University High student excels at wrestling, academics

FRESNO, Calif.

Like most teenagers, Fresno's Richard Martinez III likes to keep busy. But unlike most teenagers, he excels at practically everything he sets his mind to.

"Keep me challenged so that I'm never slacked off. Otherwise look at history: when people begin to slack then people don't begin do as well as they could and they don't achieve as much as they could," said University High School junior Richard Martinez.

He wrestles for University High School even though the school has no athletic program -- training during the week at Bullard High School.

This past summer the 15-year-old won the 135 pound Greco Roman National Championship in Fargo, North Dakota.

"He won it, and like I said I can't lie it was -- I haven't felt that good about something in a long time," said Richard Martinez Jr., Richard's father.

"He helps all of our guys just with his ability and his technical dominance. He brings a lot to our room to help our kids out as well," said Bullard wrestling Coach Gary Quintana.

But athletics are only part of the package with Martinez. He is the only known high school student in the country to win national championships both in wrestling and academic decathlon with University High School.

"At heart that's what I am: a big nerd. The only thing that's different is that I get to strap on my shoes and go step out on the mat once in a while," said Martinez.

As an honor roll student, Martinez has lofty goals for college. "The schools I want to study at are Oxford, the University of Bologna, and then either Harvard or Yale."

With a love for linguistics, and a hidden singing talent he's got no fear of showcasing, his parents are proud of their son's well rounded persona -- and offer one last piece of parenting advice. "Don't limit your child to any one thing. Give them options. Let them try a lot of different things. And don't put a cap on how good they can be. Just let them go. Just let them go."

One thing is for sure, Richard Martinez is off with unlimited potential and a work ethic to match.

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