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!