Delgado to Wrestle for NCAA Title
March 22, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Second-seeded Jesse Delgado won his championship semifinal match against Cornell's No. 6 Nahshon Garrett, 10-5 and will wrestle for a national title tomorrow night. He will wrestle Big Ten foe Nico Megaludis in Saturday's night's title match. In addition, both No. 7 seeds Conrad Polz and Jordan Blanton earned All-American status. The Illini have had All-Americans for the last 21 years, dating back until 1993.
The consolation semifinals and third, fifth, and seventh place matches will be contest in a session beginning Saturday at 10 am with the final session beginning at 7 p.m. CT with the championship being aired live on ESPN.
"I was really proud of the way our guys competed in a very intense and critical situation," head coach Jim Heffernan said. "Conrad and Jordan both won their match to become an All-American against guys who had beaten them earlier in the year. Jesse has been fantastic all weekend. Mario wrestled back well but finished just one match short of earning All-America honors. We have more big matches tomorrow."
Like he has all championship, Delgado started fast against Garrett as he never trailed during the entire seven minutes. The sophomore scored two takedowns while Garrett escaped both times to make the score 4-2 in Poeta's favor. Delgado started down in the second and escaped with seconds remaining in the period to push his lead to 5-2. The Gilroy, Calif., native scored another takedown with 47 seconds left in the second to go up 7-2 on the Big Red. Garrett escaped to make the score 7-3 but Delgado countered with another takedown to make the score 9-3 to end the second period. Garrett escaped again but time ran out and Delgado earned the riding time point and the victory 10-5 to wrestle in his first championship match of his career.
Blanton continued his success through the wrestlebacks with a comeback 6-5 victory over No. 5 Maryland's Josh Asper to earn her third All-America honor. Asper scored the first takedown (2:19) while Blanton escaped to make the score 2-1. The Terrapin started down in the second and notched two escapes to Blanton's takedown to end the second with a 4-3 score. In the third, Blanton scored an escape and a takedown while Asper escaped to make the final 6-5. With that victory, Blanton becomes the first Illini to be a three-time All-American since Mike Poeta achieved the feat in 2007-09. In his second match of the night, Blanton fell to No. 8 Nick Heflin of Ohio State by a 3-2 decision to wrestle tomorrow for seventh place. He will take on No. 3 Mike Evans of Iowa.
No. 7 seed Polz earned his second All-America honor after defeating No. 5 Steven Monk of North Dakota State in the round of 12, 5-3. Polz advanced to wrestle No. 11 Cody Yohn (Minnesota). In his second match, the two began with a lot of heavy hands to end the scoreless first period. Polz chose down to start the second period and escaped to go up 1-0. In the third period, Yohn tied up the match with an escape to send it into overtime. In overtime, there were no points scored so the two went to tiebreakers. Polz started down and notched the winning escape to win the match. He will wrestle No. 4 Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State) tomorrow morning.
Mario Gonzalez was eliminated from the national tournament during the round of 12 to No. 10 Scott Schiller of Minnesota, 3-1. The two were scoreless after the first period while Schiller scored an escape and a takedown in the second to go up 3-0 over Gonzalez. Gonzalez notched an escape in the final period but it wasn't enough as the Gopher won the match.
125: No. 2 seed Jesse Delgado, So., Gilroy, Calif., 26-3
133: Daryl Thomas, Sr., Edwardsville, Ill., 22-12
149: Caleb Ervin, r-Fr., Morganfield, Ky., 22-14
165: No. 7 Conrad Polz, Sr., Orland Park, Ill., 25-7
174: No. 7 Jordan Blanton, Sr., Richmond, Ill., 26-11
184: Tony Dallago, r-Jr., Harrisburg, Pa., 20-14
197: Mario Gonzalez, r-Jr., Aurora, Ill., 18-9