Delta senior Morgan McCracken controls Clint Berry of Cañon City in a 145-pound bout in the 4A state wrestling tournament in Denver. McCracken placed sixth in his division at the tournament and completed the season with a record of 32-8.
After a painfully close 3-2 loss to Tyler Oberg of Discovery Canyon in Thursday's opening round of the 4A state tournament, Delta 145-pounder Morgan McCracken was a bit rattled. But he appeared more at ease after winning another close match, defeating Clint Berry of Cañon City by a 2-1 decision in the quarterfinals.
"I'm glad I won, but I need to do a lot better if I'm going to place," he said while waiting for his next match to be called.
It was the first time at state for the four-year wrestler. "The pressure's kind of off. I was stressing it on the ride here. 'How am I going to do?' There's thousands of people who are going to watch me."
But that first win was a big one. McCracken went on to win his next two matches, advancing to the medal round after a win by major decision over Kennen Lanteri of Windsor. McCracken lost his sixth and final match by an 11-4 decision against Keith Cays of Mesa Ridge to place sixth.
"It's a great experience to wrestle in front of thousands of people," said head coach Clayton Curtis. "Sometimes that can be nerve-racking."
Junior Shane Anderson was 1-2 for the tournament. His first opponent, Seth Villa of Windsor, was a very defensive wrestler and didn't match well with his style, said Curtis. Anderson lost the match by a 12-3 decision.
Anderson came out strong in his second match, winning by technical fall over Jorge Ferrales of Ridgeview to stay alive for one more round. He wrestled tough against Mike Mills of Glenwood, but lost in a 3-2 decision. Anderson ended his season at 26-13.
Senior 138-pounder Irvin Hernandez wrestled two-and-out, but was happy to be a part of state wrestling. Hernandez, an all-state soccer player, decided to join the team after playing football his freshman year. He said a friend convinced him to give it a try. Hernandez liked the coaches and the sport, and joined the team. It was his first time to qualify for state.
Hernandez drew second-seeded Nick Stager of Niwot for his opening match and lost in a 7-2 decision. Stager went on to place third. Hernandez lost on day two by a 3-2 decision against Mike Mills of Glenwood Springs.
For Irvin, it was really nerve-racking, said Curtis. "It's a great experience, even for those who go two-and-out. It's still something that you're going to remember the rest of your life."
Delta ended the tournament with 9.5 points.
The Colorado High School Athletics Association puts on a great state tournament, said Curtis. Not many states do such a good job and make the experience so positive for so many kids.