Castillo, Martinez Win Pac-12 Titles
Feb. 27, 2016
TEMPE, Ariz. – For one Bronco, a second Pac-12 Wrestling Championship in as many seasons. For the other, his first – in his final opportunity.
Sophomore Geordan Martinez won the 149-pound title Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena, becoming the first Boise State wrestler to capture Pac-12 championships in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Redshirt senior Chris Castillo joined him atop the podium, winning the title at 157 pounds to clinch his first-career trip to the NCAA Championships.
“Castillo saved the day for me,” head coach Greg Randall said. “It would have been a long day if he didn’t qualify, but after three years of trying he finally got it done. That kind of helped heal the wounds from throughout the day.
“And Geo, he did what he had to do to keep the streak alive. He still has a chance to win four conference titles, but now he has to focus on getting ready for the big one – the NCAA Tournament.”
Castillo started his tournament with an opening-round technical fall over Stanford’s Peter Russo, winning 17-2 in 6-minutes, 34-seconds. He followed with a 2-1 decision over Cal Poly’s Colt Shorts, advancing to the finals for the second time in his career.
Castillo outlasted Arizona State’s Oliver Pierce in the title bout, going six overtimes before putting him away, 3-2, for his first league championship.
“I’m excited,” Castillo said after punching his first ticket to the NCAA Championships. “I haven’t smiled this much in a very long time. I had confidence in myself throughout this tournament, and those one-point matches are the ones that make the difference. That’s what it came down to.”
The championship match at 149 was also a close one. After cruising to a 9-1 major decision in the semifinals over CSU Bakersfield’s Coleman Hammond, Martinez pulled out a 3-1 decision in the finals over Matt Kraus of Arizona State.
Martinez also defeated Kraus in the 141-pound finals of last year’s tournament. With his two wins at the conference tournament, Martinez will carry a 17-match winning streak into this year’s NCAA Championships.
“I feel like a different wrestler this year,” Martinez said on heading into the national tournament. “I feel way more mentally prepared, and I had a way better Pac-12 Tournament this year than last year. I feel like I’m definitely in a better place.”
Like Castillo, West, a redshirt senior, had an opportunity to reach the national tournament for the first time in his final collegiate campaign, but his career ended in heartbreak as he dropped his third-place match (8-3) to Oregon State’s Seth Thomas.
Dewey, a redshirt junior, finished runner-up at 174, but with only two allocations, was forced to wrestle in a true second-place match. He dropped the bout to Stanford’s Keaton Subjeck, who picked up a pin in 2:23. Haddadin, a redshirt junior, finished third at 125, but also had a second-place opportunity. Unfortunately, he also dropped his match, falling 7-6 to the No. 2 seed, Ronnie Bresser of Oregon State.
Redshirt sophomore Carson Kuhn (133) finished third, going 3-1.
Boise State finished fifth as a team with 92 points. Oregon State won the tournament (118), followed by Arizona State (113), CSU Bakersfield (101) and Stanford (100). Cal Poly finished sixth with 73.5 points.
The NCAA Championships are scheduled for March 17-19, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
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