Hannigan, Garcia win regional titles for Palisade, which sends five to state tourney
MONTROSE — Dalton Hannigan and Trevor Garcia each won regional titles, but they credited each other and senior captain Justin Ray — who finished second at 132 pounds — for their victories.
The three led Palisade to a third-place finish in the Class 4A Region 4 tournament Saturday at Montrose High School.
No. 4-ranked Thompson Valley won the team title with 231 points. Pueblo Centennial was second with 176. Palisade scored 164.5. Delta was fourth with 141.5. Montrose placed seventh and Rifle was 10th.
Hannigan won his second regional title in three years. He defeated Thompson Valley’s Ben Hewson 13-4 in the 126-pound final.
“Justin, Trevor and I every day after practice run more,” Hannigan said. “We really want to be standing on the podium at the end of the year. We push each other every day.
“I owe everything I have to those two. They push me every day. We always talk about being on top of that podium in front of all those people (at state).”
Garcia defeated Justin Ramos of Montezuma-Cortez 5-3 to win the 145-pound title.
“It proves I can take on these good wrestlers,” Garcia said. “It helps having Justin and Dalton pushing you every day after practice. We try to get ourselves more conditioned than others. I have the heart to keep pushing.”
Jesus Casillas led Montrose with a heavyweight region title as the senior defeated Pueblo Centennial’s Demitrius Miller 3-2 in overtime in the final.
“It was a tough final,” Casillas said. “He beat me at the Warrior (Classic). I had to return the favor.”
He will be joined at state by four teammates: Terrell Banuelos (106), Matt Sandoval (138) and Marcus Velasquez (160) were runners-up; and Emmanuel Sandoval (113) placed fourth.
Four wrestlers from each weight class qualify for state this week at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Palisade’s Randon Espinoza (106) and Braxton Stewart (182) will join Hannigan, Ray and Garcia at state later this week.
Espinoza rallied to win four matches in the consolation bracket, including a win over the Pueblo Centennial wrestler that beat him in the quarterfinals. Espinoza pinned Keano Hernandez in 1:43.
“After I got my head out of my butt, I did really good,” Espinoza said. “I started to really want to wrestle. It felt good getting revenge on the Pueblo (Centennial) kid. I was ready for it. I wanted revenge so bad.”
Delta qualified six wrestlers for state, and five are going for the first time. Shane Anderson is the only returning state qualifier.
Seniors Hunter Brasfield, Alfredo Rosales and Kyle Collins are making their first trip in their final year.
“It feels good,” Rosales said. “There was a lot of hard work put in. Coach told me, ‘Don’t let it go to waste.’ ... Coach told me I have a chance, but I’ve got to work for it.”
Rosales had to go to two overtimes to defeat Stewart, who came back and won a wrestleback to qualify for state.
Rifle qualified four wrestlers for state. The Bears’ Oscar Ruelas (120) qualified for the first time. Isaac Rider (126) and Dallas Rohrig (138) are going for a second time, but both needed to win wrestlebacks to qualify in the fourth spot.
Rider scored an escape with one second left in regulation to force overtime, where he scored a takedown for a 3-1 victory over Durango’s Clay Dillon.
Coy Zang (132) is making his third trip for Rifle.
“I’m happy,” Rifle coach John Wiesniewski said. “I would’ve liked to get a few more in there.
“We didn’t have a good start. We were one-for-eight in the semifinals and consolation. Our biggest problem was ourselves. We’d go for a move and stop. We didn’t finish, but the boys fought.”