April 4, 2013
OREM, Utah - Air Force rookie Josh Martinez has been honored by the Western Wrestling Conference, which announced its 2012-13 postseason award winners on Thursday. Martinez was tabbed the league's Freshman of the Year, while North Dakota State's Trent Sprenkle and Roger Kish were named WWC Wrestler of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively.
The Wrestler of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards were voted on by the league's head coaches this past week, while the Coach of the Year balloting was determined after the NCAA West Regional.
Martinez, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., made an immediate impact as a freshman, earning an automatic NCAA qualifying bid by finishing as the runner-up at 125 pounds at the West Regional/WWC Championships. The 10th seed in the national tournament, Martinez posted a 1-2 record at the NCAA Championships, ending the year with a 28-11 overall record.
On the season, Martinez posted five wins over nationally ranked opponents, including three over eventual All-Americans. Meanwhile, eight of his 11 losses came to wrestlers seeded at the NCAA Championships. He compiled a 7-2 dual record on the year, which included a 3-2 mark in WWC duals.
Martinez was ranked 10th on the final regular season InterMat poll, 11th on the final coaches poll and fifth on the final RPI. The WWC Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 29, Martinez placed third at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and fourth at the Southern Scuffle, while also taking first place at the All-Academy Championships, third at the UNK Holiday Inn Open and sixth at the Hokie Open.
Martinez is just the second Air Force wrestler to earn one of the conference's postseason awards, joining current senior Cole VonOhlen, who was named the WWC Freshman of the Year in 2010.
Sprenkle earned WWC Wrestler of the Year honors after earning All-America distinction at 125 pounds, placing fifth at the NCAA Championships. The two-time West Regional champion closed out the season with a 34-6 overall record, including a 16-2 mark in dual competition. Meanwhile, Kish was named WWC Coach of the Year for the first time after leading the Bison to the regular-season conference title with a 5-0 mark in the WWC.