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.
Delta won six of the 12 matches that were executed on the mat. Four of the wins were pins and two by decision. The Panthers also won two open weights in the match.
Competition began in the 132-pound division where Drake Horn (top 20) pinned Gabe Ferguson at 3:57.
A forfeit win for Shaun Staats at 138 upped Delta's lead to 12-0.
Bo Pipher, who eclipsed the old Colorado High School pin record for four years, pinned Kole Roberts with a time of 2:31 at 145. Pipher's pin narrowed Delta's lead to 12-6. The prior record holder for the most pins in a high school career was Leister Bowling of Lyons who had 121 dating from 1996 to 2000.
Chance Dillingham, wrestling at 152 pounds, stretched the Panthers' lead to 18-6 with a pin (4:02) over Anthony Felice.
At 160, Stephen Davig-non, who avoided several near disasters, added three points to Delta's team score with an 8-5 decision over Tim Helmer.
Kory Mills won the 170-pound match against a fast-learning Jeramiah Hillman, who switched from basketball to wrestling this year. Mills won by pin, 1:02, raising Delta's lead to 27-6.
Paonia's Jaden Miller battled Sam Komives for the title at 182 and eventually sealed a victory by pinfall, 3:58, to make the score 27-12.
The next two matches were losses for Delta. Cyrus Malek-Madani scored a 3-2 decision over Josh Reeder at 195 and Trevor Smith came from behind to pin (3:25) Livan Santander in the 220-pound match.
Logan Church dispatched Luis Chavez in the evening's quickest pin, :58, elevating the Panthers' lead to 33-21.
The next two matches went to Delta, with Luke Anderson decisioning Eli Etter, 8-5, and Logan Mayberry winning by forfeit at 113.
Paonia trailed, 42-21, with two matches remaining. Caden Meilner scored a 15-8 decision over Kavan Trujillo at 120 and Sackett Chesnik was a 9-4 winner over Brandon Harper in the 126-pound match, making the final score 42-27.
Assistant Delta coach Luis Meza was all smiles when asked about the night's outcome. "It's been a long time coming ... eight years since we beat them. We had an edge last year but couldn't finish. We teach pin to win and don't be afraid. I'm really proud of the boys showing up."
Head coach Clayton Curtis was glad for an opportunity to wrestle the likes of Paonia so close to the end of the season. "We like to wrestle Paonia at the end. It helps us prepare for regionals in Montrose (Feb. 12-13) and gives us good momentum going in."
The loss to Delta wasn't a total letdown for the Eagles. "It wasn't all that bad ... we had two wrestlers who lost the last time we met Delta that were winners tonight," noted head coach Andy Pipher.
When asked about Bo Pipher's accomplishment with his pin over Roberts, coach Pipher responded with, "Bo's always about 10 moves ahead to control the match. Charlie White, longtime Rocky Ford wrestling coach, told me one time that Bo is one of the best wrestlers he's ever seen. He seems to be two or three moves ahead all the time."
Both teams will be at regional competition this week, with state wrestling championships scheduled for Feb. 18-20 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Regional competition for Delta County's 2A wrestling programs are scheduled for Colorado Mesa University. The top four in each weight division will advance to this year's state meet.
Class 3A WSL regionals will be held at Montrose High School this weekend. Both Delta and Olathe will compete in Region 4. The top four in each of the four regions will advance to state.