Cornell wrestler Josh Martin loves to dominate

Top-ranked senior rolls to Matman title

Cornell's Josh Martin wrestles Coe's Levi Azinger in the 141-pound match of a February 2017 dual at Eby Fieldhouse in Cedar Rapids. Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Cornell's Josh Martin wrestles Coe's Levi Azinger in the 141-pound match of a February 2017 dual at Eby Fieldhouse in Cedar Rapids. Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

MOUNT VERNON — Dale Chanlier of Augustana College was surveying the 141-pound bracket at Cornell’s Matman Invitational wrestling tournament Saturday afternoon.

“He’s an absolute horse,” he said, looking at the top of the chart.

“He” is Cornell senior Josh Martin, who was anointed the top-ranked wrestler at 141 in NCAA III earlier this week.

Martin dominated Augsburg’s seventh-ranked David Flynn by major decision, 13-4, in the finals of the 40th edition of the Matman, extending his winning streak to 12 matches.

He started the tournament with a 29-second pin of Chanlier, decked Coe’s Nick Elias in 1:05 in the quarterfinals and handled Loras’ Clint Lembeck, 6-3, in the semifinals.

The Lombard, Ill., native has 23 wins this year, against just two losses, and has scored bonus points in 14 of those victories, including a team-best eight pins.

Horse, indeed.

“He’s always looking for blood,” Cornell assistant coach Brent Hamm said. “He’s trying to get the pin from every position.”

An NCAA qualifier as a sophomore, Martin’ senior season was in doubt after tearing an ACL last year. The knee was surgically repaired and he spent the summer focused on rehabilitation.


He admitted he wondered if he’d get back to where he was — or if he’d get back on the mat at all.

“I didn’t end up wrestling until the season actually started,” he said.

Now he’s No. 1 — right where he said he belongs.

“It’s just someone getting the rankings right,” he said. “I thought I’ve been No. 1 for the past two years.”

But he knows it’s just a ranking for now, not a gold medal.

“I don’t think it really matters,” Martin said of the ranking putting a target on his back. “It’s still the same wrestling match it’s always been.”

That’s just what Hamm likes to hear.

“It doesn’t make him the national champ,” Hamm said.

So what will? The last Cornell wrestler ranked No. 1 was Alex Coolidge in 2014. He won an NCAA title.

“He’s doing everything the right way right now,” Hamm said. “He needs to keep working hard, keep that edge.”

That doesn’t seem to be an issue. Martin isn’t taking anything for granted, especially after going 0-2 at the NCAA tournament as a sophomore, battling to make weight and recovering from the knee injury.

“There’s been a lot of downs to the sport,” he said. “It’s if you can come back from that, keep battling hard. Those guys that do that are the ones that, I think, end up on top.”

He not only loves to win, he loves to dominate.

“You don’t go in there to be nice,” Martin said. “You go in there to brawl, to fight basically.”


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Top-ranked Augsburg won the Matman team title with 133 points, 26 1/2 ahead of Wisconsin-Platteville. Cornell was fourth.

Cornell’s Tyler Ortmann won the heavyweight title by medical forfeit.

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