Photo by Tamie Meck The Paonia Eagles placed 13 wrestlers and earned 234 points for the team title at the 25th annual Delta Invitational Wrestling Tournament last weekend. This is the third consecutive year for the Eagles to win the tournament.The Paonia Eagles placed 13 wrestlers to earn 234 points and win the Delta Panther Invitational Wrestling Tournament. This is the third consecutive year the Eagles have won the Delta tournament.
Paonia claimed the most tournament champions, with Ty Coats (145), Morgan Rieder (195), Joel Simianer (220) and Tony Darling (HWT) going undefeated.
Coats defeated fifth-ranked George Stagg (3A Grand Valley) in an 8-5 decision to win the championship, and Simianer, a sophomore, defeated 11th-ranked Daniel Gustavson (4A Durango) in a 13-5 decision for the win. Darling was the top-ranked heavyweight at Saturday's tournament. He pinned Raphael Spencer of Nucla in 14 seconds to advance to the final round, and pinned Marcus Garcia of Delta in 15 seconds for the win.
Placing second were Josh Altman (3-1, 113), Bo Pipher (3-1, 120), and Jorge Quinonez (2-1, 160). Quinonez, who was ranked second going into the tournament, pinned Basalt's Josue Fernandez and Michael Salazaar of Grand Valley to advance to the final round. Quinonez went three rounds against Tray Sickels of Nucla, losing by a 2-0 decision. Sickels was voted outstanding wrestler of the lower weights for the tournament.
William Austin placed third at 170 pounds with a first-round pin over Tony Ibarra of Hotchkiss in the final round. Matt Hayden was 4-1 to place fourth. Hayden's only loss was to Dustin Head of Hotchkiss in a 10-6 decision. Hayden had to forfeit the final round, where he would have faced Head again, but had already wrestled the maximum five matches allowed per day.
Gunnar Chesnik was 3-2 at 138 pounds. Chesnik lost his opening match to fourth-ranked Tucker Schultz of Grand Valley, then pinned Morgan Walts of Durango and Kodie Komives of Delta before facing Troy Rose of Delta. Chesnik lost to Rose in a 5-3 decision, then pinned Xavier Protillo of Basalt in 2:04 to place fifth.
Nolan Jones (2-3, 106), Dylan Stroud (3-2, 132) and Zach Milner (3-2, 152) placed sixth.
The Eagles will try for a repeat win at the Warrior Classic, beginning Friday at Central HS.