Panthers on prowl for wins

By Wayne Crick


Panthers on prowl for wins   | Wrestling, DHS

Photo by Wayne Crick The Panthers work on specific moves assigned by head coach Clayton Curtis. Delta has 27 athletes battling for roster spots, making each practice highly competitive.

Delta High School's head wrestling coach Clayton Curtis enters the 2016 campaign with 10 years as a head coach and three as an assistant. Joining Curtis, as assistants, are Luis Meza (10 years), Tyler Morfitt (7 years), Chad Roberts (first year), Kory Mills (first year) and Alejandro Medina (first year).

The Panthers have 27 athletes working for starting honors in 13 weight classifications.

Freshman hopefuls included Tee Kue, Tah Deh, Colby Wilson, Cody Sauve, Gauge Lockhart and Brandon Butler. Dah Wah, Andrew Toole, Clayton Abila, Aiden Barrios, J.J. Muniz and Kyle Schotten make up the sophomore roster contingent.

This year's largest number of athletes comes from the junior class. That list is comprised of Ayden Tucker, Cameron Carter, Roger Burns, Kylar Massano, Brandon Harper, Brendon Starr, Drake Horn, Jacob Wear, Josh Reeder and Logan Church.

A talented group of seniors includes Logan Mayberry, Kole Roberts, Chance Dillingham, Livan Santander and Sam Komives.

Delta will have a large number of returning wrestlers who qualified last season and possess the ability to repeat or earn qualifying spots in the 2016-17 state tournament.

State qualifiers from a year ago include Mayberry (120), Roberts (34-16, 4th place), Dillingham (152), Santander (182), Komives (195) and Church (285, 37-11, 6th).

Other starting lineup returners from last season include Tucker (126), Harper (145), Horn (160) and Josh Reeder (220).

Curtis doesn't single out top performers on his teams. "All of the wrestlers already mentioned are top performers," according to Curtis. "There are a handful of others that are in the same category. We have a strong freshman class and a group of other wrestlers, sophomores through seniors, that will be pushing for the varsity line-up. Unlike other sports, we could see our line-up change week to week. We really have a lot of talented wrestlers who could be in the varsity line-up in any given week."

Predictions are another thing Curtis shies away from. His response on how the Panthers will fare this season reflects a strong confidence. "I hate making predictions, but, I would be lying if I told you we weren't pushing to be number one in Class 3A. I think we are legitimate contenders in 3A. This is our goal every year. We want to be the best and I think that goal is shared from top to bottom on our team."