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Photo by Tamie Meck Paonia sophomore heavyweight Levi Peterson wrestles at the Central Warrior Classic in December, where he finished fifth. Peterson, who could wrestle at 220 but prefers the heavyweight division, is one of two defending regional champions for Paonia. Paonia will send a full team into the tournament, which opens Friday at Montrose.
Photo by Tamie Meck Wrestling at 138 pounds, Paonia senior Sackett Chesnik works toward a pin over junior Colby Wilson last Thursday at the annual Paonia-Delta dual. Both wrestlers will compete this Friday and Saturday at their respective regional tournaments — Paonia in the 2A Region 1 and Delta in 3A Region 1 — at the Montrose Events Center. Chesnik is ranked first in the region.

Paonia will wrestle 14 at regional tournament

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The Hotchkiss and Paonia wrestling teams will open the 2A Region 1 wrestling tournament this Friday at 4 p.m., at the Montrose Events Center.

Paonia High School is hosting the tournament. Seeding and brackets will be posted on TrackWrestling.com Friday prior to the 4 p.m. start time. Saturday's semifinal and consolation matches will begin at 9 a.m. The tournament will be wrestled on five mats and consecutively with the Class 3A Region 1 tournament being hosted by Delta High School.

Paonia will send a full team to the 2A Region 1 tournament. Wrestlers have dealt with injuries and illnesses, including the flu, this season, said head coach Nate Wiggins. But for the first time all year, everyone is "fairly healthy. I guess if there's a good time to have a full team, it's now."

Based on On the Mat regional breakdowns, Paonia is favored to win the tournament. Seven Eagles are expected to get a top-three seeding. Of those, four returning state qualifiers will likely be seeded first: Sackett Chesnik (138), Anthony Felice (195), and defending regional champions Grey Neal (160) and Levi Peterson (285).

Junior Zeb Etter will compete for his third state qualification. At 113, sophomore Reagan Todd will vie for his first state qualification after placing sixth in the region last February.

Sophomore Anthony Miller, who placed fourth in the region at 182 pounds, was cleared to wrestle after breaking his leg, said Wiggins.

Juniors Carlos Lozano (152) and Austyn Norris are seeking their first state qualifications. Four freshmen, Damon York (106), Calen Utterback (126), Dawson Morgan (132) and Trenton Gaston (170) will also seek a top-four finish.

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