Off Season- No Such Thing

Register Now for the 2015 Freestyle season (age 10 and up and/or by coaches invite). Cost is $175.00 for high schoolers and any 8th graders participating in weight training and $125.00 for Junior wrestlers, this does not include weight training-March 30th thru June 18th. Tuesdays and Thursday at 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM. Any Junior Wrestlers that sign up for private lessons will get $25.00 off the freestyle season! If interested in private lessons, email coach Tito at

Champions are great EVERYDAY, not just once a week. As of this post, we have 255 days and 4 hours to be great until the 2015-2016 season. Put in the time, put in the work. No one has ever won a state championship and looked back on all their hard work and sacrifice with regret.

A few important dates to keep in mind for BOTH high school and junior wrestling families.

March 4th- High School Post season banquet- The Club @ Pradera
March 5th- High School Post season Parent/Wrestler/Coach meeting at Ponderosa
March 21st- Rocky Mountain Nationals
March 30th- Weight room and freestyle wrestling begins. Weight room at 3:15pm and Freestyle wrestling at 6pm. Continues until team camp. Junior wrestlers are encouraged to attend (10 years old and up and/or by coaches invite).
May 9th- CUSAW Freestyle duals. Location TBD
June 13th and 14th- Paonia Duals, Paonia High School
June 20th thru 26th- Team Camp – University of Missouri
July 6th thru 10th – Junior Team Camp University of Northern Colorado
July 18th and 19th- Legend Duals

21st Consecutive League Title


How the team looked 22 years ago. Clockwise L-R: Unknown, Kent Eckhardt, Boy-unknown, Jason Turner, Matt Prince, James Owens, Rob Clanton, Josh Lawyer, Unknown/Bill Mortimore?, Corey McNellis

Mustangs handle Chaparral 48-19, sealing their 21st CONSECUTIVE league title! JV won 53-12.

I think I would have had something more interesting to say if Ponderosa had not won the league championship last night, for the 21st straight year, than I do after you did win it. I said more interesting, not happier. I wouldn’t be happy at all.

21st consecutive league championship. 22 years since the last time Ponderosa lost a league dual. Congratulations! Great Job! Way to keep the streak going!

I have to be honest and say that at the beginning of this season, I was really wondering if this was the year that we were not going to win a league title. On paper there were a lot of names I didn’t know and it seemed like Ponderosa was a young team without many state placers coming back, and maybe some other teams were loaded with seniors and were hungry and sick of us winning. I felt confident that the program’s best days still lay ahead, but this might be a tough year to swallow. I was wrong. Tradition never graduates, and nobody has a tradition like Ponderosa Wrestling. Thank you for reminding me.

If you had not succeeded in defending the league title for the 20th time, I would have listed some names. I would have started with a name you’ve never heard before: Jeremy Angerman, and I would have ended with a name that I don’t know, but I’ll call “wrestler X”. Those two people would have been bookends to decades of league dominance.

A kid named Jeremy Angerman single handedly stole the last league dual Ponderosa ever lost, way back in early 1994. He stole it for Douglas County by winning a wild back and forth match with a young Matt Prince of Ponderosa at 189 lbs. As I recall that single match let DC sneak out of Parker with a win. Matt Prince (who?) went on to do great things for Ponderosa.

If Chaparral or anyone else had managed to win a league dual against you this year, surely we could have pinpointed a “wrestler x”. A match we should have won, but the guy stepped up and pulled one off and ended the streak. I don’t think “wrestler x” is going to show up for a long while now.

An interesting bit of trivia is that John Rodgers was a member of last team to beat Ponderosa in a league dual 22 years ago (Douglas County), and also a member of the first Ponderosa team which started the streak 21 years ago.

If Ponderosa had lost a league dual this season, I would have named two more names as an inspiration to look to the future and all the great things that are coming your way. Both times Ponderosa has been poised to go to the top, you can point to a single catalyst. One guy steps forward and makes all of his teammates realize that winning an individual state championship isn’t something that’s out of reach, in fact it is right there for you to take yourself. And when that guy shows up, he starts a snowball rolling downhill and sets off an avalanche. Chris Mcnellis was that guy in 1994. Andy Etzen was that guy in 2001. Who’s it going to be in 2015?

I can see that Ponderosa is poised to go all the way to the top again. One day someone who is on this team right now will be thought of in the same way as McNellis and Etzen. Granted that you guys just had a state champion last year, something that McNellis and Etzen didn’t have immediately proceeding them. But I have a strong feeling that Dylan Gabel was the tail end of the Etzen epoch, and in the future the 2015 season will be remembered as the start of something new.

The league streak is a very impressive ongoing streak, but we’ve got a better one if you ask me. For 23 consecutive years we’ve had an individual wrestler place in the top 3 at the state tournament. And for someone who grew up in the Ponderosa program within the last 20 years, it probably doesn’t sound that amazing, because you’re used to it. But believe me, in 99% of other schools, even having a single guy in the top 3 in any year makes their season worth celebrating. That guy is thought of as impossibly good. For Ponderosa it is the bare minimum 23 years running. That is amazing, and unparalleled in Colorado wrestling.

Obviously we need to keep that streak going this year too, and let’s send a message and do it many times over this year just to be safe.

Best of luck at Regionals and State!

Upsetting Weekend for Mustangs!

Mustang wrestlers made Ponderosa history this weekend at the Colt Classic Invitational at Pueblo South. For the first time, Ponderosa wrestlers upset two number-one-ranked wrestlers in a single tournament. It is safe to assume that in the last 20 years, Ponderosa has upset a #1 wrestler 8-10 times (keep in mind the program’s long and storied history), but never before have they done it twice in the same tournament. Hunter Matney, 106lbs., dec. Andrew Lucero of Pueblo East 4-3 in the finals. Tanner Olson, 170lbs., dec. Austin Zuniga of Pueblo South 3-2. Both Mustangs secured early takedowns and controlled the remainder of the match. Keep an eye on the top of the podium come February; you’ll likely see these two young men.

That’s not all! Several other Mustangs had stellar performances including Tyler Turco, 152lbs., who upset #3 Jozef McLure of Adams City and #8 Zac Baker of CHeyenne Moutain on his road to a tournament title. Jayden Woodruff, 120lbs, pinned #4 Jaden Barela-Valdez of Swink in the finals to cap off an impressive tournament.

Rankings are a great way to gauge the quality of a wrestler. They are by no means a predictor of the outcome of a match. Some people hold rankings to be scripture and believe higher ranked-kids will not be beat. If that is the case, then why do they bother to wrestle the tournament? The true test of a great wrestler is that despite being an underdog, they find a way to win. Several Mustangs proved this weekend that they will be noticed, and they do damage. Throw those rankings out the window!