Junior Carla Martinez improved drastically during her second season with Central Valley High School’s varsity girls wrestling program.
A year removed from seeing her sophomore year end at South Regionals, Martinez traveled to Bakersfield this past week to compete at the CIF State Championships.
She gained valuable experiencing at the prestigious meet. “I’m proud of Carla,” coach Rob Beckhart said. “She put in the time and effort to be successful. She’s only going to get better.”
Martinez compiled an 0-2 record in the 131-pound weight division at the state tourney.
She lost to Valencia’s Shani Tyson (pin, 2:44) and Valley Center’s Desiree Jones (pin, 4:41).
“It was pretty surreal being there,” Martinez said. “It’s the best of the best. Honestly, I think I could have won matches. But I was pretty nervous. I should have been more focused. I was letting other things affect me like the lights and people. I froze up. It (losing) will motivate me to try to get better and earn a spot on the podium next season.”
Martinez made history this winter by becoming just the sixth female wrestler from Central Valley to qualify for the state tournament.
She followed in the footsteps of current Hawk teammate Brianna Quiroz, Lexy Cordova, Malynda Lomeli and Rose Moore.
“I’m very proud of myself. I couldn’t imagine accomplishing half the stuff I did.”Carla Martinez
“I’m very proud of myself,” Martinez said. “I couldn’t imagine accomplishing half the stuff I did. I’m grateful for my coaches and teammates. I had a lot of role models. They helped me get there.”
Added Beckhart: “She worked hard for it.”
Martinez’s overall record on the season was 24-14.
She finished second at Masters, third at South Regionals and first at the Central California Conference finals.
Martinez won her second straight league title.
“She was confident and had a little more experience,” Beckhart said. “That helped her quite a bit.”
“This year, I was way more focused,” Martinez said. “It took a lot of extra work to get to where I got. I was really dedicated. Getting to state, it made me love the sport more.”
Martinez will look to add to her resume by securing her second straight state berth a year from now.
“I have next year,” she said. “I’m excited about that. I want to improve my record and help my team out. I know it’s going to be hard trying to get back to state again. If I do, I won’t be as nervous to try different moves."