FORT COLLINS — The last time Boulder’s Abe Pomeroy graced a Class 5A wrestling regional with his presence, the now-sophomore couldn’t get past tough competition to win his spot at state.
This year, a new mindset is helping him achieve the goal that’s adorned his bedroom door all season long. He saw his new lease on wrestling pay off during the second round of his 132-pound competition at the 5A Region 3 tournament on Friday night at Fort Collins High School, when he defeated Mountain Range’s Zachary Cronholm in a 6-3 decision to advance to the quarterfinals.
“I have a T chart and it says where I am — the date on the left side and the goals on the right side,” Pomeroy said. “The goal for next week, it says, ‘place at state.’”
His performance at Top of the Rockies, where he was a takedown away from beating the fifth, fourth and third-place finishers, opened his eyes to the possibilities.
“I did really well but I fell short,” Pomeroy said. “I lost in two overtime matches and then I came back to the room and I talked to my coaches and we discussed what was missing between that tournament and this tournament. It was just that confidence piece.”
Aside from belief, Pomeroy mapped out his game plan before each tournament: hand placement, feet placement, and so on. That has made all the difference in his second high school season, which has seen him go 23-7 with a No. 10 weight class ranking (per On the Mat).
He’s just a couple wins away from punching his ticket to Ball Arena for the state championships next weekend. Head coach Will LeBoeuf has little doubt he’ll get there.
“He’s not even the same wrestler. The confidence is (on) a whole ‘nother level,” LeBoeuf said. “I think Abe was capable of what he’s doing today last year but mentally, he’s come so far that he realizes that he is one of the top guys. He belongs on top of the podium and there’s nothing holding him back now. I expect him to be on that podium. That’s what he should be expecting of himself. He’s the top dog.”
Ending his brushes with diversity
Matthew Fasbender’s high school career has not been kind on him.
In his four years on the mats with Monarch, the senior 138-pounder has gone through the gamut of setbacks, all of which had kept him from making his way to the big stage. In his first match of his junior season, he broke his ankle and missed everything that followed.
“It was heartbreaking, especially because I was feeling so strong and very good about the season and I was ranked No. 2, so I had a good spot,” he said. “It was pretty harsh my freshman year. I actually missed weight at regionals. I was super excited to wrestle because I felt like I was going to have a really good shot at the state title at 106s.”
This year, the seventh-ranked grappler has one more shot to make up for what injury, missed weight and a pandemic took from him. He certainly illuminated that enthusiasm when, in his second-round match on Friday night, he ended the competition against Mountain Range’s Joaquin Hernandez in 47 seconds.
He’s 19-7 heading into the second day of the regional tournament and, if everything goes according to plan, his head coach expects to stand atop the podium at Ball Arena come next Saturday night.
“He has some martial arts background, jiu jitsu stuff,” coach Ezra Paddock said. “Anyone that’s in wrestling or martial arts, in my mind, they have the ability to focus when they’re uncomfortable. He’s really mastered that, whether it be in tough matches, in training. His goal stayed the same. He stayed focused on it through adversity.”
Local teams spread across the Front Range will continue fighting through regional competition on Saturday.