On paper, it’s a two-team race for this winter’s Class 5A state wrestling championship, as two-time defending champion Pomona and ultra-tough Grand Junction are rich with championship-caliber grapplers.
The Panthers, winners of five titles since the turn of the century, have a roster overloaded with talent.
“With having a lot of good kids in the room, we’ve got to find spots for them,” Pomona coach Sam Frederico said. “Right now, I’ve got two guys both weighing 138 pounds, and we’re log-jammed between 130 and 150 — we’ve got 25 guys in those weight classes. We have to spread them out a bit in order to be successful as a team.”
Pomona is headlined by defending champions in junior Justin Pacheco (113), junior Colton Yapoujian (138/132) and junior Theorius Robison (138/132), with Robison searching for his third straight title.
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Plus, the state experience provided by sophomore Wyatt Yapoujian (106) and senior Doug Mills (220) will compliment the addition of two highly touted freshmen, Elias Gonzales (113) and Frank Cruz (160).
Grand Junction may be the only team in 5A that can compete with that roster from top to bottom.
The Tigers return eight state qualifiers, including two-time champion senior Josiah Rider (152), as well as 2017 runner-ups in sophomore Dawson Collins (113) and senior Dylan Martinez (145).
“We have a lot of tradition and a lot of tough kids, but the front range teams don’t see us a whole lot,” Grand Junction coach Cole Allison said. “So we can kind of sneak up on people, too — we’ve got five guys who are a known commodity, but we do have about four others who are flying under the radar, including a couple freshmen who are very good but just need some time to prove it.”
Frederico and Allison, though at the helm of the two top-ranked …read more
Source:: The Denver Post