CMU’s Martinez claims sixth at nationals

Sophomore wrestler and teammate earn All-America honors

James Martinez couldn’t pull off the upset, but the Colorado Mesa University sophomore still placed to earn All-American honors.

The 149-pound sophomore wrestler took sixth place Saturday to lead the Mavericks in the NCAA Division II National Championships in Birmingham, Ala. Colorado Mesa finished 22nd with 16.5 points.

“James wrestled well,” CMU coach Chuck Pipher said. “He’s disappointed he wound up sixth, but he beat some tough kids. That was a tough weight. (Placing sixth) was definitely an accomplishment.”

Martinez (17-6) nearly wrestled for third place, but Deral Brown of Newberry (S.C.) College scored an escape point in the tiebreaker and was able to ride Martinez out for a 7-6 victory.

Central Oklahoma’s Jordan Basks defeated Martinez 9-1 in the fifth-place match.

Defending national champion Raufeon Stots of Nebraska-Kearney defeated Martinez 12-4 Saturday morning in the semifinals.

Senior Nick Petersen took seventh place at 184 pounds to achieve All-America status all four years in college. He was a two-time junior-college All-American at Northwest (Wyo.) College and a national champion before coming to Colorado Mesa for his junior year.

“Nick had a great career,” Pipher said. “He did a great job. He would’ve liked to finish higher, but he had a great career.”

Petersen (27-8) lost 3-2 to returning national runner-up Adam Walters of Findlay (Ohio) to drop into the seventh-place match.

There, Petersen won by forfeit over Zack Zelcs of Gannon (Pa.). Zelcs injured his leg in his previous match.

Senior Jon Gappmaier (13-7) hoped to finish his college wrestling career by earning All-America status, but he went 0-2 in the tournament after a rib injury in a workout two days before the tournament began.

“I feel bad for Gappmaier,” Pipher said. “He separated his ribs working out with Martinez Wednesday. That didn’t help him any.”

Martinez and Petersen are Mesa’s fourth and fifth All-Americans since the program was reinstated seven years ago.

Swimming & Diving

Colorado Mesa diver Amanda Jennings duplicated her 1-meter result on the 3-meter dive in the NCAA Division II Championships in Birmingham, Ala.

The sophomore placed 14th with a score of 395.85 to receive honorable mention All-America status. She placed 14th in the 1-meter dive Thursday.

Mesa swimmer Mehdi El Hazzaz didn’t make the finals cut in the men’s 100 freestyle. He finished 38th in the preliminaries in 45.78 seconds.

The freshman from Morocco was an honorable mention All-American in the 200 freestyle Thursday and placed 37th in the 50 freestyle.

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