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.
Jesse Delgado claimed a national title at 125 pounds, beating Nico Megaludis of Penn State in a 7-4 decision.
Delgado (27-3) struck first, scoring on an escape to go up 1-0 late in the first period before Megaludis (27-4) tied the match at 1.
Delgado responded with a third-period takedown to go up 6-2, a move that secured the national championship for the sophomore from Gilroy, Calif.
He becomes the first Illinois national champion at 125.