Us vs. All Y’all: Demon wrestlers begin preparations for Tulsa, Fargo
By Tyler Anderson
Sports Editor, Moore County News-Press (Dumas)
The 2017-2018 wrestling season was a thrill ride for incoming senior wrestlers Axel Hernandez, Jesse Martinez and Carlos Sanchez.
Together, they were instrumental in bringing home the second of the back-to-back championships that the Dumas varsity wrestling team has acquired. Together, they finished no lower than third place at the UIL State Wrestling Championships, which were held in late February at the Berry Center in Cypress.
Going into the summer tournament season, the thrill ride has continued to run – full steam ahead.
Keeping up the mantra of “summer tournaments forge winter champions,” the Demon wrestling trio is aiming toward bigger events and brighter lights.
After all, the process of wrestling at the USA Wrestling Marine Corps Greco-Roman and Freestyle National Championships has worked wonders for Sanchez.
Last season, Carlos represented Dumas at the FargoDome in Fargo, North Dakota, and came away with the title of being Moore County’s first “Double All-American wrestler.”
This time around, Carlos won’t be alone. This time around, he’s got Jesse and Axel grinding alongside him in the weight room and the wrestling room.
Along with going to the 2018 edition of the USA Wrestling Marine Corps Greco-Roman and Freestyle National Championships, which is scheduled from July 12 to July 20 at the Fargo Dome in Fargo, the three Demons wrestlers will carry the Lone Star State’s banner at the Junior National Duals.
The 2018 National Junior Freestyle & Greco-Roman Duals which will be held on June 19 through June 23 at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The three wrestlers are working away, with the intention of making noise in the Oil Capital of the World and in Roughrider Country.
To punch his ticket to Oklahoma and North Dakota, Jesse won first place in the 113 lbs. weight class of Boys Junior division at the USA Wrestling Texas Freestyle State Championships on May 7 at The Colony. A day prior, at the USA Wrestling Texas Greco-Roman State Championships, Jesse came away with a second place finish in the 113 lbs. weight class of the Boys Junior division.
Jesse represented the Maverick Elite youth wrestling club at the two tournaments.
“I’m feeling pretty good about it,” Jesse said of earning the trip to Tulsa and North Dakota. “I’m excited, and I’m a little nervous. But that’s a good thing, and it’s good that all three of us are going together. It’s great, we get to represent our high school and get to represent our state. We’re just going to go out there, wrestle and have a good time.”
Displaying the personification of “iron sharpening iron,” Axel won the 113 lbs. weight class of the Greco-Roman tournament’s Boys Junior division and claimed second place in the Freestyle side of the two-day event.
At the tournament, both wrestlers battled each other in their brackets’ respective championships and having a blast while they were at it.
Axel was also looking forward to the big opportunities before him.
“I’m really excited about this, especially since Jesse and I share the same weight class,” Axel said. “We’ve always been scrapping in the wrestling room, and I’m just excited to go out there and compete with my teammate.”
For Carlos, this year’s trip has the bonus of having teammates along for the trip.
“It’ll be nice, because I won’t be the only guy from Dumas, Texas, to go back to Fargo,” Carlos said. “They have been in the work, have shown what a good work ethic is and put everything they had at the qualifying tournaments. I’m proud for them, and I’m excited for them. But I have to be proud of myself too, because from here, it only gets better.”
At last year’s National Championships, Carlos – also known as “Nacho Libre” for his trademark hairstyle and mustache – battled an array to tough opponents to earn eighth place in the Freestyle tournament and eighth place in the Greco-Roman tournament.
Stemming from the pair of eighth place finishes and the distinction of a double All-American, Carlos had blossomed into the Demons’ anchor at the heavyweight positions. Carlos converted his Fargo experience into an upward trajectory during the 2017-2018 winter season, which led the mustached wonder to a 47-4 record and a state championship appearance.
Having underwent a transformation following the National Championships, Carlos predicted that Axel and Jesse will undergo their own renaissance going into next season.
“I believe that Jesse and Axel are going to transform completely after Fargo,” Carlos said. “At first, I thought that Fargo was it and that it was going to change my life, whether I get better or not. When I went there, I wrestled nobody but great guys. They had great attitude and great effort. There are some guys who were better than I was, but I fought it out and was able to beat them.”
“It’s going to help Jesse and Axel get better, and I believe that it’ll help us win state titles and bring home another team championship next year,” Carlos added.
However, the road to Fargo didn’t begin at The Colony. Instead, all three wrestlers got their summer slate underway and competed at the Rebel Freestyle Tournament on April 28 at Tascosa High School in Amarillo.
“First, we got our feet wet at Tascosa,” Jesse said of the road leading up to the Tulsa and Fargo tournaments. “It was to just knock the rust off and get things going again. Then, we competed at state and did pretty well. Axel and I battled it out, as he beat me in Greco and I beat him in Freestyle. Either way, it worked out well for all three of us.”
“Right now, we’re going to train and get ourselves prepared,” Jesse continued. “We’ve been working on getting better every day, until the time is right.”
Axel also provided his take on what all three wrestlers are working on to gear up for Tulsa and Fargo.
“At this point, I feel like we’re just getting started,” Axel said. “Right now, we’re working on our throws, with the intention of putting up points on other guys. I feel like we’re making big improvements, with the help of our coaching staff. They support us, and push us every day.”
To help pay for the trip, the Demon trio had a great idea in mind for a fundraiser: taquito plates. The fundraiser was held on May 18, at the parking lot next to Allsups near Dumas High School.
Irma Sanchez – Carlos’ mom – made the taquito dishes.
The fundraiser to help out the Demon wrestlers is still ongoing. To donate toward helping the Demon wrestlers pay for their expenses in Tulsa and Fargo, please contact any one of the Demon wrestlers (Axel Hernandez, Jesse Martinez and Carlos Sanchez), Oscar Martinez at 717-8524 or message the Dumas Demon Wrestling Facebook page.