GJ’s Martinez finally exorcises state semifinal demons
DENVER — Dylan Martinez made it look easy Friday night and now he’s in the Class 5A 132-pound finals.
The state wresting tournament has tormented Martinez for two years, but the Grand Junction junior wasn’t going to be denied a third time.
Martinez dominated his semifinal match at the Pepsi Center, beating Maverick Keigher of Doherty with an 11-0 major decision.
“It’s a great feeling, but I still have work to do. It’s definitely nice to get past that hump,” Martinez said about making the finals.
For the past two seasons, Martinez has suffered agonizing losses in the semifinals. Now he will go for a state title against a returning state champion.
Pomona’s Theorius Robison (32-1) made sure the 132-pound title match would be one of most intriguing state tournament matchups. Robison won a state title last year as a freshman and he also defeated Martinez (40-3) 8-7 earlier this season.
Martinez has worked hard on improving his on-top wrestling style and it paid off Friday.
He won his quarterfinal match 14-7, before racking up 11 points in the semifinals.
“I score a lot of points on top, so it’s been good for me,” he said.
Martinez is excited for his first shot at a state title.
“It’s going to be something I’ve never experienced before, so tomorrow is a whole new game for me, but I’ll just approach it as just another match,” he said
Martinez is the No. 1 seed and Robison is No. 2.
Grand Junction had five wrestlers in the semifinals and three will go for state titles tonight.
In a demonstration of domination, Josiah Rider has powered his way through the 145-pound division with ease.
In his three matches, the junior has pinned his opponents in 30 seconds, 52 seconds, and 1 minute, 28 seconds in the semifinals.
He won the state title at 152 pounds last year.
Freshman Dawson Collins used an impressive 7-0 decision to advance to the 106-pound finals, where he will face Malik Heinselman of Castle Valley (43-0).
Collins’ reaction after his win was subdued but happy.
“I’m really happy, it feels great. Now I get to see if I can break his undefeated record,” he said.
The title match features the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.
Senior Tyren Castonguay (126) and junior Seth Latham (170) both lost to No. 2 seeds in the semifinals.
Castonguay lost to Poudre’s Job Greenwood, 9-1, and Latham lost to Nolan Krone of Pomona, 9-0.
Hotchkiss pushed two wrestlers into the finals — Sergio Campos at 113 and Wade Katzdorn at 160.
Katzdorn has pinned all three of his opponents and now faces Norwood/Nucla’s Aidan Dabal in the title match.
A four-time state qualifier, this is Katzdorn’s first trip to the finals.
“It’s been about 14 years of hard work,” a thrilled Katzdorn said. “You start when you’re 4 and you get to the point where you hate it so much but you gotta do good to make it worthwhile.”
Campos will wrestle fellow sophomore Dillon Jaramillo of Rocky Ford in the finals.
Hotchkiss senior Colton Hall lost in overtime in the semifinals and Landen Mayberry (106) also lost in the semis.
The 138-pound title match will be an all-Western Slope battle with Sheridan Harvey of Meeker taking on Paonia’s Sackett Chesnik.
“Anything can happen, there’s never any guarantees,” Harvey said. “This is cool but I have a goal that’s not yet accomplished, so I’ll keep working, keep pushing.”
Harvey, a senior, pinned Chesnik, a sophomore, for the regional title last weekend.
The 2A heavyweight title match will also be a rematch of the regional championship, featuring Meeker senior Tyler Ilgen and Paonia senior Trevor Smith.
Both are four-time qualifiers.
Smith, who moved up to heavyweight late in the season, beat Ilgen 3-2 in overtime at regionals.
Meeker has four wrestlers in the finals and holds a 127-120 lead in the team standings over John Mall. Rocky Ford is third at 118.5.
Joining Sheridan and Ilgen in the finals for Meeker are Casey Turner (170) and Chase Rule (182).
If Delta heavyweight Logan Church becomes the Panthers’ first state title winner since 2011, he will have earned it.
The junior beat No. 1 seed and undefeated Sam Deseriere of Mullen in the quarterfinals, then beat Emanuel Munoz Alcala of University with a 4-1 decision to make the championship round.
He will face Sheridan senior Ricky Ayala, who beat previously unbeaten Sam Westbrook of Bayfield.
Church came into the tournament looking for redemption.
“Last year I lost in the first round and ended up sixth. I’ve just worked hard because I knew I could do better this year,” he said.
Grand Valley pushed two in the finals.
A.J. Serna placed third last year at 106. He will be at least one place higher this year at 113 pounds after winning a 3-2 decision in the semifinals.
The title match will have Serna, the No. 2 seed, wrestling the top seed, Isaiah Delacerda of Alamosa.
The 220-pound title match will feature No. 1 Oscar Lopez of Jefferson and No. 2 Evan Hoff of Grand Valley.
Hoff scored a 6-0 decision to make the finals.
Andrew Godfrey, a four-time state qualifier for Olathe, suffered a tough loss, giving up a takedown in the third period to drop the match 5-4.
Rifle’s Alex Cordova lost in the 170-pound semifinals.