DENVER — Pomona’s wrestling machine steamrolled to its fifth straight Class 5A boys state team championship Feb. 19 at Ball Arena.
The Panthers broke their team-point record of 256.5 points set last season. It was Pomona’s 10th overall state wrestling team title and seventh over the past eight seasons.
“I thought we would,” Pomona coach Sam Federico said when asked if he thought the Panthers would have another record-breaking state tournament. “Our freshmen are really good and we have some great leadership with our seniors.”
Pomona racked up 278.5 points while sending a program record nine wrestlers — Zaidyn Quinonez (106), Derek Barrow (120), Mark Cardenas (126), Jakob Romero (138), Kalob Ybarra (144), Vincent Cabral (150), Dante Hutchings (165), Jose Rosales (215) and Adrian Arellano (285) — to the championship bouts.
Holly holds the record for most individual state champs in a single state tournament. The Wildcats had seven state champions back in 1972.
Pomona captured five individual championships. Freshmen Quinonez, Barrow and Ybarra, along with seniors Cabral and Rosales all won individual state titles.
“It is a blessing to be apart of this team,” Cabral said. “When I came to Pomona I knew I had to work hard just to make the line-up, let alone win a state title. It is amazing to have an environment with everyone around you to have the same mindset.”
Cabral placed 6th as a freshman, could crack the varsity line-up and wrestled JV as a sophomore and placed third last year.
“It feels amazing. I’ve worked for it since I was a little kid,” Cabral said after winning the 150-pound title. “I would come watch the (state) tournament and I could just image myself getting my hand raised. Now it is finally here and it feels amazing.”
Pomona had a good mix of upperclassmen and youngsters in the finals. The Panthers had four seniors, three freshmen, along with one junior and one sophomore. Pomona placed all 13 wrestlers it qualified for the state tournament with a pair of third places, along with a fourth and sixth place finisher during the consolation matches that finished up in the afternoon at Ball Arena.
“We knew our freshman class was a strong class coming in,” Barrows said of the seven freshmen who made varsity this year. “We knew if we would win our matches we would win the state title easy.”
There is already a mindset that Quinonez, Barrow and Ybarra have a chance to join the exclusive 4-timer club three years from now.
“We talk about it for sure,” Barrows said of the opportunity to become a 4-time state champion and finish off as a senior in three years with Pomona having won 8 straight team titles. “It is defintely good to just focus on next year. We are looking for three 4-timers our senior year.”
Rosales, who had wrestled up to heavyweight his first three years, captured the last individual title of the night for Pomona and the first for his career.
“It feels great. I feel like a champion,” Rosales said. “I wanted to go out, wrestle as hard as I can and get the business done.”
Chatfield continues to dominate girls tournament
Chatfield’s girls wrestling squad won its fifth straight team title — 2 pilot years and 3 CHSAA sanctioned seasons — in a tight race with Discovery Canyon and Pomona.
The Chargers finished with 133 points. Discovery Canyon took second with 128 and Pomona third with 116. Chatfield seniors Janessa George (110) and Taylor Miess (135) both picked up their first individual state titles of their prep careers.
George had the biggest win of the night upsetting perviously undefeated Loveland senior Morgan Johnson who was attempting to win her fourth individual state title. George pinned Johnson in the first period.
Freshman Ryen Hickey (140) locked up the team title for the Chargers with a second-period pin of Mead sophomore Ashley Booth.
Pomona grabbed a pair of individual titles with junior Persaeus Gomez finishing off a perfect 20-0 season with a victory at 120 pounds. Freshman Timberly Martinez capped off a 24-0 record with a major decision over Central of Grand Junction junior Mollie Dare. Pomona junior Desza Munson came up just short of winning an individual title. She lost to Discovery Canyon senior Jainda Garcia in the 145-pound championship.
Jefferson picks up another individual title
Jefferson sophomore Samuel Rosales won the Saints 10th individual state title in the program’s history Feb. 18 at Ball Arena.
After losing in his state championship bout last season, Rosales dominated Centauri junior Riley Valdez in the Class 3A 120-pound match. The sophomore took a 16-8 major decision.
“It felt great,” Rosales said. “I put a lot of hard work in. I went after it. I just wanted to make my family proud.”
Jefferson finished 18th in the team standings with 41.5 points, but Saints’ coach Oscar Fonseca is excited about how young his team is with plenty of returning wrestlers next season.
“We’ll have five returning state qualifier coming back next year with two state placers,” Fonseca said.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.