By The News-Gazette
DES MOINES, Iowa — The Illinois coaching staff certainly did its part in preparing Jesse Delgado for a run to an NCAA championship.
But Mom gets a ton of credit, too.
DES MOINES, Iowa — A decade ago, Matt Lackey won a national wrestling championship at 165 pounds for Illinois.
He became the fourth Illini to earn the distinction since 2000 and 20th overall in program history.
The program, however, has been stuck at that number ever since Lackey’s triumph.
Until Saturday night.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Jesse Delgado already has a Big Ten wrestling title at 125 pounds on his resume this season.
Now the Illini sophomore will strive for a national title in the same weight class.
Delgado beat Nashon Garrett of Cornell 10-5 in a semifinal match Friday night at the NCAA Championships.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Illinois’ Jesse Delgado (seeded second at 125 pounds) and Conrad Polz (seeded seventh at 165) advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships after winning their second-round wrestling matches Thursday night.
Jordan Blanton (174), Tony Dallago (184) and Mario Gonzalez (197) stayed alive in the consolation bracket.
March Madness isn’t just for basketball. It is for college wrestling, too. The NCAA meet starts at 11 a.m. today at Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Arena. Here are three things to look for, courtesy of N-G wrestling beat writer Bob Asmussen:
Twelve years ago Sunday, coach Mark Johnson’s Illini wrestling program had two athletes win NCAA titles at the championships in Iowa City, Iowa. Adam Tirapelle (149 pounds) and John Lockhart (heavyweight) were individual titlists, leading Illinois to fifth place in the standings, its highest finish since a third-place showing in 1948. Tirapelle ended his season at 31-2.
Here’s what you need to know from Sunday’s action at the Big Ten meet, courtesy staff writer Bob Asmussen:
Today wraps up my fourth year of writing from the Big Ten wrestling tournament. I am not sure I have witnessed better wrestling than what I witnessed on Sunday. The fans were treated to some outstanding head-to-head matchups, some outstanding individual performances and a great team race that went down to the wire.
CHAMPAIGN — Earlier in the week, the local newspaper asked the Illinois wrestling starters three fun survey questions. For “give us your WWE name,” Jesse Delgado answered “Jesse.” He wasn’t in a mood to play along. Turns out he had something more serious on his mind: winning the Big Ten title.