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Photo by Tamie Meck Sophomore 126-pounder Ben Koch glances at the clock in his 3A Region 1 semifinal win over Steamboat Springs. One of five state qualifiers for the Panthers, Koch placed second in the region. He takes a 33-11 record to the state meet, which opens tomorrow at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Photo by Tamie Meck Panther Jeffrey Griffith locks up Sebastian Garcia of Glenwood Springs at the 3A Region 1 tournament at Montrose Saturday. Griffith is heading to state tomorrow after placing fourth.

Panthers qualify 5; Barrios wins 170 title

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Delta qualified five wrestlers for the 3A state championships.

The Panthers scored 90.5 points to finish seventh at the 14-team tournament.

Senior 170-pounder Aiden Barrios was one of two Panthers to wrestle in the championship match. With less than three seconds remaining in the match, Barrios was down a point against Ian Reinhardt of Pagosa Springs. He and Reinhardt were both on their feet, shoulder to shoulder, when Barrios took Reinhardt to the mat for two points, earning him his second 170-pound regional title and his third trip to the state championships in Denver.

"I knew I just had to hit something," said Barrios. "He was ready for all my other attacks, so I was like, just gotta go for it. So I went."

The win was too close for the 35-7 senior. "It tells me I have a lot to work on this week," said a humble Barrios. "It's the last time I'll ever do this in high school, so I'm giving it my all, all the time."

It was a roller-coaster tournament for head coach Clayton Curtis, who saw a lot of losses early on, and some big wins late in the tournament.

Junior Gauge Lockhart (195, 31-11), who qualified for state as a sophomore, finished third.

Lockhart ran into trouble in semifinals with a 12-3 loss to fourth seeded John Foutz (36-5) of Bayfield and wrestled and went on to wrestle to a third-place finish in the tournament.

Sophomores Ben Koch (126, 33-11), Jeffrey Griffith (160, 23-17), and Eli Miramontes (220, 12-17) also qualified for state. Koch was seeded seventh and finished second.

Griffith was seeded fourth and placed fourth, advancing to consolation finals on a 17-7 MD win over third-seeded Ruben Samuelson of Basalt.

Miramontes, who started wrestling this year, was seeded seventh and placed fourth. After all the matches were wrestled and all the awards presented, Miramontes defended his state qualification by pinning challenger Asa Grice of Grand Valley in a wrestle-back.

"This was a happy moment," said Curtis.

The team is young, but that's okay, said Curtis. "It'll be good for them to have some state experience."

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