victory. Martinez’ aggressive style limits the offensive opportunities of his opponents and he’s been able to control the tempo of the match with the underhook. On the other side of the bracket, Vincenzo Joseph won a 3-1 decision to advance to the finals as well. Martinez lost to Joseph in the championship match last year, but defeated him in this year’s Big Ten championship match.
The final collegiate match for the greatest wrestler to wear the Orange and Blue will be during the championship round Saturday night. This is appointment television.