This year's Delta Panthers' wrestling team has already proven to be an exceptional squad. With Delta's football team going deep into the playoffs, several athletes were late getting to wrestling practices. Nonetheless, the Panthers are exhibiting drive to excel in 2015-16.
The most recent achievement was last weekend's team title at the Delta Invitational Tournament on Saturday. There were 12 competitive teams in attendance and the Panthers scored 200 points to outdistance a few powerhouse teams such as Paonia, Hotchkiss, Buena Vista and Meeker.
Hotchkiss finished second with 188 points, Buena Vista was third with 181 and Paonia fourth with 163.5 points. Cedaredge was fifth with the 85.5 points it scored in tournament action.
Prior to last weekend's tournament, the Panthers wrestled Fruita, Olathe and Durango, winning all but the Olathe match. Against Fruita the Panthers won five matches by pin on their way to a 45-28 victory.
Olathe came to town on Thursday and battled the Panthers down to the wire before stealing a 39-36 decision on a three-period overtime between 170 pounders Kory Mills and Trent Rose.
A Friday match against Durango was also a win as the Panthers headed toward a long day at the Delta Invitational on Saturday.
Delta 45, Fruita 28
The Panthers were all about getting the job done as Delta claimed five individual titles on its way to victory.
Luke Anderson earned a pin at 106 over Tyler Romero in 5:55.
Other pin-wins included Logan Mayberry at 120 against Jahziel Serrano (2:19), Drake Horn at 138 against Josh Vincent (4:50), Stephen Davignon at 160 over Logan Gentlzer (1:17) and Livan Santander at 220 against Colt Chatfield (3:12).
Panthers earning points for decisions included 126-pounder Kavan Trujillo (14-7), 145-pounder Shaun Staats (9-7) and 152-pounder Kole Roberts (9-3).
Kory Mills, at 170, won by forfeit.
Olathe 39, Delta 36
Delta knew it had an 18-point lead before its match with the Pirates on Thursday. Forfeits at 132, 138 and 182 produced 18 points and what was thought to be a comfortable cushion as the match progressed.
The Panthers began with a forfeit win at 182 for Sam Komives. Chayden Harris tied the match with his pin over Josh Reeder (1:53) in the 195 pound match.
Olathe's Felix Pena and Delta's Logan Church entertained the crowd with action in the 285-pound division with an overtime match won by Pena, 6-4.
Luke Anderson began the lower weights with a win for the Panthers by pinning Gabriel Jolly (1:43).
Olathe won the next two bouts with 113-pounder Elias Ramierez pinning Landon Mayberry (3:38) and Andrew Godfrey sticking Logan Mayberry in the 120-pound bout (4:41).
Kavan Trujillo got the Panthers back onto a winning note with his 126-pound win over Clay Yarnell, 9-3.
Kyler Massano (132) and Drake Horn (138) picked up forfeit wins. Shaun Staats pinned Rosalio Garcia (3:35) in the 145-pound bout.
Kole Roberts and Caleb Jolly had an exciting match at 152 with Jolly earning a late pin (5:57) for six points, leaving Delta ahead 36-30 with two bouts left.
Jacob Jimenez tied the match at 36-36 with his pinfall over Stephen Davignon at 160.
The match win came down to a battle between stellar wrestlers Kory Mills and Trent Rose. It took three overtime periods to determine the bout winner. Rose got two points late in the third overtime period to claim a 5-3 victory that handed Olathe a 39-36 win.
A strong showing at last weekend's Delta Invitational helped the Panthers win their own tournament with 200 points.
Hotchkiss was second with 188 points followed by Buena Vista (181), Paonia (163.5), Cedaredge (85.5), Meeker (70), Grand Valley (62), Durango (58), Steamboat Springs (52), Rifle (49), Basalt (25) and Rangely (4).
The Panthers earned individual titles at 106 with Anderson winning by decision, 12-9, over Hotchkiss' Sergio Campos; at 138 on a pin by Drake Horn over Paonia's Clay Campbell (4:53); at 170 where Mills pinned Rifle's Drake Montgomery (2:23) and a Church decision (2-1 OT) over Basalt's Olmer Marquez at 285.
Trujillo placed fourth at 126, with third place finishes coming at 152, 160 and 220 for the Panthers.
The Panthers will see plenty of mat action this weekend, Dec. 18-19, at Central's Warrior Classic.