Isaiah Martinez Advances to Saturday Night Title Bout

NCAA Championships Coverage

Emery Parker earns All-America honors

By University of Illinois Athletics

CLEVELAND, OH – Two-time NCAA wrestling champion Isaiah Martinez will wrestle for an Illinois program record third NCAA championship on Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena following a 5-2 victory over Iowa’s No. 5 seed Alex Marinelli on Friday night. Saturday night’s finals will begin at 7 p.m. central time live on ESPN2.

In addition to Martinez, redshirt junior 184-pounder Emery Parker clinched his first All-America honor with a 3-1 victory over No. 3 seed Ryan Preisch (Lehigh), and then avenged his first-round loss to North Carolina’s Chip Ness, winning 5-3, to advance to face Michigan’s No. 4 seed Domenic Abounader in the consolation semifinal on Saturday morning.

As a team, the Illini sit in 15th place with 33 points, but sit just four points outside the top-10.

By reaching his fourth consecutive final, Martinez becomes just the 16th NCAA wrestler to become a four-time finalist. Earlier in the day, Martinez clinched his fourth All-America honor making him the first in Illinois program history to do so.

As a team, the Illini sit in 15th place with 33 points, but sit just four points outside the top-10. Awaiting Isaiah Martinez (16-0) in Saturday night’s 165-pound title bout is Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph (24-2) in a rematch of last year’s NCAA final that saw Joseph win by fall in the third period. Holding a 3-1 advantage in the series, Martinez defeated Joseph in the 2018 Big Ten Championships final two weeks ago in East Lansing by a score of 4-1.

“Of course, I wanted him again in the finals,” said Martinez of the impending rematch. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter, like you said. But of course I want that matchup again. We did it at the Big Ten finals, now it’s time to do it for real.”

Martinez will look to join an elite club of 31 three-time NCAA champions on Saturday. Of the 27 wrestlers to have won exactly three NCAA titles, only four of them were a four-time finalist.

Much like his previous three matches of the tournament, Martinez again took control of the match early with a takedown 30 seconds into the bout. Starting the second period on top, Martinez allowed an escape to Marinelli to tie the match, 2-2, but quickly got back to his offense for his second takedown. Riding out Marinelli to end the second period, Martinez added his final point of the night with an escape to begin the third period.

“He’s a good wrestler, real good wrestler, good hand fighter, strong,” Martinez said of Marinelli. “Yeah, those matches are good, right. They remind you of how to grit things out.”

Competing in a grueling 165-pound bracket, Martinez’s win over Marinelli on Friday night was his third over a ranked opponent in this tournament. In the four matches, Martinez is outscoring his opponents, 45-13. Yet to have trailed at the 2018 Championships, Martinez is outscoring his opponents 42-12 in the first period.

In total, Martinez is 18-1 at NCAA Championships, tallying eight wins with bonus points along the way.

At 184 pounds, Parker clinched his All-America honor after wrestling back from a first-round loss on Thursday afternoon with five straight wins.

In the match against No. 3 seed Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) to clinch it, Parker used a first period takedown and ride out to win the match. Up 2-0 after three minutes, Parker managed an escape in the third period and held on for the 3-1 upset.

After coming close on multiple occasions to beating Ness on Thursday, Parker finished his shots on Saturday night, scoring two takedowns, a reversal and 1:59 of riding time to lead the Illini All-American to a 7-5 victory over North Carolina’s Ness.

Dropping his first consolation match of the evening, redshirt freshman Mike Carr (141) saw his run at NCAA Championships come to an end one win shy of All-American status. Eastern Michigan’s Sa’Derian Perry beat Carr on a takedown in the closing seconds of the match that was awarded following a challenge by Eastern Michigan.

Saturday’s action begins with consolation semifinals and medal matches at 10 a.m. central time on Saturday, broadcast on ESPNU. Saturday night’s NCAA finals will begin at 7 p.m. central time on ESPN2.

For complete coverage of Fighting Illini wrestling, go to and follow @IlliniWrestling on Twitter and Instagram.

Illini NCAA Championships Notes:

Isaiah Martinez advances to his fourth career NCAA final, becoming just the 16th wrestler to do so.
In the final, Martinez will wrestle Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State in a rematch of last year’s final. Martinez is 3-1 all-time against Joseph, defeating him this season in the 2018 Big Ten Championships final. Joseph’s lone win against Martinez came in last year’s national title match.
With a win on Saturday night, Martinez would become the 31st wrestler to win three NCAA titles
Martinez became Illinois’ first four-time All-American with a 10-1 major decision of No. 9 seed Chance Marsteller in the quarterfinals
Martinez is outscoring his opponents 45-13 through four matches at NCAA Championships this season, including a 28-8 advantage in first periods.
Martinez improves to 18-1 all-time at NCAA Championships with eight wins with bonus points, including three tech falls
Martinez ties Brian Glynn (2002-05) for ninth place on Illinois’ all-time wins list with 116 wins
Emery Parker collected his first All-America honor with a 3-1 upset of No. 3 seed Ryan Preisch of Lehigh. Parker remains

Illinois Match-By-Match Results:

125 // Travis Piotrowski // 2-2
1st Round: (6) #7 Nicholas Piccininni (Oklahoma State) def. Piotrowski by fall, 1:47
Cons. Round 1: Piotrowski def. Gage Curry (American), 9-1
Cons. Round 2: Piotrowski def. (5) #5 Sean Fausz (NC State), 8-1
Cons. Round 3: (13) #11 Zeke Moisey (West Virginia) def. Piotrowski, 5-0
Travis Piotrowski is eliminated

133 // #19 Dylan Duncan // 0-2
1st Round: (4) #4 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) def. Duncan, 7-4
Cons. Round 1: Colin Valdiviez (Northwestern) def. Duncan, 7-5
Dylan Duncan is eliminated

141 // (11) #7 Mike Carr // 3-1
1st Round: (11) Carr def. Henry Pohlmeyer (South Dakota State), 8-1
2nd Round: (6) #5 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) def. (11) Carr, 6-2
Cons. Round 2: (11) Carr def. Brent Moore (Virginia Tech), 8-5
Cons. Round 3: (11) Carr def. (14) #19 Nicholas Gil (Navy), 5-4
Cons. Round 4: Sa’Derian Perry (Eastern Michigan) def. (11) Carr, 8-6
Mike Carr is eliminated

165 // (1) #1 Isaiah Martinez // 4-0
1st Round: (1) Martinez def. Zachary Carson (Eastern Michigan) by fall, 4:21
2nd Round: (1) Martinez def. (16) #17 Jonathan Chavez (Cornell), 10-5
Quarterfinals: (1) Martinez def. (9) #5 Chance Marsteller (Lock Haven), 10-1
Semifinals: vs. (1) Martinez def. (5) #7 Alex Marinelli (Iowa), 5-2
Finals: vs. (3) #3 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State)

184 // (10) #8 Emery Parker // 5-1
1st Round: #18 Chip Ness (North Carolina) def. (10 #8 Parker, 4-3
Cons. Round 1: (10) #8 Parker def. Chaz Polson (Wyoming), 17-3
Cons. Round 2: (1) #8 Parker def. (8) #10 Drew Foster (Northern Iowa), 13-10
Cons. Round 3: (10) Parker def. (16) #17 Jordan Ellingwood (Central Michigan), 17-6
Cons. Round 4: (10) Parker def. (3) #3 Ryan Preisch (Lehigh), 3-1
Cons. Round 5: (10) Parker def. #18 Chip Ness (North Carolina), 7-5
Cons. Semifinal: vs. (5) #4 Domenic Abounader (Michigan)

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Written by Mike Bare

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