Martinez on verge of NCAA wrestling title; finals Saturday night at 5 p.m. on ESPN

By Ed Martin, Editor
Isaiah Martinez
Isaiah Martinez

Lemoore’s Isaiah Martinez is on the verge of doing something only one other Lemoore wrestler has ever done: win an NCAA wrestling championship - and he’s only a freshman. The other Tiger was the vaunted Chris Pendleton, who won in 2004 and 2005 for Oklahoma State.

At the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis this weekend, Martinez was slated to wrestle Cornell’s second-seeded Brian Realbuto in Saturday’s championship finals, beginning at 5 p.m. which will be televised on ESPN.

Martinez is 33-0 this season and won the Big 10 title just one week ago, earning the NCAA’s top seed in the 157-pound weight class. If Martinez wins Saturday night he begin a quest to win four straight NCAA championships, a fete only three others have done in NCAA wrestling history.

Martinez rolled to two victories Thursday at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, opening with an 18-2 technical fall over Army’s Russell Parsons. He then pinned Ohio’s Spartak Chino in 1:25 of the round.

He then beat Virginia Tech's Nick Brascetta in Friday's quarterfinals, and pulled out a 3-2 win over Nebraska’s James Green in the semifinals.

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