Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Sept. 2, 2018

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Sept. 2, 2018

Happy 24th Birthday to legend Isaiah Martinez, one of only four Illinois varsity wrestling alumni to win two NCAA titles.

Recruited by coach Jim Heffernan, Martinez traveled more than 2,100 miles to attend the University of Illinois from his home in Lemoore, Calif.

He was redshirted as a true freshman, then began a dominating run of his Big Ten competition in the 2014-15 season.

Martinez will serve as Illinois wrestling's volunteer assistant coach in 2018-19. I-Mart's record-setting Illini career, by the numbers:

2: Number of times he won the Dike Eddleman Award as UI's Male Athlete of the Year (2016 and '17).

4: Big Ten championships he captured, one of only 16 conference wrestlers to accomplish that feat.

10: His ranking on Illinois' career victory list.

16: Seasons between him (2015) and Iowa State's Cael Sanderson (1999) in becoming college wrestling's first undefeated freshman (35-0).

54: Consecutive matches he won from 11/9/14 to 1 / 23/16

116: Career victories in 119 overall college matches (116-3).

157: Weight at which Martinez wrestled as a redshirt freshman and redshirt sophomore.

165: His wrestling weight in his final two collegiate seasons.

205: Career victories Martinez compiled at Lemoore High School (205-7)

.900: His winning percentage in NCAA tournament wrestling matches.

.975: His career winning percentage, an Illinois record.

2018: Year Martinez was awarded the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor for proficiency in athletics and academics.

Illini Birthdays:

Sunday: James Griffin, basketball (60)

Monday: Bill Small, basketball (77)

Tuesday: Calvin Avery, football (19)

Wednesday: P.J. Bowman, basketball (50)

Thursday: Tracey Marshall, volleyball

Friday: John Groce, basketball coach (47)

Saturday: Arrelious Benn, football (30)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter@B1GLLL. His website is