Former Lemoore High wrestling standout Isaiah Martinez was crowned Big Ten champion Sunday.
The Illini redshirt-freshman Isaiah Martinez and the top-seeded wrestler won the 157-pound title and capped a 3-0 weekend with a 12-5 victory over No. 2 Dylan Ness in the championship bout in Columbus, Ohio.
Martinez jumped to a 4-1 lead after the first period en route to the victory, highlighted by putting Ness on the mat three times. Martinez was also named the conference Freshman of the Year after posting a 30-0 record this season.
“Isaiah just keeps getting better with every match,” coach Jim Heffernan said. “I really don’t know what else to say about him. He keeps meeting the challenge, no matter the opponent he is wrestling against. His accomplishment this weekend is great but he still has to work to do at nationals.”
Illinois finished sixth with 96.0 points. Iowa and Ohio State shared the conference title with 120 points.
Also, No. 7 Nikko Reyes of Illinois (Clovis West) beat No. 5 Kenny Courts (Ohio State) 7-2 to finish seventh at 184 pounds.
* George Mason’s Vince Rodriguez (Clovis North) took fourth at 133 pounds at the Eastern Wrestling League championships, after losing to A.J. Schopp of Edinboro by fall in Lawrence Township, N.J.