Earlier this week, Tim Yount with On The Mat released his preseason team rankings and at that time we simply listed the top 10 clubs in each classification. Now we have expanded information from Tim as he provides a team-by-team breakdown of each club inside the top 10. This list is for Classes 4A and 5A.
We also invite you to subscribe to Tim’s weekly newsletter on wrestling. He provides in-depth rankings of each weight division in each classification and routinely provides additional notes on the season. To sign up, simply contact him through email at Tim@onthematrankings.com.
In addition to the team notes below, Colorado Preps spoke with Tim Yount of On the Mat about the rankings in-depth. Below are his remarks on the 4A and 5A division and a separate audio report has a look at Classes 2A-3A. Please note the first seven minutes of each episode is identical as we pick up the classification updates from that point on.
1-Pomona. For the fifth year in a row, Pomona will start at the top of the rankings in big class. This team is loaded with some great kids as they see nine state placers return. They will be led by Daniel Cardenas, the 152 pounder ranked number one in the U.S. by some (Stanford commit) who will be pushing for his fourth state title this season. Others include state champions Elijah Olguin and Jakob Romero and two time state placers Jeremiah Steele, Jacob Judd, Josiah Parsons and Roman Cruz. I have six kids ranked first…and that is a record. This team will receive their first test right out of the chute when they travel to the Ironman in OH in week two.
2-Ponderosa. Ponderosa is probably the only team with the depth across all 14 weights to make a run at Pomona. They will be led by Brandon Cannon (google his come back story), a top five ranked kid in the U.S. at 120, who won the prestigious Preseason Nationals a few weeks ago. He will be joined by a throng of stars including state runners up in Murphy Menke (160) up from 132 and Jacob Bostleman, state runner-up from last season. World Cadet Team member Otto Black’s points will be critical as well and will compete at 113 pounds. They will also return great points from state placers and qualifiers from 2021. Newcomers will provide valuable points as they seek to topple Pomona from that top perch. New head coach Jarion Beets should be excited by how this young team will do this season.
3-Monarch. Monarch will be a team that sees a bevy of great kids returning as well. They will be led by high returning state placers Dillon Roman and Emilio Trujillo-Dean with help from Matthew Fasbender and Cole Carlucci, placers as well in 2021. They have four other kids with mat time over the years who will score and help thrust Monarch into a top five team finish. Coach Paddock, don’t be upset with me I have you so high to start the season!!
4-Chaparral. The Chaparral freight train is coming…and if you want to see a fast rising team sting some of those in their region in February, you just step back and count the numbers on two hands. This team is loaded and will push for state placers in six weights. They will be led by Geoffrey Freeman, Noah Kabala, and Kegan Swain but will get amazing support from Declan Strait, Chat Teters, Alijah Gabaldon and Chase Bell, all of whom come in with the pedigree needed to match the top five teams in the State. Note, this might be the best FR class in large class competing for podium placements. I love this team and am excited to watch them compete this season. Coach Joseph, you are building something great there!!
5-Adams City. When I saw the line up for the first time a few days ago, I told Coach Deaguero of Adams City I loved the look of this team. They are scrappy, they are fit and they will push you for six minutes every time they wrestle you. Led by multi-time state placer Levi Deaguero, expect great things from Tyson Moffit, Nicholas Vasquez, Jace Long, Seth Deaguero, Michael Ortiz and Daniel Long. This team will be another in this class that will have good kids top to bottom. Key for Adams City will be having their best regional ever as the way for them to get to this top ten team finish come February.
6-Poudre. You should NEVER count out Poudre as a top seven team. Coach Golyer just reloads every year with great talent and experience that meets the need to score at state. Led by two-time state placer Tony Garcia Lopez, they will add quality in five other weights including Ty Reeves, Billy Greenwood, Banks Norby, Nico Bekkedahl, Alex Lucas, Saje Camirand and Carlos Villa. If they get points from others, consider this a top six team in the state.
7-Brighton. Brighton, under new leadership – Eric Heinz and James Garcia, will support one of the nation’s top big guns in Dylan Bravopacker. Check out his bio – impressive to say the least. This team is deep across nearly the entire 14 weights. I love the experience of Josiah Gallegos, Salmomon Smouse and the Rock brothers who will be really tough this season. The only thing holding this team back might be themselves and how they compete in a tough region in February.
8-Pine Creek. I live not too far from this school and know from having spoken to their coach – Pine Creek’s Coach Gabel…this team has the ability to surprise many in the state. Watch for some super freshmen to make their mark this year – Griffin Rial – one of the nation’s top kids, and Eli Banks. The leader by place will be Misha Byers, a surprise placer at state last year and several other state qualifiers. They might hide in the weeds some early but come late…and as they always do – expect three or fours kids to send some waves to the others that this team can win. They will share this team at the first duals that they host at the school on the 4th (called Battle of the Best with 21 teams and 8 duals wrestled over two days).
9-Grandview. Coach Budd always finds a way to land in the top team. This team will be deceptively good as they don’ thave any superstars but a lot of good kids who will be really good in duals and will have a good showing in every tourney they enter. Eight kids will start the season ranked. Expect great production from previous state qualifiers – Sean Arnett, Sonny Quintana, and Angelo Felise. I like this team to surprise many at regionals with a host of regional placers.
10- Regis. Here is a team that every year positions kids for a good solid stretch run for state but it has been a while since Regis has posted a top ten preseason team position. This is the year. There big hitters are slated to be super freshman Garrett Reece (126), Zion Taylor, Garrett Padgett, Zavier Carroll and Dirk Morley. If they place all five and move a few higher than their current ranking, they will clear the top ten with ease.
1-Pueblo East. This will be the tightest of the team races. You could essentially throw a dart at any of three teams. The small but important edge goes to Pueblo East based on some incoming freshmen who will make their mark on this team early and then will ride that momentum to regionals with a chance to qualify 10 kids for state. Led by state champs from 2020 and 2021, respectively, Weston Dalton and Xavier Freeman, also expect Sebastian Freeman to impact along with several other grizzled wrestlers including third place finisher LJ Herburger. We count five others with great potential to score and do so in double digits if the cards fall correctly. Coach Laughlin will handle this pressure JUST fine.
2-Pueblo County. Just off the edge of the top two will be Pueblo County. County will be led by Boden White, two time state placer and Bryce Garcia, a three time state placer along with young stars Zion Mares, Thomas Velasquez and Izaiah Padilla who highly ranked in their weight classes. Key for County to compete will be getting hot in February for that late run that they seem to do so often and well over the past several years. I like their chances if they can score big in their higher weights where density is often a concern. That will be key. Coach Soto will do a great job getting the younger teams ready to compete!
3-Falcon. Also posting a top five team projection is Falcon. Even with two big departures, this team can score big points from five kids led by high state placers, Landon Drury, Tyler Valdez (From 2020), Ayden Rix McElhinney, and Josiah Aldinger. Falcon will push all these teams at the top. Key for this team will be where others fill in for points. Will they have the depth? I believe they will based on who is in this lineup. Expect a return of Javani Majoor who had an amazing summer of wrestling. They will eclipse the 100 point mark which always positions teams for a possible top three finish. Coach Lovato is confident that team CAN win the title. I am not one to day otherwise.
4-Cheyenne Mountain. I have never witnessed a better state tournament other than Moffat County when they won their state title a few decades ago, as Cheyenne Mountain in 2021. Coach Seaney was the best coach in the state for pulling that one off. From day one, they had upsets (according to me only) in several weights and just kept moving kids through the brackets. They did this with one big transfer who was not there to score points. Again, following suit this past summer, another transfer out of state will be absent but this team will move forward in the same fashion as they did in 2021 – with a focus on the prize. Led by State Champion Nico Gagliardi at 195, they will see significant points from Raife Manjarrez, Nick Grizales, and Jesse Boley. Key for Cheyenne Mountain’s title hopes will be how the others with historical mat time fill in the gaps. Can they get some production from those kids? If so, call Cheyenne Mountain title town. If no, Pueblo East or someone else will snatch the title from the jaws of the Red Hawks.
5-Roosevelt. Also showing great promise will be Roosevelt. This happens every year where a great FB season is followed by an equally impressive wrestling season. Roosevelt finished their season this past weekend in football and supports a load of kids on the team. Once they get fit watch out, they will ignite the northern competition with big numbers. They will be led by Clayton Robinson at 152 but with incredible help from Super Soph Bronco Hartson, Juan Garcia (back from injury), Devin Kitzman and Brandon Perry. Add to this mix three transfers and one of the top FR in CO and you have the recipe for some scoring to happen. Coach Montoya has done an incredible job filling weights with great kids and is a testament to building up a once thriving program with great talent.
6-Loveland. Shining yet again and pining for a top five spot is Loveland. This team has show grown great improvement of the past few years under the leadership of head Coach Troy Lussenhop. Watch out for three returning medalists led by one of the nation’s toughest kids in Kobi Johnson at 120. If they fill weights where graduation was impacted, they could slide into a #3 or #2 position. Also, transfers from three schools might fill in some gaps alongside others with mat experience – named Moskalski, Stearns, Martinez and White.
7-Greeley Central. Greeley Central will be another team that will spend some time in our top ten. Coach Penfold is one person who sees great opportunities to return to a top ten team finish at state, due mainly to seven guys ranked in the top six in the preseason rankings.
8-Mesa Ridge. Mesa Ridge is led by new head coach Herbst, this team has four kids who will be game changers for this team and will truly lead them to a top ten finish. Frankie Gallegos at 113 really had an amazing year in 2021 as did one of the top heavy’s in the entire U.S., Matthew Moore (check out his stats), Mickail Skeldum (120) and Damien Reyes (Fr at 106) are expected to score well for Mesa Ridge. If anyone else lifts up their game, this team could live in the top ten all season.
9-Erie. There was one team last year at state that just found a way to win every close match and get athletes to some amazing places at state – Erie. I love this team and feel that they will be ready to pull off another series of great performances at regionals and state mainly because of the ‘been there, done that’ mentality. They will be led by Gavin Malek, Ramon Salazar, Noah Lopez and Michael Brazeau but don’t forget this team will score in other places as well. Put seat belt on coach Joe Ferrara…as the ride continues.
10-Windsor. You want to put fear in anyone’s eyes, look no further than Windsor who will be led by Aiden Ray, 4th last season, Theo Mascarenas, 6th, and the return of star Zack Eaton. Many younger stars also impact who were really good last season but just missed qualifying for a top two finish in their respective weight class and the golden ticket to state. This year a co-coaching task will fall with Monte Trusty and Ben Cherrington, two class acts and great coaches that will make certain their team competes tough each weekend.