Jesse Delgado (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)Delgado (Gilroy, Calif.) is the first NCAA champion since Matt Lackey accomplished the feat in 2003. He finishes the season with a 27-3 record and is the first Illini to win a Big Ten and NCAA title in the same year since Lackey in 2003.
In the championship final match, Megaludis set the tempo early, pushing the action throughout the opening period. Delgado defended extremely well as he fought off the Nittany Lion's offense. The bout was tied 0-0 after the first period. Delgado chose down to begin the second period and notched the escape at the 1:47 mark to take a 1-0 lead heading into final period. Megaludis started down in the third and earned the escape to tie the match 1-1 at the 1:54 mark. However, Delgado got the takedown and three nearfall points to take the 6-1 lead with 43 seconds remaining. Megaludis scored an late escape and a takedown with 17 seconds remaining. Delgado notched one more escape with 15 seconds left to win the title 7-4.
Two Illini wrestlers concluded their career at Illinois, winning their final matches at the 2013 NCAA Championships. No. 7 seed Polz (165) finished a career-best fifth while No. 7 seed Blanton (174) placed seventh at the national tournament.
Three-time All-American Blanton defeated Cody Walters of Ohio by a 4-3 decision to finish seventh best in the nation. The two exchanged takedowns to tie the score at 2-2 after the first period. Blanton started down in the second and scored the escape which was the only point awarded in the period. The senior began on top in the final period and Walters escaped to tie the score 3-3, however Blanton notched 1:06 of riding time which was the key in winning the match. Blanton ends his career with an overall record of 115-43.
Two-time All-American Conrad Polz wrestled No. 4 Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State) in his first match of the morning but was defeated 2-1. The two exchanged escapes but Caldwell notched the riding time point to advance. Polz then wrestled Iowa State's Micheal Moreno in the fifth place match. The senior earned the first takedown and lead 2-0, however competition was paused due to an official review which lasted almost 10 minutes. After the challenge ended, both wrestlers were awarded reversals. At the end of the first the score was 4-3 in favor of Polz. Polz started down in the second and escaped to push the score to 5-3. In the third, Moreno escaped twice and Polz scored another takedown to win the match 7-5. The fifth-place finish is a career best for the senior as he ends his Illinois career with a 81-42 overall record.