This year's Delta High School wrestling squad is beginning to shape up. With the run through state playoffs in football over, the Panthers welcomed a big number of athletes to the mat.
According to the pre-season information sheet, there are 30 hopefuls in the mix for varsity and junior varsity starting spots.
An experienced coaching staff will attempt to get the most out of a talented Delta team that placed high in last year's 3A state championships. Head coach Clayton Curtis begins his 13th season in Delta and has 16 years overall. Luis Meza will have 10 years in Delta and has 14 years of experience overall. Tyler Morfitt is in his sixth season as an assistant for the Panthers, and Rudy Fantin has five years. Mark Bejarano is working in his second year.
The Panthers will have several athletes who attended the state meet last year. Kory Mills placed second and Luke Anderson was fifth. Chance Dillingham was a state qualifier, while Kole Roberts was one match away from placing.
Curtis is optimistic the Panthers will be contenders. A solid group of athletes begins with Luke Anderson at 106, Logan Mayberry at 120, Brandon Harper at 132, Shaun Staats at 145, Dillingham at 145, Drake Horn at 145, Roberts at 152, Mills at 182, Livan Santander at 195 and Logan Church at 285.
There is a wealth of quality wrestling programs in the 3A ranks, and Curtis believes Eagle Valley is one of the top teams because it has 10 returning state qualifiers. Curtis also mentioned Eaton, Brush, Lamar, Platte Valley and Berthoud as being tough teams.
No matter what is out there, Curtis believes the Panthers can finish in the top three in regionals and top 10 in state.