He’s seen many of his wrestlers draped with state championship medals, and he’s watched with pride as his teams have hoisted multiple state championship banners, including the last three in a row.
Now it’s Robertson head coach Richard Martinez’s turn for some glory.
Martinez on Friday was recognized by the New Mexico High School Coaches Association as its Coach of the Year for wrestling in 2008. The award is conferred regardless of classification.
Martinez is one of an elite group of 16 — 15 head coaches and one athletic director — honored by the NMHSCA, an independent entity that also oversees the state’s annual North-South all-star competitions in various sports.
This past February, Martinez guided the Robertson wrestling team to its 10th consecutive District 2 1A-3A title, then to its third Class 3A state team title. The Cardinals have won six such championships in an eight-year span, a run rivaling the best in the state in any sport.
This year’s state tournament run was highlighted by the Cardinals battling their way to the finals in seven of 14 weight classes — ultimately winning six individual classes, as Jake Martinez (160 lbs.), Wally Diaz (140), Luciano Urrutia (135), Daniel Martinez (130), Miguel Garcia (119), and Santiago Armijo (189) prevailed in the finals. David Rael (112) was a runner-up, and four others finished in the top four of their divisions.
Additionally, Jake Martinez was named to the New Mexico Dream Team, wrestling’s answer to the North-South distinction, and was honored as the state’s best grappler by several other organizations.
Others honored by the NMHSCA as coaches of the year for 2008:
Bill Cawood, Kirtland Central, football; Ron Geyer, St. Michael’s, boys’ basketball; Bobby McIntyre, Rio Rancho, girls’ basketball; Gene Victor, CIbola, softball; Allan Lockridge, Pojoaque Valley, boys’ cross country; Kathy and Rob Hipwood, Los Alamos, girls’ cross country; Ruth Chavez, Portales, volleyball; Bobby Alavarez, Hope Christian, boys’ soccer; Uwe Balziz, Rio Rancho, girls’ soccer; Tim Back, Sandia, golf; George Holmes, Artesia, tennis; TBA, BCA, baseball; Darrell Ray, Clovis, girls’ track and field; Larry Chavez, Rio Rancho, boys’ track and field; Ernie Viromantes, Las Cruces, athletic director.
Notes: Also of interest, several District 2-3A coaches were recognized for achieving career milestones for wins.
They are Ed Velie, St. Mike’s girls’ soccer, 228 wins; Kevin Carroll, Albuquerque Academy football, 106 wins; Johnny Abeyta, Santa Fe Indian girls’ basketball, 321 wins; Joey Trujillo, Pojoaque boys’ basketball, 212 wins; Joey Fernandez, St. Mike’s football, 58 wins.