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Photo by Tamie Meck The Paonia Eagles scored 195 points to win the 2A Region 1 wrestling title at the Montrose Events Center. Paonia qualified seven for the state championships, which open Thursday in Denver. Holding their regional championship brackets, from left, Levi Peterson (285), Carlos Lozano (152), Sackett Chesnik (138) and Anthony Felice (195).
Photo by Tamie Meck Paonia sophomore Reagan Todd controls Hotchkiss senior Landen Mayberry in regional semifinals. Todd, who won the match by fall, placed second, and Mayberry placed third.
Photo by Tamie Meck Paonia heavyweight Levi Peterson pins Randy Herrera of Ignacio to win the 2A Region 1 heavyweight title. Peterson was the defending regional heavyweight champion.

Eagles win regional title, qualify 7 for state meet

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Paonia will send seven wrestlers to the Class 2A tournament.

Sackett Chesnik will make his fourth appearance.

Chesnik (138, 31-6), will be the No. 2 seed. He won the regional title, his first since his freshman year, on a 5-1 decision over the No. 2 seed, 25-6 Hotchkiss sophomore Traycer Hall.

Chesnik knew he would face Hall. The match was their fourth this season. "He's very tough, very disciplined, coached by a good coaching staff," said Chesnik. He also remembers wrestling some tough matches against Hall's older brother, 2017 Hotchkiss graduate Colton Hall.

Chesnik was the first of four Eagles to win the regional title and is seeded second in state. In his first tournament win ever, 27-10 junior Carlos Lozano (152) won his title by decision over Norwood senior James Franklin.

Paonia won the team title with 195 points. Hotchkiss was runner up with 183 points.

"The team title was a good team effort all around," said head coach Nate Wiggins.

With the close scores, wrestlers like 120-pounder Ethan White, who scored extra points by winning his fifth-place match by fall, made all the difference, said Wiggins.

Making their second straight state appearance are senior regional champion Anthony Felice (195, 27-5), who placed fourth his junior year and is seeded first in the state; and junior Levi Peterson, also the No. 2 seed in the state, who claimed his second regional heavyweight title in a total mat time of 2 minutes, 22 seconds. About half his mat time went to defeating 14-6 junior Randy Herrera of Ignacio in the championship match. "I went for a headlock. Just went really smooth," said Peterson.

Junior Grey Neal (160, 29-4) will make his third state appearance, and junior Austyn Norris (220, 17-18) will make his first. Neal was runner up on a 7-6 decision to 23-6 Austin Overholt of Norwood, while Norris lost his championship match to 17-7 junior Ridge Williams of Meeker.

Eagles sophomore Reagan Todd (113, 27-15) was seeded fifth and placed second. "Reagan had a heck of a day," said head coach Nate Wiggins. Todd advanced to the championship match on an upset over No. 1 seeded Hotchkiss senior Landen Mayberry. "That was a really tough weight just to get to the finals," said Wiggins.

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