The Paonia Eagles wrestling team scored 281.5 points to win its fourth consecutive title at the 26th annual Delta Panther Wrestling Tournament Saturday at Delta High School.
It wasn't an easy day.
Head coach Andy Pipher said that with several players starting workouts late due to an extended football season, much of the team hasn't had enough conditioning. And the competition was tough.
Paonia sent 11 wrestlers into the championships and won five of the matches.
Jesse Reed, Bo Pipher and Zach Milner all ran cross country. On Saturday, each won at his respective weight. But even there, Paonia had some challenges. At 126 pounds, Reed, a two-time state champion, faced returning state qualifier David Brown of Delta for the championship. Both took perfect records into the match. Reed scored a takedown and Brown a reversal to tie the match at 2-2 going into the final round. Brown was in control when Reed scored an escape at the buzzer for the win.
Milner faced some familiar names from last season — Zach Wieniewski of Rifle (fall 1:14), Daniel Brown of Delta (9-5), before defeating Devon Pontine of Rifle, 6-3, for the championship. Both are returning state qualifiers, and both are ranked second in Class 2A — Milner at 160 and Pontine at 170.
At 132, Bo Pipher pinned Tylon Cordova in 1:41 for the win; Ty Coats pinned Panther Derek Horn in 4:44 for the win at 152.
Freshman Gabe Ferguson defeated a teammate and a Rifle wrestler to advance to the championship round at 113 pounds, where he lost by pinfall to Hotchkiss senior Garrett Toothaker.
Lack of conditioning for the football players was most apparent in the upper weights, where Paonia lost four championship matches. "My bigger guys, I can tell, are still out of shape," said Pipher.
At 170, senior Will Austin lost in a 6-3 decision to returning state champion TJ Shelton of Meeker. At 285, Tony Darling was defending his tournament title, and lost in a 3-2 decision to Marcus Garcia of Delta, whom Darling pinned in 15 seconds for the win at last year's Panther tournament.
Logan Schopp was defeated by Delta's Cordell Stroud at 182, and in the lower weights, Josh Altman lost in a 4-3 decision to Matthew Lavengood of 4A Durango by a 4-3 decision. Lavengood was voted the tournament Outstanding Wrestler for the lower weights.
"They're not going to be in shape until after Christmas," said Pipher.
In all, Paonia placed 17 wrestlers. Freshman Colton Godwin placed fourth and Eli Etter sixth in the 106-pound bracket. At 160, Noelle Helmer also placed sixth.
Last Thursday the Eagles avenged last year's dual loss against Fruita Monument, their sole loss of the season, pinning five Fruita wrestlers to win the dual, 44-24.
It was Fruita's first dual loss of the season. Chesnik, Coats, Milner, Austin and Darling all won by pin; Godwin, Altman and Reed won by decision. And Bo Pipher won by technical fall.
Paonia will dual 5A Arvada West Thursday at 6 p.m., at Paonia High School.
The Eagles will defend their team title against 35 other teams at the Warrior Classic at Central High School this Friday and Saturday.blog comments powered by Disqus