Fruita Monument’s Martin has peer pressure to thank for his success on wrestling mat
Peer pressure can lead to some interesting choices by high school students.
Already involved in two sports at Fruita Monument High School, Anthony Martin kept feeling the pressure from his peers, teachers and coaches to try a winter sport.
His football teammates who were also wrestlers looked at his 6-foot-1, 295-pound frame and thought he’d be a natural for the mat. So did Fruita Monument’s assistant wrestling coach, Brook Stockert, one of Martin’s teachers.
“He said they needed a heavyweight,” Martin said.
The only problem was, it had been kindergarten since Martin last gave wrestling a try. Now he was a high school junior.
OK, he thought, I’ll try it. After two weeks of preseason practice in November, however, he was rethinking his commitment.
“At the beginning of the season, I hated it,” he said.
It involved more conditioning than he was prepared for. Martin had to lose 10 pounds to get down to 285.
From the get-go, however, he saw some success, and that whetted his appetite.
“I started having more fun,” he said.
And he quickly fit in with his teammates, many of whom he knew from the football field.
“Everybody likes him,” Stockert said. “He’s a great teammate to have.”
Martin frequently wrestles with teammates Steve Adleman (189 pounds) and Matt Remy (215). Since both are solid wrestlers, that makes Martin work harder in the practice room every day.
With the workouts Stockert and his father, Wildcats head coach Jim Stockert, put their wrestlers through, Martin didn’t have to worry about losing weight once the season started.
“Since then I’ve been able to eat what I want,” Martin said.
Through 32 matches, Twon (his nickname, which is derived from Antoine, another nickname he picked up as an offshoot of Anthony) is 17-15.
Not bad for a guy who’s relying almost solely on his athleticism and strength, since he’s behind in the technical knowledge of the sport.
“I don’t know much of the technical stuff,” Martin said. “I just try to do what the coaches tell me, use my strength.”
Brook Stockert said Martin’s natural athletic ability has played a part in his improvement.
“He’s also a really bright kid,” the Wildcats’ assistant coach said. “He’s improved drastically. A lot of that is just mat time.”
Some of Martin’s best lessons have come in matches he’s lost.
“He always learns from it and he doesn’t make the same mistake twice,” Brook Stockert said.
Martin is leaps and bounds ahead of where he was 21/2 months ago.
“You notice it not from week to week from each match,” Brook Stockert said of Martin’s steep learning curve.
If there’s a skill Martin would like to improve on before next week’s regional tournament, it’s his leg takedowns.
“I’d like to be able to take it to their legs more than their upper body,” he said.
The opponent that most gives him trouble is the quick wrestler — not frequently found in the 285-pound division but generally among the best in the heavyweight division.
“We work with him individually on technique specifically for big kids,” said Brook Stockert, who sees a lot of potential in Martin.
“He’s definitely a state tournament-quality wrestler,” he said.
Martin is excited enough about wrestling that he’s even considering doing freestyle or going to camps this summer.
If he doesn’t qualify for the state tournament this year, he’ll be somewhat disappointed. He realizes, however, that an off-season of work on the mat could produce big results next season.
“I told him this year or next year, he could be on that (state tournament) podium,” Brook Stockert said.