Pomona claims third team 5A wrestling title in four years

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 2/26/19

DENVER — It didn’t take Pomona long to regain the top perch in Class 5A wrestling. “I wanted to grab five or six to be honest with you,” Pomona coach Sam Federico said last Saturday night …

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Pomona claims third team 5A wrestling title in four years

Posted

DENVER — It didn’t take Pomona long to regain the top perch in Class 5A wrestling.

“I wanted to grab five or six to be honest with you,” Pomona coach Sam Federico said last Saturday night after the Panthers won three individual state titles along with the team title. “We wrestled good. We’ve had a lot of injuries and they kind of came through.”

A year after Grand Junction prevented Pomona from a team championship three-peat, the Panthers dominated 5A during the three-day state tournament at Pepsi Center.

The drama of the Panthers winning their sixth team state title since 2000 was decided even before the title bouts took to the mats Feb. 23 at Pepsi Center. Pomona racked up 166.5 team points. Ponderosa finished second with 103.5 points.

“When you have a room with that many elite athletes we lean on each other. It’s a brotherhood,” Pomona senior Justin Pacheco said after winning the 132-pound title with a 1-0 win over Castle View sophomore Randy Myers. “I’ll give them all the support then need when I graduate and move on with my life. They are going to be a powerhouse for a long time.”

Pacheco ended his stellar career as a two-time individual state champion. The senior won the 113 title as a sophomore after placing sixth at state as a freshman. Pacheco lost a heartbreaker in the 120 state final a year ago.

He plans to wrestle at the Air Force Academy, but will have to have knee surgery before heading to Colorado Springs.

Pacheco said he has been wrestling with a torn meniscus and partial tear in his MCL in his left knee for the past month. He was thinking about not competing at regionals, but decided to battle through the pain.

“I needed to finish my senior year out. I was going to make it through somehow,” Pacheco said. “I’ll take a 1-0 win. It’s still a state title.”

Pomona’s depth across the board showed in the finals with all four finalists — freshman Daniel Cardenas (120 pounds), junior Wyatt Yapoujian (126), sophomore Franklin Cruz (182) and Pacheco — spanning on four grade levels.

Cardenas and Cruz won state titles, while Yapoujian had to settle for runner-up.

“We are doing well and where we need to be,” Federico said of the state of Pomona wrestling. “We just need to win some more matches. You always feel like that. You want to win more matches.”

Nine Pomona wrestlers headed to the podium. Elijah Olguin (106) and Theorius Robison (145) placed third. Gage Bernall (152) took fourth. Jacob Judd (113) and Roman Cruz (160) placed sixth.

Robison was the surprise of not reaching a fourth straight final. The two-sport athlete was trying to become Pomona’s first four-time individual state champion, but an overtime loss in the semifinals Friday night ended that dream.

“There was good in the four years and there was bad,” said Robison, who ended his prep career with a 126-8 record. “I don’t really put losing in my head. I was taking it by winning each match and sometime you lose. Everyone loses.”

Injuries hampered his senior campaigns on the football field and wrestling mat, but Robison didn’t make that an excuse.

“Injuries are part of sports. You have to go through them,” Robison said. “If I’m on the mat I have to do what I need to do to win.”

Robison leaves Pomona being apart of three team title to go along with his three individual crowns.

“I’m very proud of the way our team preformed,” said Robison, who will attend the University of Northern Colorado in the fall where he plans on playing football and wrestling. “We did a lot a big things and had a lot of young guys show that they are going to be a problem for opponents in the future.”

Arvada West and Ralston Valley each had one wrestler place down at the 5A state tournament. A-West junior Elijah Olson took third at 195 pounds. Ralston Valley senior Colton Frost-Bryant placed sixth at 145 pounds.

Dennis Pleuss is a communications specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletic and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.

 

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