Delgado Wins First Big Ten Title

Sophomore Jesse Delgado won the Big Ten title at 125 and was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships.
Sophomore Jesse Delgado won the Big Ten title at 125 and was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships.

March 10, 2013

Photo Gallery 

Final Team Standings | Final Big Ten Brackets | Delgado's Match | Delgado Interview

Session 4 QuotesGet Acrobat Reader

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Second-seeded Jesse Delgadowon his first career title with a 10-4 decision over Iowa's top-seed Matt McDonough to help the Illini to a fifth-place finish as a team at the Big Ten Championships with 85.5 points. The Illini is the first Orange and Blue wrestler in the 125 weight class to win a conference crown since Robert Burwell achieved the feat in 1945. Delgado was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships for his performance.

"I'm proud of the guys' efforts," head coach Heffernan said. "We wrestled really hard and qualified six and maybe seven guys to the NCAA Championship. I'm so happy for Jesse. The kid has put in a ton of work. He's done a lot of the right things. I think it sets him up pretty well at the national tournament. Anytime you beat a two-time national champion it's a good thing."

Delgado was the aggressive wrestler throughout the entire championship match. The sophomore scored the early takedown to go up 2-0 after the first period. The Illini wrestler started down in the second and notched the escape and scored another takedown to push the score to 5-0 over McDonough. After an escape from McDonough, the score was 5-1 after the second period. Delgado scored two additional takedowns to McDonough's three escapes to win 10-4 to win his first Big Ten title. The Illini is the first Orange and Blue wrestler in the 125 weight class to win a conference crown since Burwell in 1945.

At 165, No. 2 Polz wrestled top-seed David Taylor in the championship match. The two had heavy hands throughout the first period before Taylor scored a late takedown near the edge of the mat with five seconds remaining. Polz chose down to begin the second and was ridden out the entire period. In the third, Taylor scored two takedowns and two stall points while Polz only scored an escape as the Nittany Lion won 9-1 with the riding time point.

"I don't know if you can be disappointed to a two-time national finalist," Heffernan said. "I think Conrad expects more out of himself, which is a good thing. He'll make some changes and keep working. Conrad put himself in a position to be an All-American again which is important. To go out his senior year and get into the finals of the conference tournament is a good finish for him."

Jordan Blantonwon his earlier match against Ohio State's Nick Heflin 4-1 to move into the third place match. Blanton took on No. 3. Robert Kokesh of Nebraska and took the early 2-1 lead after the first period. Blanton started down in the second and notches the escape to increase the lead to 3-1 after the second. Blanton started on top for third period while Kokesh notches an escape 3-2. Kokesh works hard for the reversal with eight seconds remaining to take the match 4-3. Blanton's finish earns him fourth place.

At 197, redshirt-junior Mario Gonzalezwon both matches today including No. 4 seed Andrew Campolattano by a 5-3 decision to advance to the third place match. The Illini grappler won the third place match after defeating No. 6 Nathan Burak of Iowa by a 3-2 decision.

In their first meeting of the year, No. 3 Tyler Graff of Wisconsin defeated No. 5 Daryl Thomasby pin in 2:27. Thomas finished the championship in fourth place, besting his seed and placing the highest at the conference meet in his career.

Junior Tony Dallagodropped both of his matches on Sunday, as he was pinned by No. 5 seed Ethen Lofthouse in 3:47 and was defeated by No. 8 CJ Magrum by a 5-1 decision to take sixth place.

At 149, Caleb Ervinwas pinned by top-seed Eric Grajales in his final match as the redshirt-freshman finishes eighth in his first Big Ten championship.

"I think it's been great to host the championship," Heffernan said. "The Illinois kids are comfortable here. Many of the Illinois kids have wrestled in the Assembly Hall as high school competitors. Having a cheering section and a lot of familiar people is great."

Penn State won the Big Ten Championships for the third consecutive year with 151 points, followed by Minnesota with 139 points and Iowa earned 133.5 points to take third.

Final Team Standings
1. Penn State - 151
2. Minnesota - 139
3. Iowa - 133.5
4. Ohio State - 109.5
5. ILLINOIS - 85.5
6. Michigan - 75
7. Nebraska - 61
8. Northwestern - 56
9. Purdue - 38
10. Wisconsin - 37
11. Indiana - 30.5
12. Michigan State - 22