For the second year in a row, Isaiah Martinez had an undefeated season ended by Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph in the 165 pound national title bout.
Joseph got two takedowns in the last minute of the first period to put himself up 4-0, and he was able to control the match for the rest of the way. Martinez couldn’t get his offense going, and was clearly frustrated. Martinez and Joseph traded off escape point in the second, and Joseph held off Martinez in the third while gaining his last escape point to win 6-1.
Though the final match in the career of the greatest Illinois Fighting Illini wrestler ever had a disappointing outcome, his career is unparalleled in the history of the program. He leaves with the 10th most wins in Illinois history (115) and by a substantial margin the highest winning percentage in Illinois history — which a 115-3 career record will do for you.
The program’s first 4-time Big Ten champ and first 4-time All-American is also among a very select group of wrestlers. Only four have ever won 4 national titles, and though IMar can only claim two, he was a four-time finalist, which is a massive feat in and of itself.
His incredible quickness and constantly attacking style made him an absolute joy to watch over the last four years and we wish him all the best in his post-collegiate wrestling career.