Ponderosa had four individual state champions at the Class 5A state wrestling championships but the Mustangs once again came up short in the team race.
Pomona won its fifth straight team championship with a record 278.5 points on Feb. 18 at Ball Arena while Ponderosa was the runner-up with 190 points. The Mustangs have finished second four times in the past five seasons.
Ponderosa’s state champions were freshman Thomas Verrette, who whipped Mark Cardenas of Pomona 10-1 to captured the 126-pound individual title, and junior Jacob Myers won his second consecutive state title with a pin in 35 seconds during the 132-pound title match.
Senior Brandon Cannon, who is bound for Ohio State, had two broken fingers but outlasted Jakob Romero of Pomona, 1-0, to earn a well-deserved 138-pound championship. Tyler Eise took a 16-1 technical fall decision over Castle View’s Ian Crabtree to capture the 175-pound state title.
Other Pondo wrestlers on the podium were 113-pounder Jaylen Burge and DJ Wince at 120 pounds, who were both second. Senior Peyton Harris, a 150-pound contestant, finished fourth and 190-pounder Westin Hoffschneider was third.
“It seems like every year I come here, Pomona just comes out harder and harder every time,” said Myers. “Their kids just seem to get it done. We just we fall short sometimes. Pomona has a great lineup and they will continue to have a great lineup.
“They are talking about all the younger kids they have. It really comes down to what our young kids can do.”
Pondo’s four individual state champions were highlighted by Cannon’s win after his tough battle to even be wrestling again.
I was happy with the way a lot of the guys on the team wrestled,” said Mustangs coach Jarion Beets. “We snagged a lot of state titles. It was a great win for Brandon Cannon. We’ve been in a lot of different tournaments but this was the one we really wanted. This is the one he really needed to cap off his high school career.”
Cannon had an aneorysmal benign bone cyst removed and then had a kidney infection which forced him out of action during his sophomore and part of his junior seasons, but he notched a satisfying win in the 138-pound championship finale and celebrated by heading to the emergency room to take care of his fingers.
Myers donned Pokemon head gear again after his second straight title victory.
“I wanted to be aggressive and I was in the match,” he said. “It was more expected this season. I wore this head gear last year and it is Pikachu from Pokemon. My little sister had it and she decided when I won a state title I had to wear it. So that’s what it was last year, this year and next year.”
Other wrestlers from south metro schools that did well included Rock Canyon senior Sammy Mobly, who was the runner-up at 157 pounds.
Chaparral’s Delcan Smith was fourth at 113 pounds and teammate Noah Kubala was a fifth-place finisher at 126 pounds.
Crabtree was second at 175 pounds. ThunderRidge’s Nic Vicic was third at 138 pounds and Legend’s Juan Diaz was sixth at 144 pounds. Jake Howell of Cherry Creek was third at 215 pounds and Legend’s Nathan Sandy was fourth. Valor Christian’s Winston McBride finished fourth in the 285-pound bracket.
In the Class 5A girls competition, Douglas County’s Jylian Cabral was fifth at 115 pounds and the Huskies’ Elizabeth Sandy was fourth at 190 pounds.