Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci Class of 2019 graduate Nesa Martinez signs a letter of intent to attend the University of Jamestown on a wrestling scholarship.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
MORENCI – Class of 2019 graduate Nesa Martinez sported an ear-to-ear smile as she penned a new chapter in the annals of Morenci’s athletic history Tuesday afternoon.
The 145-pound student-athlete inked a letter of intent to attend North Dakota’s University of Jamestown on a wrestling scholarship July 30. Her action makes her a “Jimmie” for third-year head coach Shauna Kemp later in August.
“It is a great opportunity for her,” said six-year Morenci head wrestling coach Casey Woodall. “She is a trailblazer.”
“She was recruited by the coaches’ father,” her father, Art, said. “He saw her at a national tournament in Fargo, an hour away from Jamestown.”
Martinez decided to attend school to study criminal justice. Jamestown is a private N.A.I.A. liberal arts university with an enrollment of just more than 1,000 students.
Her biggest supporters, parents Lisa and Art along with 11-year-old sister Cynthia and nine-year-old brother Arick plus coaches Woodall and Travis Torres, were on hand to witness the historic moment.
Martinez becomes the first female wrestler to commit in the program’s 46-year existence, the 11th under head coach Woodall, the initial four-year female participant plus sectional entrant, placer, champion; state qualifier, placer, and third placer during the state’s inaugural girls’ post-season meets.
She ended with a post-season record of 5-1 with two pins during the state’s 145-pound class of 14 participants. Her lone loss was by a pin in the closing four seconds of the state semifinals to the eventual state champion, Glendale Deer Valley freshman plus Section V champion Jessie McCurry (3-0, 2 pins). The final match as a Wildcat ended with her arm held high as the winner, pinning Chandler Basha sophomore plus Section I runner-up Amber Rodriguez (2-2, 2 pins) in 1:30 for third place at Prescott Valley’s Findlay Toyota Center in February.
State meet stats posted by her were 36th in pin time (1:30), with quickest at 12 seconds, tied for most points scored (9), held off being pinned the longest (5:56), and scored 15 team points.
She advanced by a first-round injury to Phoenix Maryvale sophomore plus Section II champion Angie Ochoa Reyes (0-1), a quarterfinal 9-4 decision over Mesa Skyline freshman plus Section I champion Brooke Fitzpatrick (1-1), succumbed to McCurry, and pinned Rodriguez for third place.
Martinez became the programs’ initial 2019 sectional champion following the inaugural girls Section III meet at Tucson Flowing Wells in January. She topped a field of five at 145, decisioning favored Tombstone junior Jasmine Jacquay (1-1, 1 pin) 8-2 for the title. Bisbee junior Danissa Serrano (2-1, 1 pin) pinned Tucson Pueblo junior Arianna Lopez (0-2) for third place.
A total of 147 state-wide qualifiers were on hand for the girl’s inaugural state meet and 50 competed at the sectional.