The legend of Isaiah Martinez has grown yet again. The redshirt senior Fighting Illini wrestler won his fourth Big Ten individual championship.
He becomes only the 16th four-time Big Ten wrestling champion after today’s championship at the Big Ten Wrestling Championship Tournament in East Lansing, Michigan.
Martinez posted an 11-0 record in dual meets this year and was the No. 1 overall seed in the 165-pound weight class for this weekend’s tournament. His opponent for the championship match was Penn State’s defending national champion Vincenzo Joseph, who defeated Martinez in last year’s national title bout.
The two wrestled the first period to a 0-0 stalemate as Martinez was unable to complete any of his takedown attempts. From the top position in the second period, Martinez racked up 1:20 of riding time before allowing an escape. He started the third period in the down position but escaped within three seconds. Late in the third period, Joseph got the leverage and upended Martinez, but he was able to roll through and prevent Joseph from recording a takedown. Martinez completed a takedown of his own in the closing second, and he took a 4-1 decision with the riding time bonus point.
Martinez will look to win his third national title at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis in two weeks.