In his quest to win a third straight individual title, former Lemoore High wrestler Isaiah Martinez has reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships.
The Illinois junior and top-seeded 165-pounder opened Thursday’s action with a 14-4 major decision over Northern Illinois’ Shaun’Qae McMurtry and followed with an 8-5 decision over Minnesota’s No. 16 Nicholas Wanzek in the round of 16.
Martinez, who won national titles at 157 pounds as a freshman and sophomore, will face Oklahoma State's No. 9 Chandler Rogers in the quarterfinals Friday morning. The semifinals are Friday evening and the finals are set for Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Marrtinez, who is 29-0 on the season and 96-1 in his college career, was a three-time CIF State champion while at Lemoore.
Former Clovis standout Nick Nevills of Penn State also reached the quarterfinals at 285 pounds, opening with a 4-2 decision over Lehigh’s Doug Vollaro and defeating No. 12 William Miller of Edinboro 6-2 in the round of 16.
Nevills, a sophomore competing in the NCAA Championships for the first time after an injury marred freshman season, will face Duke’s No. 4 Jacob Kasper in the quarterfinals.
Nevills, who is 22-3 on the season and 28-6 in his college career, won three state titles at Clovis.
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.
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.