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.
Hotchkiss and Paonia are ranked in top five listings as the 2017 portion of schedules get underway.
The Bulldogs are ranked third in regional listings while Paonia's Eagles are fifth. Several athletes from each school are mentioned in Tim Yount's latest On the Mat Rankings.
Cedaredge's Bruins also have a few wrestlers who are in the top 15 listings.
In Class 3A, Delta is ranked 6th in Region 1 competition. Four Panthers are ranked in the top 15 listings for that classification.
Olathe's Pirates compete in Class 3A Region 1 as well and several members of its wrestling team also have earned top 15 rankings.
Starting at 106 pounds, Hotchkiss' Landen Mayberry (4-0) is third and Cedaredge's Ryan Imhoff (5-2) is listed eighth.
The Bulldogs' Sergio Campos (9-2) is the lone top-10 ranked 113-pounder at No. 2.
Only Gabe Ferguson (5-2), of Paonia, has a top-10 ranking for area schools in Region 1 with his seventh place ranking.
There are three local athletes who are listed at 126 pounds. Leading the way is Hotchkiss' Chris Lovato at No. 4, Paonia's Eli Etter (7-5, at No. 8) and Cedaredge's Sean Dale (7-2, at No. 9).
Hotchkiss' Colton Hall (9-1) is ranked first in the 132-pound division with the Bruins' Alex McCracken (7-2) ranked 11th and Paonia's Grey Neal listed 15th (8-2).
Leading the way at 138 pounds is Paonia's Sackett Chesnik (10-1) who is ranked first. Hotchkiss' Colton DeLuzio (4-1) is seventh and the Bruins David Schipmann (8-2) is 13th.
Paonia's Clay Campbell (10-2) is the No. 4 ranked wrestler at 145 and Cedaredge's Colton Hoerr is fifth.
There are no top-15 ranked wrestlers from Region 1 listed at 152. The Bruins' Jered Hulteen (8-2) is ranked 19th.
At 160 pounds Hotchkiss' Wade Katz-dorn (8-2) is listed third and the Bruins' Zach Anderson is listed sixth.
One wrestler, Paonia's Anthony Felice (6-1), has a top 10 placing with his No. 7 ranking in the 170-pound division.
The Eagles' Jared Miller (9-1) is at No. 3 in the 182-pound classification.
Top 10 rankings go to Cedaredge's Tre' LaBossiere (No. 3) and Hotchkiss' Devon Curtis (No. 8).
Paonia's Trevor Smith has been impressive at 220 pounds (10-0) and is ranked second at that weight classification.
Cedaredge's Taj Van Der Linde (8-2) has the highest ranking (No. 8) for Delta County School wrestlers at 285 pounds. Next in line is Hotchkiss Joe Nault (5-0) at No. 9 and Levi Peterson, of Paonia, at No. 11.
Delta's Panthers are in their second season in Class 3A, having dropped from 4A two seasons ago. The Panthers, ranked sixth in Region 1, have four wrestlers listed in top 15 rankings.
At 145, Kole Roberts is ranked third; Chance Dillingham is fourth at 152; Livan Santander is 11th and Logan Church is fourth at 285.
Olathe's Pirates have a pair of top five wrestlers in Region 1. Andrew Godfrey is ranked second at 132 and Caleb Jolley is fourth at 170.
Schedule for the Week
Delta County schools return to the mat this week beginning on Wednesday.
Cedaredge High School is scheduled to host Salida at 6 p.m., Jan. 4, and will attend the Indian Invitational in Montrose on Saturday
Hotchkiss' Bulldogs are slated to face Palisade's Bulldogs, on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 5 p.m. on the campus of Colorado Mesa University.
Paonia Eagles are scheduled to be in Olathe for a 6 p.m. match against the Pirates on Thursday, Jan. 5, beginning at 6 p.m.
Delta is at Rifle for a triangular meet on Thursday beginning at 5 p.m. and heads to Vernal, Utah, for competition Jan. 6-7.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.