Kirtland senior wins first-ever state mat championship

RIO RANCHO

Special to the Times | Curtis Ray Benally

Kirtland Central’s Jarryd Pollard celebrates his 4A 220-pound state championship victory over Del Norte’s Coleton Radford on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Santa Ana Star Center.

At every practice this season, Jarryd Pollard left puddles of sweat across the mats in the wrestling room.

The shine left on the mats was evidence of the hard work the 220-pound Kirtland Central High School senior wrestler put in. It was affirmation left behind by a soon-to-be state champion.

“He worked with one of my other wrestlers a lot. You knew where they had wrestled because there was sweat all over the mat where they were at, and it was non-stop,” Kirtland Central head coach John Sandoval said. “Two hours, just non-stop. Literally, he and Ian Thomas, nobody outworked those two in the wrestling room. His work ethic has made him into what he is today, that’s why he’s a state champion.”

Pollard, who is Diné and Ojibwe, won his first-ever state championship title in the 220 weight class of the 2019 New Mexico National Guard State Wrestling Championships held at the Santa Ana Star Center over the weekend.

He defeated Del Norte’s Radford Coleton in the finals by a 5-3 sudden victory in overtime, and went 4-0 throughout the tournament. He finished with an overall record of 48-4.

Pollard said it was what he wanted and what he planned for after he finished sixth in the state championships last season.

“It felt amazing. I always dreamt of it, even my sophomore year, even when I did bad, I always wanted to be a state champion,” he said.

Pollard started wrestling in the seventh grade. He started high school at Navajo Preparatory School but moved back to Kirtland his sophomore year and started his high school wrestling career.
Pollard said he remembered it like it was yesterday.

“I came out really rusty,” he said. “I was just trying to get used to wrestling every week. I didn’t do really good.”


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About The Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com or via cell at (505) 686-0769.