OMAHA | Quite an impressive state wrestling tournament debut so far for Peyton Martinez.
“He’s wrestling like an upperclassmen, someone who has been wrestling down here for many years,” said South Sioux City wrestling coach Evan Bohnet of the 120-pound freshman, who will compete in Friday night’s Class A state semifinals tonight at the CHI Health Center.
Martinez will take a 24-6 record into action against Lincoln East senior Nathan Rizek (41-8). Though the two are three years apart in age, they have something in common. Each has two state tournament wins, one by pin.
Martinez was one of two first-round winners for the Cardinals on the opening day of the state meet. Luis Quezada (220), a three-year state veteran, also won in the first round, but fell in the quarterfinals, so he’ll compete in the consolation bracket, the same place where three of his teammates will also find themselves as state action resumes today.
Martinez opened with a 10-7 win over Lincoln Southwest’s Jaxon Morrow. Martinez then posted a 2:57 fall over Millard North’s Solomon Allerheiligen.
“He stayed on his shots and finished his shots,” said Bohnet. “He was put in difficult positions. He was put on his back in the quarterfinals and he fought out of it. He persevered through all of those difficult obstacles and wrestled tough.”
Quezada opened with a 5-4 win over Omaha South’s Mikey Vasquez, someone he had lost to in an earlier-season match.
Action in a back-and-forth quarterfinal match saw the South Sioux City senior lose, via 1:44 fall to Columbus’ Kasten Grape. Quezada will take a 28-7 record into Friday’s action.
“He got put on his back and (Grape) got put on his back,” said Bohnet. “I thought Luis wrestled very well. That Columbus kid is a great wrestler. I think (Quezada) capable of going back and getting a bronze medal. We told our kids if our goal was to get first, now our goals have to change.”
The Cardinals’ Axel Hernandez (20-17) slipped to the 132-pound consolation bracket after a 5-0 loss to Grand Island South’s Kolby Lukasiewicz.
South Sioux City’s Adan Curiel (21-11 at 170) and Jacob Ngeleka (26-14 at 285) each dropped their first round matches. Curiel was pinned in 2:44 by Kearney’s Gus Franzen while Ngeleka was pinned in 54 seconds by Norfolk’s Conner Cowling.