Illinois Freshman Isaiah Martinez Wins National TitlePosted:
Martinez struck first in the championship bout, taking down Realbuto to grab a 2-0 lead. Realbuto escaped to cut the lead to 2-1 at the end of the first period. Martinez opted to start the second period in the down position, from which he quickly escaped to take a 3-1 lead. Another takedown for the Illini grappler gave him a 5-1 lead advantage at the end of the second period. A two-point nearfall in the third gave Martinez a 7-1 lead. Realbuto escaped to make it 7-2, but Martinez grabbed a final takedown and rode out the Cornell grappler to seal the 10-2 victory.Martinez began his run to a national title with an 18-2 technical fall over Russell Parsons (Army). He followed up that performance by pinning Spartak Chino (Ohio) in 1:25 to advance to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, Martinez took down Nick Brascetta (Virginia Tech), 10-4. He then edged James Green (Nebraska), 3-2, before squaring off with Realbuto.
Martinez finishes his stellar season with a 35-0 record, just the third time in Illinois history that a wrestler has completed an undefeated season, and the first since Matt Lackey in 2002-03. Of his 35 wins, 24 came by major decision or greater, including an NCAA Division I leading 11 technical falls. Dating back to last season, Martinez has won 42 matches in a row.
The Illini finished the 2015 NCAA Championships in 12th place with 51 points.