Arlington Martin Ends Allen’s Dominance with a Thrilling Victory at the 2024 UIL Boys State Championship

In the landscape of 2010, the world saw the advent of “The Walking Dead,” the rise of Justin Bieber, the release of “Toy Story 3,” and the introduction of the iPad, setting the stage for a decade of innovation and entertainment. Amidst these cultural milestones, the Allen Eagles boys wrestling program began its dominance in Texas high school wrestling, securing 14 consecutive state team championships under the esteemed leadership of Head Coach Jerry Best. Best’s tenure at Allen has not just about winning; it was about fostering a culture of excellence, development, and tradition that transcended the sport.

Fast forward to 2024, the narrative took a dramatic turn at the UIL Boys State Championship in Arlington, where the Arlington Martin Warriors, under Coach Patrick Dunn and led by the phenomenal Isaak Arevalo, ended Allen’s storied winning streak. The championship was decided by a razor-thin margin of 5.5 points, with Martin scoring 190.5 to Allen’s 185, encapsulating the tournament’s intensity and the fierce competition that had fans riveted.

Arlington Martin’s Head Coach Patrick Dunn says, “It’s good. I mean, I love winning. I love that the kids stepped up and the kids wrestled and started. I mean, I’m just part of the kids. I mean, scores are going to be scorers. And I don’t think it comes down to if these guys believe in this house has done the right thing and we’ve worked hard and love each other.”

Arlington Martin’s victory was a testament to teamwork and individual brilliance, with nine medalists contributing to their score, including four state champions. Isaak Arevalo, a junior, was at the forefront, securing his third consecutive state championship and amassing 29 points through a series of dominant performances. Arevalo’s journey, marked by dedication and faith, became a source of inspiration. “First, I just thank God, you know, God above all. God get all the glory no matter what. Dverything I do. I do it for him. He’s got everyone over everything. I always give the glory to God,” Arevalo reflected.

6A-120lb State Championship Match Isaak Arevalo (Arlington Martin) 32-2, Jr. over Jonah Arellano (Austin Lake Travis) 23-7, So. (MD 16-3)

Being a 3x champ is quite an accomplishment. Arevalo talked post-match and says, “But like you’re saying, you know, it feels good. You know, the first year of being here, it’s kind of nerve-wracking, the stage, everything. The second year, you know, I felt like I was at home, like I was supposed to be. In the third, I just kept going on and on.”

Pressure on being a 3xer? “I started feeling the pressure more and more, but last year I felt like it was definitely tougher…I heard a couple of people say that I wasn’t going to win last year because of so-and-so, you know, but here I am, a champion.” You can now add team champion to Arevalo’s credentials.

On a quest to become a 4x Texas state wrestling champion, Arevalo’s college plans are still undecided. “That’s the plan. You know, wrestling in college…But, right now, I just keep my options open. Anything is welcome. My email is always open in case anybody wants to continue to email or anything. So, my options are always open.”

Remember the part when I mentioned the fan excitement watching the team race go back and forth? Well, this head-to-head match at 144lbs finals was one to watch. Going into the finals, Allen had a 6.5 point lead over Martin. With Arevalo taking care of business, Martin needed the win at 144, especially when it was Martin vs. Allen.

The climax of the tournament was the head-to-head match at 144lbs between Nicholas Zamora of Martin and Javin Jackson-Bey of Allen, a battle that was crucial for the team title. Zamora, overcoming a significant point deficit, emerged victorious, a win he described with a blend of humility and pride: “I let it happen…it felt like a normal win, a state champ.” This match epitomized the spirit of the championship—every point, every match mattered in the quest for glory.

6A-144lb State Championship Match Nicholas Zamora (Arlington Martin) 27-5, Jr. over Javin Jackson-Bey (Allen) 37-3, Jr. (Dec 12-10)

The Warriors’ collective effort and individual stories of resilience, such as Grayson Carpenter’s comeback from a torn ACL, painted a portrait of a team united by more than just the pursuit of victory. “Yeah, you know, it just takes willpower for all to push through those matches…Character is a little bit of it, but willpower is like 90% of it,” Carpenter stated, encapsulating the mental and physical fortitude required to excel at this level.

6A-165lb State Championship Match Grayson Carpenter (Arlington Martin) 32-3, Jr. over Matteo Nikolov (Katy Tompkins) 49-4, Sr. (Dec 3-0)

Ibraheem Ahmed, facing an undefeated wrestler in the finals, found motivation in his teammates’ victories, saying, “100%. Seeing my teammates go out there perform. I knew I had no other choice but to perform.” His win, along with those of his teammates, underscored the depth and talent within the Arlington Martin squad.

Ahmed adds, “It felt amazing. Watching Isaak, you know, I trust in Isaak to win it. And then my boy Nick went out there and beat the Allen boy after being down by six. It was just amazing.”

6A-175lb State Championship Match Ibraheem Ahmed (Arlington Martin) 31-5, Sr. over Rocco Grazier (Houston Bellaire) 32-1, Jr. (UTB 3-2)

The 2024 UIL Boys State Championship will be remembered not just for the end of Allen’s reign, but for the emergence of a new powerhouse in Texas wrestling. Arlington Martin’s triumph is a celebration of athletic excellence, team spirit, and the indomitable will to succeed against the odds.

A total team effort by Arlington Martin. Let’s check out their point scorers:

106: Kyntrell Ellis, 7pts
120: Isaak Arevalo, 29pts, 1st place
132: Ezequiel Valadez, 16pts, 4th place
138: Landon Collins, 17pts, 4th place
144: Nicholas Zamora, 26pts, 1st place
150: Robbie Rocha, 7pts, 6th place
157: Finn Shepard, 20.5pts, 3rd place
165: Grayson Carpenter, 25pts, 1st place
175: Ibraheem Ahmed, 22pts, 1st place
190: Ryan Rainey, 17pts, 3rd place
215: Lazaro Rodriguez, 5pts

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Written by TexasWrestling

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