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  • Photo: Photo/Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Photo/Tony Rotundo

    Martinez to continue wrestling career with Illinois RTC

    Isaiah Martinez (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Graduating redshirt senior wrestler Isaiah Martinez announced on Friday morning that he will continue his wrestling career as a member of the Illinois Regional Training Facility. The two-time NCAA champion, and four-time Big Ten champion, finished his Illinois career with a 116-3 record to set a new program record.

    "I am extremely pleased to announce that I will be continuing my international level career with the IRTC at the University of Illinois," said Martinez. "This is the place that I have called home for the past five years and I am grateful to be given the opportunity to continue working on my dreams here in Champaign. Our goals have always been the same, it's to win world and Olympic gold medals. More importantly, it's to maximize our athletic potential and become the best wrestler possible. I believe that my coaches and staff have my best interest as a person and as an athlete. It gives me tremendous joy to be able to pursue my dreams and to better the University of Illinois. Wrestling program for a while longer. Thank you to all who made this possible."

    The mission of the Illinois Regional Training Center is to "support the World and Olympic dreams of its members," per the IRTC website. "This is a central location where the best wrestlers in the area can come and train with one another under a staff that has a wealth of Freestyle and Greco-Roman knowledge on the world stage. The mission of the IRTC is to not only help the best athletes, but also the wrestlers looking to jump levels by having access to some of the best training partners and coaches in the country."

    "Understandably, Isaiah was getting a lot of interest in terms of where he would be training as a post-graduate," said Illinois head coach Jim Heffernan. "The fact that he chose to stay at Illinois and be a part of our program speaks volumes of his character and loyalty. He is the most successful wrestler in his history of our program and we were all looking forward to him building his legacy as he starts his international career. He has been and will continue to be a huge asset to our program."

    Isaiah Martinez will continue his wrestling career next weekend as part of the 2018 Freestyle World Cup in Iowa City next weekend. Martinez is one of two wrestlers on the Team USA roster at 74 kilograms (163 pounds).

    For complete coverage of Fighting Illini wrestling, go to FIGHTINILLINI.com and follow @IlliniWrestling on Twitter and Instagram.

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