Delgado Ready for Home Opener
Jan. 12, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Junior Jesse Delgado has already had an outstanding career at the University of Illinois. With a career record of 73-11, Delgado currently holds the fourth-best career win percentage in program history. Last season, he became the first 125-pound NCAA Champion in Illinois history, and was the first 125-pounder to win the Big Ten Championships since 1945.
The Gilroy, Calif., native recently placed third at the 2013 Midlands Championships, which took place in Evanston, Ill. on Dec. 29-30. Delgado tallied two tech. falls and a decision en route to the semifinal match, where he fell to Thomas Gilman of Iowa. In the consolation bracket, he won two more match-ups, including a decision against then-ranked #8 Dylan Peters of Northern Iowa, to finish in third place. Although Delgado does not enjoy losing, he understands that something positive can come from every loss.
"After a loss I learn what I need to work on," said Delgado. "Then I focus on fixing those things. Every time I lose, I get a little bit better."
Delgado looks to get back on track this Sunday when the #10 Illini take on #8 Ohio State. He will square off against #13 Nick Roberts, a redshirt freshman with a 19-5 record in his first season representing the Buckeyes. The meet will take place at Huff Hall, the home venue of the Fighting Illini, and a place where Delgado accomplished one of the biggest feats of his career. In February of last year, Delgado defeated two-time NCAA Champion and top-ranked Matt McDonough of Iowa, breaking his 42-match win streak. Delgado also had the home crowd cheering him on last year at the Big Ten Championships, which took place at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill.
"It's always a little more fun to wrestle at Huff," Delgado admits. "It's great being in front of the home crowd. You have people that are out there cheering for you, which is always nice."
Sunday's home opener will take place at 1 p.m., with the team signing autographs for fans immediately following the dual. The Illini will return to Huff Hall on Friday, Jan. 17 when they square off against Michigan.