By University of Illinois Athletics
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois redshirt senior Isaiah Martinez (11-0) won his final career match at Huff Hall, defeating No. 6 Evan Wick of Wisconsin by major decision, 14-6, but Illinois couldn’t complete the comeback as Wisconsin won the dual, 19-16. Illinois finishes the regular season with a 7-4 overall record, 6-3 in the Big Ten.
“It’s always bittersweet. Every year with this [Senior Day] match, I can’t believe they’re seniors. Isaiah [Martinez] looks pretty good, Kyle [Langenderfer] kind of gave his match away, and 125 [pounds] and 149 [pounds] was where the meet was decided.”
Honoring four seniors, Brock Ervin, Isaac Reinemann, Kyle Langenderfer and Isaiah Martinez on Sunday prior to the match, the Fighting Illini split the 10 matches with the Badgers. However, a 13-4 run by the Badgers at the middle weight classes proved too much to overcome despite the Illini picking up wins in two of the last three bouts.
Hosting the sixth-ranked wrestler at 165 pounds, No. 2 Isaiah Martinez ended his Huff Hall career with a 14-6 major decision over redshirt freshman Evan Wick. Consistent throughout the seven minutes, Martinez tallied two takedowns in each period to give Wick just his fourth loss of the season.
The 24th win of his career at Huff Hall, Martinez finished his third undefeated regular season with an 11-0 record that includes eight tech falls. In total, Martinez is outscoring his opponent 199-62 this season, only allowing one takedown, a first-period takedown to Isaiah Hokit at Fresno State on November 17.
Illinois added a second win over a top-10 opponent at 184 pounds when No. 6 Emery Parker (18-1) avenged his lone loss of the season over No. 9 Ricky Robertson. After Robertson used an escape to take a 1-0 lead early in the second period, Parker scored three takedowns in the final three minutes of action, including two within 30 seconds of each other to close out the second period. A pair of back points following his third takedown capped off a 9-4 decision.
Parker has now won 13 straight matches dating back to the 3-1, sudden victory loss to Robertson in the title bout of the Roadrunner Open on November 19.
Illinois’ other three victories on the day came from Dylan Duncan (133), No. 12 Mike Carr (141) and Deuce Rachal (HWT).
Following an upset of No. 18 Travis Piotrowski at 125 pounds, redshirt freshmen Duncan and Carr earned back-to-back decisions to give Illinois their only lead of the day. Both scoring multiple takedowns in the first periods, Duncan earned a 5-2 victory against Jens Lantz, while Carr’s five takedowns gave him a 10-4 win over Eli Stickley.
For Carr (14-4), the win is his eighth in a row and 10th in his last 11 matches.
Following the two Illinois victories, Wisconsin won three of the next four bouts to take control of the dual, beginning when 149-pounder Cole Martin got redshirt sophomore Eric Barone on his back early in the third period, pinning him at the 5:15 mark of the match. No. 19 Andrew Crone added an overtime win over redshirt senior Kyle Langenderfer at 157 pounds, and then 174-pounder Ryan Christiansen added another bonus point with a major decision against David Riojas.
Trailing 19-13 entering the heavyweight bout, redshirt junior Deuce Rachal nearly tied the match with a pin in the second period, getting Wisconsin’s Ben Stone on his back for four near fall points. Although Rachal was unable to get Stone back on the mat for another chance at the fall, Rachall picked up the 7-5 decision for his third Big Ten win of the season.
With the conclusion of the regular season, the Fighting Illini will have two weeks to rest and prepare for Big Ten Championships in East Lansing, March 3-4. Fans can purchase tickets to the tournament here.
For complete coverage of Fighting Illini wrestling, go to FIGHTINILLINI.com and follow @IlliniWrestling on Twitter and Instagram.
Isaiah Martinez (11-0) finishes his third straight undefeated regular season. During the 11 wins, 10 by tech fall or fall, Martinez is outscoring his opponents 199-62 this season.
Martinez finishes his career with a 24-1 record at Huff Hall.
With the 14-6 win, Martinez moves into sole possession of 14th place on Illinois’ all-time wins list with 109 wins, passing former Illini B.J. Futrell (2008-13) and Mark Jayne (2002-05). Jevon Herman (1995-98) ranks 13th all-time with 110 wins.
With a 9-4 decision against #9 Ricky Robertson, redshirt junior Emery Parker won his 13th straight match, a streak that dates back to December 1 at Iowa. The win avenged his lone loss of the season, a 3-1 sudden victory loss to Robertson on November 19.
Emery Parker and Isaiah Martinez finish the season undefeated in duals, Parker going 10-0 and Martinez 11-0.
With the 10-4 decision, Mike Carr has won eight straight matches, and 10 of his last 11 dating back to a January 5 upset of No. 9 Chad Red Jr. (Nebraska).
No. 20 Wisconsin 19, No. 14 Illinois 16
125: Johnny Jimenez (WIS) dec. #18 Travis Piotrowski, 1-0 0-3
133: Dylan Duncan (ILL) dec. Jens Lantz (WIS), 5-2 3-3
141: Mike Carr (ILL) dec. Eli Stickley (WIS), 10-4 6-3
149: Cole Martin (WIS) fall Eric Barone (ILL), 5:15 6-9
157: #19 Andrew Crone (WIS) dec. #20 Kyle Langenderfer (ILL), 8-2 (SV-1) 6-12
165: #2 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) major dec. #6 Evan Wick (WIS), 14-6 10-12
174: Ryan Christiansen (WIS) major dec. David Riojas (ILL), 17-4 10-16
184: #6 Emery Parker (ILL) #9 Ricky Robertson (WIS), 9-4 13-16
197: Hunter Ritter (WIS) dec. Andre Lee (ILL), 3-2 13-19
HWT: Deuce Rachal (ILL) dec. Ben Stone (WIS), 7-5 16-19