Wrestling: Pasco's Martinez repeats as 4A champ

February 22, 2014 

State Wrestling

Pasco's Timmy Martinez controls Tahoma's Cruz Velasquez from above in their Class 4A 126-pound state championship match Saturday at Mat Classic XXVI at the Tacoma Dome. It was Martinez's second straight state title.

PATRICK HAGERTY — Patrick Hagerty

TACOMA — Timmy Martinez became the first two-time state champion in the history of the Pasco wrestling program Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.

The Bulldogs junior defeated Cruz Velasquez of Tahoma 3-1 in the Class 4A 126-pound final at Mat Classic XXVI, adding to his 120-pound championship from 2012.

But he doesn’t plan to stop there.

“I don’t want to settle. I want to be a three-time state champion,” Martinez said. “I want to give kids something to strive for. I want them to say, ‘I want to be be better than Timmy Martinez. I want to be Pasco’s first four-time champion.’

“That’s what makes the sport grow.”

Martinez finished the season 39-2 after going 42-0 as a sophomore.

“He had some setbacks this season, but he didn’t make excuses,” Pasco coach Jay Covington said. “He lost his first match, he told me, ‘I didn’t wrestle well.’ I said, ‘I agree with you.’

“Before the finals, a lot of coaches are still coaching kids up. We’re telling jokes. His thing is, ‘Coach, I got this.’ ”

Martinez earned the bulk of Pasco’s 30 points, giving the Bulldogs a 17th-place finish.

Chiawana, with fourth-place finishes from Blake Bishop (152) and Abzael Loeza (220), plus a fifth-place finish by Tyler Vargas (170), finished 12th with 43 points.

Richland, which finished 23rd with 25 points, got a second-place finish from Pryce Seely at 138 pounds. The Bombers senior fell 6-2 to Central Valley’s Blake Beard, a returning state champion at 126 pounds. Seely improved on his eighth-place finish last season.

“I’m kind of feeling both (emotions). I came so close, but I’m happy also,” Seely said.

The Sunnyside Grizzlies made a decent run at the Class 3A team title, finishing third with 97 points. North Central won with 103.5 points.

Sunnyside got individual titles from Jesse Torres at 113 pounds and Jesse Barajas at 120. Barajas won last year at 113 pounds, while Torres finished third at 106.

“It was scary, but I knew I wanted it more,” Torres said after beating Benjamin Dixon of Mountain View 11-6 in the final. “My brother (Anthony) won a state title last year. It’s the best feeling ever.”

Hanford got four strong placings from its four qualifiers: Will Bishop (195), Dallon Grinder (285), Blake Llarenas (113) and Jeff Weyand (285). None won a state title — although Grinder got close, losing by pin to Tate Orndorff of University in the final — but all placed fourth or higher.

The Falcons placed eighth with 66 points behind team champion North Central (108.5).

Grinder and Weyand have been wrestling partners all season and nearly faced off in the 285-pound championship. Weyand, however, lost in the semifinals and finished fourth.

“We’ve been working together in the wrestling room all year, but I don’t think either of us knew we’d make it this far,” said Weyand, who is headed to BYU on an academic scholarship.

Grinder was a little heartbroken after his championship loss, but the Eastern Oregon-bound football player knows he’ll be pleased with a runner-up finish.

“It was a good moment,” he said. “I’ve been to state the last three years, but this is the first time I’ve placed.”

Southridge finished 33rd with 20 points with help from Bryce Overholt’s fourth-place finish at 170 pounds and an eighth-place finish by Marcus Surita at 220. It was the second consecutive placing for Overholt, who took fifth at 182 pounds last season.

Kennewick was one spot behind the Suns in 33rd with 18 points, led by Robby Calvert’s fifth-place finish at 220 and David Ramos’ seventh at 120. Kamiakin took 36th with 13 points behind Damien Gooldy’s fifth-place finish at 132.

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