Past, present and future: San Manuel Wrestling celebrated

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

SM Wrestling – Past, Present and Future. Kelli Luberda | Miner

San Manuel Miner

Past, present, and future Miners’ wrestlers were honored at San Manuel’s Wrestling Banquet last Thursday night. In addition to recognizing and awarding the current members of the Miners’ wrestling team, the 2004 State Championship team was honored, including members of the coaching staff – Hall of Fame coach Manny Yubeta and coach PJ Ponce. San Manuel Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Al Trejo received an award for 20 years of service in the Miners’ wrestling program. San Manuel Jr. High Wrestlers were also present as were members of the Comets wrestling club.

“This is a program that entails the small ones all the way to the tall ones,” Mr. Trejo said to begin the night’s festivities.

Current Miners head coach Daniel Najera was joined by members of his coaching staff, including assistants Amanda Trejo and Josh Giles as they hosted the awards banquet.

The evening was more than just an award ceremony; it was a recollection of the strong history and tradition of the San Manuel wrestling program and a commitment from current coaches and wrestlers to make sure it continues.

“Growing up here and wrestling for Coach Yubeta, Coach Ponce, and Mr. Trejo; it’s more than just a job,” Najera answered when asked what it’s like to lead a program so rich in tradition. “I want to see the program succeed and go on because I’ve also wrestled here. It means a lot, it’s a passionate job. I love doing it, I love being around the kids, and watching them be successful.”

Those who were in attendance witnessed the number of wrestlers – small to tall – at the banquet. The passion and pride they feel to be a part of the Miners’ wrestling program was evident. It’s part of the reason why the coaches remain so committed to the wrestlers.

“I have to give back to the community what was given to me,” Mr. Trejo said. “We have kids that need leadership and mentorship and that’s why (the wrestling program is special to me).”

The current wrestlers are more than familiar with the championship history at San Manuel and they want to continue the tradition started by champions like PJ Ponce.

“It means a lot, especially seeing all the state champs,” freshman Franky Renteria said about being a part of the rich history at the school. “It drives me to be a state champ like them. It makes me feel good to, hopefully, be as good as them and fill their shoes.”

Colten Smith, a multi-time state champion himself, is leaving a legacy at the school like few others before him. He considers it an honor to be in the same group as some of the other legendary Miners’ wrestlers. To the younger wrestlers who were at the banquet, Colten is to them what PJ Ponce is to him.

Smith was asked what makes the history, tradition and legacy of the San Manuel wrestling program so strong over the years.

“Everyone always stays close,” Smith answered. “It’s like a big family. It doesn’t matter if you’re a state champion who wrestled in 1960 or a wrestler in 2014, it’s like a brotherhood. It never goes away.”

There were several awards handed out last Thursday, including most take downs, most pins, and most reversals, to name a few. But the highlight of the banquet may have been the announcing of the Paper Plate Awards. Those awards were distributed by Assistant coach Amanda Trejo and eagerly anticipated by the wrestlers. Here is a breakdown of those awards:

Transformer Award – Jacob Christian, Hunger Games Tribute Award – Franky Renteria, Best Haircut Award – Frankie Tamayo, Most Likely to Look Good Award – Francisco Medina, The Turtle Award – Miguel Gonzalez, The License to Practice Medicine Award – Colten Smith, Most Likely to Make You LOL Award – Ricky Najera, Pin Me if You Can Award – Carlos Salas, and Pushing the Limits Award – Colby Stratton.

The evening concluded with Coach Najera encouraging all the wrestlers to participate in camps during the summer. He wants them to commit to learning and perfecting wrestling moves each month until next season starts. It’s that type of commitment from the wrestlers that will carry on San Manuel’s championship wrestling history and tradition.

Andy Luberda (398 Posts)

Andy Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for eight high schools. His stories are published in the Southeast Valley Ledger, Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College. Andy is currently earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Communication. Andy is scheduled to complete his degree December 2014. He was born and raised in Des Plaines, Ill. In 1992, he relocated to Arizona. After a short return to Des Plaines in 1997, he returned to the Phoenix area two years later. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
facebooktwitterby feather

Comments are closed.

  • Stories Just Posted

    The Oatman Massacre

    8 hours ago
    by

    O n Feb. 18, 1851 a covered wagon climbed the steep bank rising above the Gila River. On board the covered wagon were Royce and Mary Oatman as well as their seven


    Superior Chamber sponsors fourth annual Prickly Pear Festival

    8 hours ago
    by

    The Superior Chamber of Commerce is planning its Fourth Annual Prickly Pear Festival for Saturday, Aug.


    Manuel Ramirez named principal at JFK Elementary

    22 hours ago
    by

    Superior Sun There’s a new man at the helm of the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Superior.


    Copper Alliance hosting summer pie social

    22 hours ago
    by

    The Superior Copper Alliance is hosting a pie social this Friday, July 31, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Bill and Nancy Vogler, located at 502 Church St.


  • Stories Just For You

    Knights of Columbus present donation to Tri-Community Food Bank

    July 28th, 2015
    by

    Local Knights of Columbus present a $100 check to Volunteers at the Tri-Community Food bank.  (From left) Roman “Rod” Rodrigues, Frank Gonzales, volunteers Ralph and Judy Haberski, Grand Knight Johnnie Seballos


    Mammoth Council approves ordinances and celebrates a birthday

    July 21st, 2015
    by

    San Manuel Miner Several changes to the Mammoth Town Code were discussed, approved and tabled at a meeting held last week.


    Nine years and running: Sea Lions win the championship!

    July 21st, 2015
    by

    The Sea Lions swim team hosted the Central Arizona League Championship Swim Meet on Saturday, July 18, at the San Manuel Swimming Pool and won the competition by more than 300


    Mammoth Police Report

    July 21st, 2015
    by

    According to state law, police may arrest suspected offenders by two methods. The suspect may be physically taken into the department and booked into jail, or the arresting officer may write


  • Facebook

  • [Advertisement.]
  • Arizona Headlines & Current Weather