Junior Donovan Jarmon poses with a stuffed Bison which he held on the medal podium with him as 220-pound champion at the Smoky Hill Invitational wrestling tournament Jan. 18 at Smoky Hill High School. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

Donovan Jarmon is proof that sometimes a positive attitude goes a long way.

The Vista PEAK junior is in the midst of a breakout season on the wrestling mat and he attributes his newfound success to mindset.

Jarmon won his third tournament of the season Jan. 18 at the Smoky Hill Invitational and it continued to fuel his motivation.

“The biggest change for me this year is mental,” Jarmon said after he pinned Smoky Hill’s Marco Canas Munoz to secure 220-pound championship.

“I feel as though having a happy attitude is really helping, thinking I’m going to win and knowing I have the skills to do what needs to be done,” he continued.

“When I approached a match last year, it was like ‘I can’t lose’ instead of ‘I’m going to win, I’m going going to do my best and do what needs to be done to succeed.”

Jarmon — ranked No. 8 in 4A at 220 pounds in the Week 7 rankings from On The Mat — traces the roots of his attitude change back to football season, where he was a part of Vista PEAK’s historic 10-0 regular season that produced the program’s first league championship and state playoff appearance.

He was a second team All-Pioneer League performer on the offensive line, a unit that helped pave the way for a rushing game that gained 3,650 yards.

“Our coaches were pushing the idea of being best in America, best in the world, best in everything you can do,” Jarmon said. “That helped my mindset. …It’s helping not only on the mat, but with my grades. It’s the whole growing up part.”

“Last year, I focused more on anger and trying not to lose. Now, I have confidence to push through it.”

With his old mind set, Jarmon accomplished his goal last season to place at regionals, which he achieved with a sixth-place finish in the 4A Region 3 tournament at 170 pounds.
Jarmon finished his first varsity season 20-19 and he has taken a huge step forward so far this season.

He’s off to a 17-3 start, which he extended with four wins and a championship at the Smoky Hill Invitational. Jarmon also won the season-opening Mike Stanley Invitational at Fairview and the Gary Daum Invitational at Niwot after winter break.

Two of his Jarmon’s losses have come to the top-ranked wrestlers in 5A (undefeated Sam Hart of Cherokee Trail won by fall in the second period when they met at Legend) and 4A in Broomfield’s Bryant Walker, who took a 5-4 decision from him at the Bison Invitational.

Jarmon’s other defeat came to Brighton’s Dylan BravoPacker, ranked No. 2 in 5A.

Coach David Benedict has a young team that currently driven by the upper weights, which includes senior 182-pounder Isaac Renas and junior heavyweight Justin Leadens in addition to Jarmon.

Renas finished as the runner-up at the Smoky Hill Invitational at 195 pounds, while Leadens came in third to help Vista PEAK to fifth place in the tournament with just six wrestlers entered.

“Our upper weights are really pushing each other right now,” Benedict said. “Isaac and Donovan have both wrestled their best the last couple of weeks and Justin has to wrestle smart on his feet and use his quickness on bottom wrestling heavyweight at only 220 pounds.”

Renas finished 28-18 last season and is off to 15-4 start while alternating between 182 (where he is ranked No. 7 in 4A) and 195 pounds. His loss in the Smoky Hill championship match came bye a single point to Chaparral’s Geoffrey Freeman, who is currently ranked No. 5 in 5A.

Leadens finished 6-18 last season, but is 8-9 to start this season.

“I feel the people in the room help push me, so I can continue to get better,” Jarmon said. “They help with my conditioning and with the strength part, because they are bigger than me. It helps a lot to have Isaac and Justin the room.

“I think I’ve helped them get better, too, but I can’t take the credit because they have to put the work in.”

Jarmon’s goal for this season is to make it through a quality Region 4 tournament at Mesa Ridge High School qualify for the Feb. 20-22 4A state tournament at the Pepsi Center.

The Bison were shut out of state representation last season after they had a state placer in 2018 in Jayden Smith, who was fourth at 195 pounds.

“I want it real bad,” Jarmon said. “I got my goal last season of placing at regionals and now it is to be able to go to the Pepsi Center. It would be good to have some teammates there. I don’t want to be there alone, it would get boring.”

Benedict believes multiple qualifiers is possible with health, some good fortune and continued dedication in the room.

“As long as their heads don’t get too big and they don’t care who they are wrestling and wrestle how they know how to wrestle instead of reacting, they will be great,” he said.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports