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Panther wrestlers believe they can

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Photo by Wayne Crick New moves, and repetitions of recently shown ones, are a staple of practice routines in the matroom.

Delta High School will be looking for another successful wrestling season under the guidance of 11th year head coach Clayton Curtis.

The Panthers sent three athletes to state last season with Logan Church (SR) finishing the year with a 42-3 record and second-place finish in the 285-pound division. Drake Horn (SR) was 30-19, and a qualifier at 160. Aiden Barrios (JR) was a qualifier at 170 and finished 21-19 for the year.

The above-mentioned athletes are most likely starters for Curtis in the coming season. Add several other proven wrestlers to the mix and the Panthers may be solid contenders in 2017-18. Senior Ayden Tucker will wrestle at 126 and is sure to improve on a 12-22 mark from a year ago. At 145 the Panthers have senior Brendon Starr who was 14-14 last season and 152-pounder Brandon Harper (SR) got a late start to finish 10-4 last season.

Curtis does not have a set-in-stone line-up for the coming season. His top performers will come from the collective team. "We have a strong freshman class and a handful of other wrestlers, sophomores through seniors, that will be pushing for the varsity line-up. Unlike other sports, we could see our line-up change week to week. We really have a lot of talented wrestlers this year who could be in the varsity line-up. I personally don't want to say that certain guys will be our varsity guy because I know that could change next week."

Curtis, and his capable staff, Luis Meza (11 years), Tyler Morfitt (8 years), Chad Roberts (2nd year), Kory Mills (2nd year), Luke Laurita (1st year) and Jason Naranjo (1st year) will work together to provide each wrestler with quality instruction on their way to reaching personal goals.

As in the past, Curtis shies away from making predictions. "I hate making predictions, but I would be lying if I told you we weren't pushing to be number one in the state in 3A. I think that we are legitimate contenders in 3A. That is our goal and it is every year. We want to be the best and I think that is a goal shared from top to bottom on our team."

The Panthers host Olathe Thursday, Dec. 7, with JV matches scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and the varsity set to go at 7 p.m.

Delta will host tournament action on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.

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