All-Bee Wrestler of the Year: Isaiah Martinez

The Fresno BeeApril 17, 2013 

Márcio Botelho means absolutely no disrespect to the five previous state wrestling champions from Lemoore High -- and he's one of them.

The Tigers coach takes nothing away from the 28 other four-time medalists at the CIF State Championships -- nine of whom captured at least three gold medals.

And it is without reservation that Botelho heaps the loftiest of praise on Isaiah Martinez -- Lemoore's three-time state champion and four-time medalist.

"We've just witnessed one of the greatest wrestlers to compete at the high school level," Botelho said. "Everything he's done is just dominant. This kid is special. He was in a league of his own. Honestly, a lot will be determined at the next level, but only a few have been as dominant as Isaiah. He's up there with the greatest of all-time California-wise."

The Illinois-bound senior put an exclamation point on his prep career by pinning Folsom's Nicholas Fiegener in 5:18 during the 160-pound state final. It was only the second loss of a 60-match season for the state No. 2-ranked Fiegener, both to Martinez.

It added to Martinez's state medal collection, which also includes a gold at 152 pounds in 2012, a gold at 140 pounds in 2011 and a bronze at 125 pounds in 2010.

"It's been a good experience," said Martinez, who went 55-1 with 28 pins and 18 technical falls this season. "I wasn't expected to be a three-time state champ, but I always believed that and my parents believed that. I feel I've come a long way since my freshman year."

Despite going 205-7 with 103 pins and 78 techs in his four seasons, Martinez was rarely satisfied.

After earning pins or tech falls in all but one match during the previous two state meets, including five straight pins last year, Martinez was disappointed with a mere 16-4 major decision in this year's round of 16.

"My coaches always pushed me," Martinez said. "If I teched a guy in the third round, they'd say you could do it in the second. Do it faster next time, or score more takedowns. When you hold yourself to that kind of standard, people notice when you slip up, so I didn't want to be that guy who slipped up or stepped off the gas."

Martinez hasn't lost to a wrestler from California in three seasons. His only losses the past two years were decisions of 4-2 and 2-0 to nationally top-ranked Bo Jordan of Ohio.

Martinez was so dominant that Botelho said it was hard for him to find partners who could test his star wrestler in practice.

"My wrestling room was getting boring for him," Botelho said. "I brought in different guys all the time, but not too many high school rooms have a guy who can push a kid like that. There's probably not going to be anyone better to come through our program."

For all Martinez's success, Botelho said he stayed humble, remained focused and always put the team first.

"I never really detached myself. I always kept my head on straight," Martinez said. "The best wrestlers in the country don't think they are the best. They just work hard and strive to get better. That's why I've always worked to get better, no matter how much I won my matches by."


Wrestler of the Year: Isaiah Martinez

School: Lemoore

Grade: Senior

Weight class: 160

The résumé: Became the state's 17th three-time champion and 29th four-time medalist by pinning Folsom's Nicholas Fiegener in 5:18 in the final. It capped a 55-1, 28-pin, 18-technical fall season that also saw Martinez capture Masters, Yosemite Divisional, West Yosemite League and Doc Buchanan titles. The Illinois-bound Martinez has a career record of 205-7, with state titles at 152 pounds in 2012 and 140 pounds in 2011, and a third-place finish in 2010.

The reporter can be reached at nickg@fresnobee.com, (559) 441-6103 or @NickG_FB on Twitter.

The Fresno Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service