Isaiah Martinez’s pursuit of a third straight individual title reached the semifinals stage, while Nick Nevills’ quest for his first crown was dashed during the Friday morning session at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis.
Illlinois’ top-ranked Martinez (Lemoore High) defeated No. 9 Chandler Rogers of Oklahoma State 10-5 in the quarterfinals to improve to 30-0 in his junior season.
Martinez, who won NCAA titles at 157 pounds as a freshman and sophomore, will face Wisconsin’s No. 4 Isaac Jordan later Friday in the semifinals, which will be televised starting at 5 p.m. on ESPN. The winner advances to Saturday’s finals, which will also be televised by ESPN at 5 p.m.
Martinez opened the tournament Thursday with a 14-4 major decision over Northern Illinois’ Shaun’Qae McMurtry in the first round and an 8-5 decision over Minnesota’s No. 16 Nicholas Wanzek in the round of 16.
Martinez is 97-1 in his three-year college career. Martinez was a three-time CIF State champion while at Lemoore.
97-1 The career record of Illinois junior wrestler and former Lemoore High standout Isaiah Martinez, who is aiming for a third straight individual title at the NCAA Division I Championships.
Former Clovis standout and fifth-ranked Nevills lost 3-1 to Duke’s No. 4 Jacob Kasper in the quarterfinals.
Nevills (22-4) beat Lehigh’s Doug Vollaro 4-2 and Edinboro’s No. 12 William Miller 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
Nevills will face an opponent to be determined in the consolation quarterfinals later Friday. Nevills, a three-time state champion while at Clovis, is making his first appearance in the NCAA Championships as a sophomore.
Martinez and Nevills are the only Fresno-area wrestlers still alive at the three-day tournament.
Two other wrestlers with local ties – Michigan State 141-pounder Javier Gasca (Kingsburg) and Stanford 184-pounder Zach Nevills (Clovis) – both went 0-2 and were eliminated Thursday.
Gasca, who was injured in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships, lost his opening match by 18-3 technical fall to Penn State’s Jimmy Gulibon and medical forfeited his second match, ending his junior season 27-10. Gasca, who is 63-25 in his college career, had pinned Gulibon in 6:20 during the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Championships.
Zach Nevills, Nick’s older brother, reached the NCAA Championships for the first time after winning a Pac-12 title as an unseeded competitor. Nevills, a senior, finished the season 6-11 and 55-47 in his career.
Check back on fresnobee.com for updates.