2016 Illinois Male Athlete of the Year: Isaiah Martinez

2016 Illinois Male Athlete of the Year: Isaiah Martinez

Male Athlete of the Year
Isaiah Martinez, wrestling

■ The redshirt sophomore not only repeated as NCAA champion at 157 pounds but he also avenged the only loss of his collegiate career doing so and became just the fourth Illini, including Joe Sapora, Bob Norman and Jesse Delgado, to win consecutive titles.
■ Martinez’s 14 technical fall victories were the most in the country for the second straight season and three more than his total a year ago.
■ With just the one loss in 68 matches, Martinez’s winning percentage is first in program history by a wide margin. Should it hold, he’d top Matt Lackey, who went 120-14 (.896) from 2000 to '03.
■ Nearly one-third of Martinez’s wins during the 2015-16 season came against ranked opponents, including two against Penn State redshirt freshman Jason Noff (Big Ten and NCAA finals), who was responsible for Martinez’s lone loss.
■ With plans to move up to 165 pounds next season, Martinez will compete at 74 kilograms (163 pounds) at the University World Championships in October in Turkey after cruising to the title at University Nationals last month.

Past Male Athletes of the Year
YEAR    ATHLETE    SPORT

2016    Isaiah Martinez    Wrestling
2015    Isaiah Martinez    Wrestling
2014    Jesse Delgado    Wrestling
2013    Justin Parr    Baseball
2012    Andrew Riley    Track and field
2011    Mikel Leshoure    Football
2010    Scott Langley    Golf
2009    Paul Ruggeri    Gymnastics
2008    Rashard Mendenhall    Football
2007    Kevin Anderson    Tennis
2006    Justin Spring    Gymnastics
2005    Luther Head    Basketball
2004    Brian Wilson    Tennis
2003    Matt Lackey    Wrestling

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