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Martin's pin lifts Blue Devils

Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2009 by Times Herald

Casey Martin was rolling at the end of last season.

He had won a regional championship at 103 pounds, and his team was headed to the state finals at Battle Creek.

But a knee injury robbed the Richmond junior of the end of his season. Martin said coming back and making up for lost time has him more motivated this season.

But in his first tournament of the season, with a three-time state champion in a headlock, he wasn't thinking about any of that.

Martin said he only had one thing on his mind: "Pin him."

He got the pin against Swan Valley's B.J. Suitor, giving Richmond some early momentum in a 51-22 win against the No. 1 Vikings. It was one of Martin's five wins on a perfect day.

For his efforts, Martin is the Times Herald Athlete of the Week.

"I was so happy, I just jumped up, I don't even remember what went on," said Martin, a 119-pounder. "I just started hollering.

"I was really excited that I won it and that our team won it, too."

Martin and the Blue Devils improved to 16-0 with the win over Swan Valley and likely will take over the top spot in the Division 3 rankings after being No. 2 going into the tournament. More importantly, they've put themselves on the inside track to the No. 1 seed at the state finals.

"For me, the goal is to win a team state title," Martin said. "And hopefully, win one individually."

Richmond co-coach Brandon Day felt Martin was on his way a year ago to winning that individual state title. He had beaten eventual runner-up, C.C. Weber of Goodrich in the regional finals.

"I think Casey could have been a state champ at 103 and could have been top five in the state at 112," Day said. "All of those big-name kids that are doing so well at 119, he's wrestled with them his entire life."

Martin said he tore his meniscus sometime before the regional finals, and the injury kept him off the mat completely for about a month.

"It's pretty good right now," Martin said of the knee. "It doesn't bother me as much.

"It still acts up once in a while. If I tweak it the wrong way, it will start hurting."

Martin and the Blue Devils don't get a lot of time to celebrate their victory. They'll head Dec. 29 to the Lowell Duals and wrestle the top-ranked team in Division 1.

They'll also spend the rest of the season with a target on their backs.

"I don't think it will be any different," Martin said. "We just have to go out there and win."

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