In any sports setting, Warren’s Martinez measures up

There aren’t too many high school athletes that can say they have reached the IHSA state championships in three different sports.

But that is exactly what Warren senior Martin Martinez could just accomplish by the end of the school year.

Martinez is embarking on his fourth and final cross country season this fall and he has already reached the state meet in this sport with an impressive 24th-place run to earn all-state honors in Class 3A last November at Peoria’s Detweiller Park.

But Martinez is not just a great runner. In the winter he switches gears to wrestling where he has been all-conference in that sport during his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons on the Blue Devils’ solid squad.

He has still not qualified out of the Class 3A sectionals to make the trek downstate for the IHSA wrestling tournament in Champaign. But the upcoming season provides much hope and optimism that Martinez can complete the three-sport trifecta.

“I’ve definitely thought of being a state qualifier in three different sports, but over the years I’ve focused more on running because that is what I want to do in college,” said Martinez, who has a 4.2 grade point average. “All of my high school coaches have been very helpful, and I have a really good relationship with (cross country) coach (Bill) Dawson. “My Dad (Martin Sr.) has helped a lot with my competitiveness and he’s a real competitive guy too.”

The spring track season has also proven to be very successful for Martinez as he reached the state meet in Charleston in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs as a junior. Martinez holds the Warren school record in both of those events and last fall he joined Karsen Green (2008) as the only two Warren runners in school history to reach the state cross country meet.

Martinez already has nine varsity letters and he will finish his high school career with 12 varsity letters for the Blue Devils.

“He’s been good at a lot of things, he’s got a 4.2 GPA, he’s extremely disciplined, he’s driven, and he really wants to do well,” said Dawson, who is in his 31st season as head coach. “He’s got a nice resume and he can get into most schools with what he’s got right now.”

So now the grind begins for Martinez and his cross country teammates, including younger brother Jakob, who is a sophomore and currently the No. 5 runner on the Warren varsity heading into the 2012 season.

Martinez is already an all-state cross country runner, but he has some pretty lofty goals looking ahead to the state meet on Nov. 3.

“My goal right now is to finish at least top five, but I really want to win it,” said Martinez. “I just have to stay healthy because I was like the eighth underclassman in the state (last year), and I beat a lot of those guys in the mile at the state track meet.”

Dawson knows Martinez has the ability to capture a very high place at state, but there are a lot of obstacles along the way and staying healthy is always essential.

“There are new people who will always come up, but he’s in way better shape than he was last year at this point,” Dawson said. “I don’t know what place he will get, but I think he will run a faster time down there (14:59) than he did last year. If I keep him healthy I think he has a chance to do very well.”

Martinez should be a great senior leader in all three sports and that is something all coaches can really use.

“I ask all of my seniors to be leaders, but everybody looks up to him because of his accomplishments and he’s such a nice kid too,” added Dawson. “He went to the camp at Stanford over the summer for cross country and I think it was good for him because he sees how hard everybody works. I think his mileage is up a little (from last year), but I’m not a real high-mileage coach. We only do 65 miles a week, but the quality of our workouts is very good.”

Dawson said that his “inner drive” is what has made Martinez so successful over the years.

“His inner drive is what has made him good and I think cross country and wrestling go hand in hand,” said Dawson. “I think the wrestling has helped him out a lot with his mental toughness.”

Martinez will have a lot of people pulling for him, but no matter what happens he can be proud of his accomplishments as he looks forward to his college years.

“I’m hoping for the best,” Martinez said. “There is a lot I want to accomplish before the year is over.”

Warren’s first big area meet of the new season will be the Wauconda Invitational Sept. 8 at Lakewood Forest Preserve.

Warren’s Martin Martinez heads for victory in the 3,200 meters at Grant High School last spring. Gilbert R. Boucher II / gboucher@dailyherald
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