Martinez one win away from title shot

Martinez one win away from title shot

CLEVELAND — The chase for history is still on for Isaiah Martinez.

The Illinois wrestler advanced to Friday night’s semifinals at the NCAA Championships after his 10-1 winat 165 pounds against Chance Marsteller of Lock Haven on Friday morning in the quarterfinals a at Quicken Loans Arena.

Martinez scored a takedown in the first period against Marsteller to take a 2-0 lead before Marsteller trimmed it to 2-1. But Martinez added another takedown halfway through the first period to increase his lead to 4-1 and cruised from there.

With the win, Martinez becomes the first ever Illinois wrestler to earn four All-American honors.

Martinez improved to 17-0 on the season and a day after he defeated Cornell’s Jonathan Chavez and Zachary Carson of Eastern Michigan during his first two matches on Thursday, the two-time national champion will wrestle again tonight in the semifinals against Iowa’s Alex Marinelli.

The semifinal session is slated to start at 7 p.m., with Martinez likely to wrestle around 8:15 p.m.

Martinez, who won a national title at 157 in 2015 and at 165 in 2016, is seeking to become the first Illinois wrestler to ever win three national titles.

Martinez finished runner-up at 165 last season, losing to Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State.

A potential rematch with Joseph looms for Martinez after Joseph won his quarterfinal bout on Friday morning, setting up a semifinal against David McFadden from Virginia Tech.