Delta High School senior Logan Church prepares to sign his letter of intent to wrestle at Western State College University on Nov. 14.
A changing of the guard in Paonia hasn't altered the gathering of wrestlers from around the state, and out of the state, for an annual event which traditionally draws some of the best wrestlers who want to compete against someone they don't often see.
Competition at the middle school Rocky Mountain Nationals is achieved only after rigorous effort and committment. There are 21 weight classifications in the middle school competition, beginning at 70 pounds and progressing to the heavyweight division.
Trevor Smith wants his wrestling medal back. Smith, a senior at Paonia High School, won the Class 2A heavyweight wrestling title in February.
It's a tradition at Paonia High School that each year, after state wrestling, the team celebrates the end of the season and enjoys some ice cream. And each year Paonia head coach Andy Pipher recaps the season and shares something personal about each wrestler.
Five Delta County wrestlers were recently named to the Colorado High School Activities Association All-State wrestling team. From Paonia, senior heavyweight Trevor Smith received Class 2A First Team honors, and Sackett Chesnik (138) was named All-State Second Team.
Senior Conner Collins is a three-time state qualifier for Hotchkiss.
Paonia senior Trevor Smith is a little underweight for a heavyweight wrestler, but that didn't stop him from winning the Class 2A heavyweight title at the Colorado High School Activities Association State Wrestling Tournament at the Pepsi Center last weekend. Smith brought home Delta County's only state title, ending the tournament and his career with a 4-3 overtime win against Meeker senior Tyler Ilgen and a nice medal.
Hotchkiss brought home two silver medals and a bronze and finished in sixth place with 92 points at the 2A state wrestling tournament in Denver. At 113 pounds, Sergio Campos took silver Saturday night on a loss to sophomore Dillon Jaramillo of Rocky Ford.
Delta junior heavyweight Logan Church was the top placer for Delta at the Class 3A state wrestling tournament in Denver last weekend. Church was seeded 12th, which is a tough place to be in any wrestling tournament.
Cedaredge sent 10 wrestlers to the state tournament and came home with three medals. The Bruins scored 58 point to place eighth out of 48 teams.
The Delta Panthers qualified six wrestlers for the Colorado High School Activities Association's 81st annual State Wrestling Tournament. Delta placed fifth with 134 points and placed in nine weight divisions at the 3A Region 1 wrestling tournament, held Friday and Saturday at Buena Vista. Moffat County scored 196 points to win the 14-team tournament.
With one match remaining in the 2A Region 1 wrestling tournament, Paonia trailed Meeker, 200-198. Both the heavyweight and team titles hung in the balance when No. 1 seed Trevor Smith stepped on the mat to face Meeker's No. 2 seed, Tyler Ilgen. After three rounds, the score was tied, 2-2 -- two escapes each.
Hotchkiss scored 198 points to place third at the 2A Region 1 tournament at Colorado Mesa University, just four points off of the first-place team.
Head coach Richard Flores said he's happy to send nine to state, but lamented a couple of heartbreaking finishes by seniors.
Cedaredge will send 10 wrestlers to state. The Bruins weren't ranked in the top five heading into the regional tournament and finished fourth with 196 points, just five points shy of first place.
Eli Etter felt a bit of pressure going into the last home match of his high school wrestling career. Paonia led Delta in the final dual of the regular season by a mere two points, and Etter's was the last match of the dual. He didn't want to lose.
Five of the top 10 teams in state 2A rankings will compete in the 2A Region 1 wrestling tournament, which opens at 1 p.m. Friday the Colorado Mesa University Brownson Arena in Grand Junction. Saturday's semifinal and consolation quarterfinals begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Two Delta County wrestling teams participated in the Valley Classic in Center this past weekend.
Hotchkiss' Bulldogs were the toast of the meet after outpointing 21 other teams for the team title with 208.5 points.
Cedaredge participated in, and won, last weekend's Butch Melton Invitational wrestling tournament in Ignacio with 164.5 points.
The Bruins picked up individual titles at 120 (Sean Dale), 195 (Tre' LaBossiere) and 220 (Taj Van der Linde).
The Panthers were involved with plenty of wrestling action last weekend. The varsity boys were at Valley High School for the Viking Invitational while the junior varsity boys were in Mead. And, Makayla Mills competed in the Chatfield Invitational where she placed third.
Delta's wrestling team competed against Montrose on Friday night and traveled to Rifle for the Rifle Duals on Saturday.
The Panthers defeated Montrose 46-27 and won all five of their duals in Rifle with wins over Basalt 69-9, Rifle 69-6, Grand Valley 66-9, Rifle 78-8 and Steamboat Spring 45-18.
Paonia's Eagles wrestled three duals and hosted their annual Screaming Eagle Tournament over the weekend.
Paonia's first dual was with Palisade on Thursday, Jan. 18 and were winners by a 42-30 score.
Cedaredge had a great week of wrestling competiton. The Bruins won duals against Montrose (48-29) and Hayden (68-6) and finished fourth at the annual Screaming Eagle in Paonia.
Hotchkiss High School had a fantastic week of wrestling. The Bulldogs wrestled Olathe to a 68-4 win on Wednesday, Jan. 18. A tri-meet against Meeker and Norwood/Nucla also resulted in wins for Hotchkiss. Hotchkiss got past Meeker 41-27 then battered Norwood/Nucla 63-18.
The top scoring teams in this year's Screaming Eagles Wrestling Tournament were led by the Hotchkiss Bulldogs which scored 201.5 points. Cedaredge was second with 186.5 points with host team Paonia and Meeker tied for third with 186 points.
The Hotchkiss Bulldogs had wrestling matches on Jan. 11 and 12 last week. Hotchkiss hosted Paonia on the 11th and scratched out a 38-30 victory. On the 12th the Bulldogs were in Parachute for a tri-meet with Grand Valley and Glenwood Springs.
Delta's Panthers were on the mat twice this past week, plus had a female wrestler, Makayla Mills, participate in an eastern slope meet just for girls.
Delta hosted Palisade's Bulldogs on Jan. 12 and were defeated 45-33.
With the stands filled with cheering fans, and a single light highlighting the action on the mat, the dual meet between Cedaredge and Paonia on Thursday, Jan. 12, was filled with anticipation and drama. And with two evenly matched teams, the competition certainly delivered. The dual was held in Cedaredge.
By all accounts, Cutter Garrison's Cedaredge Bruins had a successful week of wrestling. The Bruins faced Salida, in Montrose on Friday, and scored a 33-12 win.
Paonia's wrestling week began with a 53-22 victory in Olathe on Jan. 5. There were six forfeits in the match and 11 pins expediting the conclusion of this match.
Delta High School's wrestling week began on Thursday, Jan. 5. The Panthers were in Rifle for a triangular meet where they fell to the Bears, 37-36 on a tie-breaker.
The Hotchkiss Bulldogs are making statements about themselves with success everywhere they go. Their latest accomplishment is a huge win at last weekend's Eagle Valley Invitational.
With Colorado prep sports programs exiting their Christmas break, the 2016-17 winter sessions will commence this week. Area wrestling teams have been honing skills in preparation for their runs to post-season competition.
Area wrestling teams have earned some top rankings, as have many athletes from Delta County Schools (Cedaredge, Delta, Hotchkiss and Paonia) and Olathe.
Central High School in Grand Junction held its yearly Warrior Classic last weekend, the biggest early-season wrestling meet in Colorado.
Forty teams from three different states competed in the event, which draws the best wrestlers in every classification and serves as a pretty good preview of the state tournament in February.
Fans got their first glimpse of the wrestling team from Paonia High School last Friday night and the Eagles gave them a lot to cheer about.
Paonia hosted its first home duals of the year.
Another wrestling season is underway and that means another Delta Invitational Wrestling Tournament has taken place. Delta hosted a 12-team tournament last Saturday at Delta High School.
Seven teams posted scores of 100 points or more, with Cedaredge's Bruins claiming the team title with 197 points.
The wrestling team from Hotchkiss High School hopes to build upon its success.
The Bulldogs were region champs last year, winning the 2A Region 1 crown and knocking Paonia off the top of the regional pile for the first time in years.
Delta High School's head wrestling coach Clayton Curtis enters the 2016 campaign with 10 years as a head coach and three as an assistant. Joining Curtis, as assistants, are Luis Meza (10 years), Tyler Morfitt (7 years), Chad Roberts (first year), Kory Mills (first year) and Alejandro Medina (first year).
Cedaredge High School will face a new challenge in 2016 after moving up to Class 3A in wrestling.
Third-year head coach Cutter Garrison's Bruins posted a 7-7 dual record a year ago with Tre' LaBossiere placing fifth at 195 in 2A State Championship competition.
The wrestling team from Paonia High School kept its leader for one more year, and the Eagles are looking forward to a strong showing at state. Again.
Defying all expectations after losing the regional title for the first time in years, Paonia finished an impressive fourth in the 2A state tournament last year.
Delta County high schools fared well at last Saturday's Maverick Duals on the campus of Colorado Mesa University.
Paonia High School rolled through the five-match day with no team losses and finished with 10 wrestlers completing an unbeaten slate of matches. Cedaredge and Hotchkiss finished the day with 4-1 records and Delta was 3-2.
The annual Paonia Summer Duals took place over the weekend at Paonia High School and the Eagles welcomed over 315 wrestlers for the matches.
"It broke out into 24 teams. Just a really good turnout," Paonia coach Andy Pipher said. "There's a lot of local kids which is nice, then there are teams here from Wyoming, kids here from Utah and Nebraska. Just a lotta fun."
The annual Paonia Summer Duals wrestling camp will be held June 11 and 12 at Paonia High School.
Upward of 400 wrestlers compete in the annual duals.
"Sign your life away, Bo," said Paonia wrestling coach Andy Pipher.
With that, Bo Pipher fulfilled a lifelong dream last Wednesday when he signed a Letter of Intent to wrestle for national champion Penn State.
The wrestling team from Hotchkiss High School peaked and won the 2A Region 1 title, then came back to earth last weekend at the state tournament in Denver.
The Bulldogs qualified an impressive 11 wrestlers for state, but many of them showed their youth and inexperience over the course of the three-day extravaganza and Hotchkiss finished in eighth place as a team with 75 points.
The wrestling team from Delta High School finished the 2016 season with some memorable moments.
After coming within one match of winning the 3A Region 4 title and finishing second to Highway 50 rival Olathe, the Panthers qualified nine wrestlers for the state tournament in Denver last weekend.
The wrestling team from Cedaredge High School saw what a difference a year makes when the Bruins went to the state tournament in Denver last weekend.
After posting just six team points and finishing 38th in 2015, the Bruins returned to the Pepsi Center this year and improved to 15th place overall in 2A and recorded 41 team points.
This was supposed to be a down year for the Paonia High School wrestling team.
After having its consecutive streak of three straight 2A state titles snapped by Rocky Ford last year and after finishing second to Hotchkiss at regionals for the first time in years, no one expected too much from the Eagles at state this year.
A familiar phrase perfectly describes the scene at last weekend's Colorado High School Wrestling State Championships in Denver.
The wrestling team from Hotchkiss High School is reaching heights the Bulldogs haven't climbed in a while.
Hotchkiss continued to enjoy the momentum that has been building since the New Year and triumphed at the Class 2A Region 1 tournament championship last weekend at Brownson Arena in Grand Junction.
Cedaredge's Bruins will be sending seven wrestlers to this week's state tournament in Denver at the Pepsi Center.
Overall, the Bruins finished fifth in the 14-team Region 1 tournament held at Colorado Mesa University last weekend.
Delta High School's wrestling team held a 15-point lead over Moffat County after the first day of competition in the 3A Region 4 tournament in Montrose. The Panthers, in fact, led up until the final match of the day between Olathe's Felix Pena and the Panthers' Logan Church in the 285-pound division.
The Paonia High School wrestling team is going back to the familiar confines of the Pepsi Center in Denver for this weekend's state championship tournament.
Last year the Eagles saw their record of three consecutive state team titles snapped by Rocky Ford, which enters this year's tournament as the No. 1-ranked team in 2A.
Hotchkiss High School wrestling coach Richard Flores has hoped all season that the Bulldogs will peak at the right time, and it's starting to look like he might get his wish.
The No. 4 Bulldogs grapplers won their last dual and a tournament heading into this weekend's regional matches in Grand Junction.
Two top wrestling teams met on the mat last Thursday at Delta High School. Class 2A contender Paonia is ranked seventh in the latest On the Mat Rankings. Delta, in Class 3A, is also ranked seventh.
The wrestling season is a war of attrition, and the Paonia grapplers are battling through the final part of the campaign.
The state tournament in Denver is two weeks away and Paonia has several individuals who are rounding into top form.
The Cedaredge Bruins picked up a team title at last weekend's Butch Melton Wrestling Tournament hosted by Ignacio. Cedaredge won the title with 205 points with second-place Pagosa Springs scoring 164.5 points.
The Delta Panthers had too much for Palisade last Thursday when the two teams met in Palisade for dual competition. The Panthers prevailed, 54-27.
There were six pins recorded by Delta along with three forfeits for wins.
The Hotchkiss High School wrestlers keep improving.
The Bulldogs moved up to No. 4 in 2A according to the recent CHSAA online poll.
Hotchkiss entered the week fifth in 2A, just ahead of Paonia and behind Rocky Ford, Centauri, Meeker and Norwood/Nucla, respectively.
The Bulldogs got up-close and personal looks at every one of those teams but No. 1 Rocky Ford this past week, and Hotchkiss showed that it can compete on the mat with all of them.
Had it not been for a forfeit at 113, Delta's Panthers might have posted a shutout against Eagle Valley last Thursday night. The Panthers went on to win 71-6.
Cedaredge High School's Bruins finished last weekend's Screamin' Eagle wrestling tournament with 136.5 points and placed fifth. Hotchkiss won the tournament with 229 points with Meeker second (210.5), Centauri third (204) and Paonia fourth (203.5).
Fans of Paonia wrestling were treated to quite a show last Saturday when three hometown grapplers won individual titles at the Screamin' Eagle Tournament.
Hotchkiss won the team title and Paonia finished fourth in the standings, but the Eagles were not disappointed after three of their standouts claimed championships.
The Paonia High School wrestling team completed a very busy week after winning three duals and finishing fourth in the Screamin' Eagle Tournament last Saturday.
The No. 6 Eagles got a good look at every 2A team ahead of them except No. 1 Rocky Ford last week and Paonia has reason to think it'll be right there with them at the end of the year.
The wrestlers at Hotchkiss High School keep posting impressive wins. On the Mat ranks the Bulldogs as No. 6 in 2A, right behind Paonia.
The Bulldogs had only one event last week.
Delta's Panthers were in Alamosa over the weekend to compete in the 13-team wrestling tournament hosted by the Mean Moose. Pueblo West won the tournament with 189.5 points, with highly touted 2A school Rocky Ford finishing second with 187 points.
Despite being shorthanded, the Hotchkiss Bulldogs wrestling team is showing signs of depth, ability and skill that might pay off big in the end.
In their first dual after the Christmas break, the Bulldogs battled North Fork Valley rival Paonia to a 30-30 score on the mat, but fell in the final tally 42-30 because of two open weights.
The wrestling team at Paonia High School came out of the Christmas break determined to post some pins and wins.
The Eagles provided both as Paonia won two duals and placed several strong individual finishes in a tournament this past week.
There was plenty of wrestling action for those who followed their favorite teams this past weekend. Cedaredge and Paonia attended the 12-team Indian Invitational.
Delta was in Utah at the annual Tournament of Champions wrestling tournament hosted by Uintah in Vernal, Utah.
A quick look at the latest wrestling rankings from Tim Yount's On the Mat Rankings shows Hotchkiss in the number five spot in 2A, with Paonia listed sixth. Meeker is third while Norwood/Nucla is fourth.
The wrestling teams from Paonia and Hotchkiss went to the Warrior Classic last weekend and got a look at some of the best competition in the state before they retired to rest during the Christmas break.
The Warrior is considered one of the top tournaments of the season and this year featured 38 teams at Central High School in Grand Junction.
Delta's Panthers landed three athletes in the top five at last weekend's Warrior Classic in Grand Junction. Delta's top placer was Kory Mills at 170 with a second-place finish to Meeker's T.J.
The Cedaredge Bruins had several athletes advance past first-round bouts at last week's Warrior Classic in Grand Junction. Leading the way was the fifth-place finish by 195-pounder Tré LaBossiere.
Cedaredge High School's wrestling team had three athletes place in the top three at last weekend's Delta Invitational. The Bruins scored 85.5 points to place fifth in the 12-team field in Delta.
This year's Delta Panthers' wrestling team has already proven to be an exceptional squad. With Delta's football team going deep into the playoffs, several athletes were late getting to wrestling practices.
The wrestlers at Hotchkiss High School are off to a great start.
Two weeks into the campaign, the Bulldogs are up to No. 5 in 2A in a recent poll and have seen several individuals put up some big wins at duals early in the season.
The wrestlers at Paonia High School don't have much time to get ready for the season.
The Eagles, who saw their three-year streak of 2A state championships snapped last year, showed no signs of a tough transition from the football season as Paonia hosted a pair of duals during week two of the young season.
This year's Delta High School wrestling squad is beginning to shape up. With the run through state playoffs in football over, the Panthers welcomed a big number of athletes to the mat.
According to the pre-season information sheet, there are 30 hopefuls in the mix for varsity and junior varsity starting spots.
Walk into the wrestling room behind the gym at Paonia High School and instantly you can tell: the Eagles are back.
Even though Paonia had its streak of 2A state championships halted at three last year after the Eagles finished third, enthusiasm and energy burst through the room as the grapplers returned for the 2015 campaign last week.
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