ARVADA — Pomona’s domination on the wrestling mats doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.
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The Panthers have captured four straight Class 5A team state titles and six team championships over the past seven years. Saturday at the 2023 Arvada West Wrestling Invite was another example of what the present and future holds for Pomona.
With only half of the Panthers starting line-up — due to match limits with Pomona’s out-of-state tournaments and the upcoming Top of the Rockies 2-day tournament this week — Pomona racked up 201 team points to cruise to the team title. Thompson Valley finished a distance second with 165.5 points.
“I’m happy with how some of the younger guys performed,” Pomona coach Sam Federico said. “A lot of our guys have six or seven losses, but they are loses to some of the best wrestlers in the country.”
Pomona senior Jose Rosales (215 pounds), along with three freshman — Kalob Ybarra (144 pounds), Emmitt Munson (157 pounds) and Maddux Najera (175 pounds) — captured four individual titles for the Panthers at the A-West Invite.
“They are tough,” Rosales said of the freshman class. “There are a lot of hard workers and they are good at wrestling. They go out there and get after it. I think we are ready to go and get another state title.”
Ybarra won his title in a rivalry match against A-West sophomore Auston Eudaly. Ybarra was ranked No. 4 and Eudaly No. 3 in the 144-pound individual On the Mat rankings coming into the match, but Ybarra took the 6-2 decision.
Munson and Najera were both impressive in their title bouts. Munson took a 15-0 technical fall over Grandview sophomore Charlie Herting to win the 157-pound title. Najera had a second-period pin against Montrose senior Micah Simpson in the 175-pound title bout.
“I do feel like this team at every weight if we wrestle really good we could place at every single weight,” Federico said. “We’ve never done that. A lot of them are freshmen and when we go downtown (Ball Arena) you never know what is going to happen.”
Rosales finished off Saturday night with a 10-1 major decision over Montrose senior Raul Rascon. After a first-round bye, Rosales had a pair of pins to reach the finals.
Rosales had been Pomona’s heavyweight since his freshman year, but will wrestle at 215 in his final season.
“I’ve pushed him up three years in a row. I’m not going to do it again,” Federico said of Rosales at 215 this year. “In the past he was the bigger of the guys. He was gracious enough to do it. He did it for the team. He knew we were better with him there.”
Currently, Rosales is No. 1 in the 5A 215-pound ranking by On the Mat.
“I’m pretty happy being at 215. I felt really small at heavyweight,” said Rosales, who placed third at heavyweight last year and 5th as a sophomore. “I was weighing in at 220 last year and I wrestled guys who were at 285.”
Rosales not only has his sights set on a sixth straight team title, but his first individual championship.
“It would mean the most,” Rosales said of him hopefully capturing his first individual title. “I’ve been working hard for three years. I feel like this is the year I can go out there and finally take it.”
Lincoln Gregerson is also looking for his first wrestling title, but he also would become Ralston Valley’s first state wrestling champion in the school’s history. The junior is currently ranked No. 2 at 126 pounds in 5A.
“I try not to think about it too much,” Gregerson said of having the chance to make history.
Gregerson reached the 113-pound title match last year at Ball Arena, but lost 13-7 to Prairie View’s Ane’e Vigil.
“All summer I kind of forgot about it. I tried to get over it,” Gregerson said of the state title bout lost. “Now getting close to the same time of year, it is definitely extra motivation to get to the top.”
Gregerson cruised to the 126-pound title at the A-West Invite. He had a pin, a major decision and a pair of technical falls on his way to improving to a 21-2 record on the season.
“It’s our first big tournament back from Winter Break,” Gregerson said. “I just wanted to get some work in. Next week is the big week.”
Gregerson is headed to the Top of the Rockies Tournament on Friday and Saturday at Centaurus High School. Pomona will also be heading to the Top of the Rockies this week.
“Next weekend will be a good tell,” Federico said of the Top of the Rockies coming up. “I think everyone will have their full teams.”
Dennis Pleuss is the sports information director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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