Delta's Stroud scores victory in debut at 4A state tourney
DENVER — The lights were bright, the crowd was big and the nerves were jumping.
But Delta’s Cordell Stroud had a victorious and memorable debut Thursday at the Class 4A state wrestling tournament.
Wrestling at 182 pounds, Stroud (32-13) grabbed a quick takedown, rolled up his opponent and scored a pin over Alfonso Nunez of Arvada in 1 minute, 15 seconds.
“I knew when I got the takedown that I had him,” Stroud said.
With this being his first trip to the state tournament, the Delta senior said the Pepsi Center was a little overwhelming.
“It’s a big arena,” he said with a grin. “It’s a little intimidating at times, but you just have to work through it.”
He said the win, coupled with the big stage and raucous crowd, made it extra special.
“There’s nothing else like it; it was great,” he said.
Stroud and Marcus Garcia were the only two Delta wrestlers who advanced to the 4A quarterfinals.
Garcia (37-8) battled to a 4-3 win at heavyweight over Thomas Rydynski of Mesa Ridge.
Day One was stressful for a number of wrestlers.
Nerves were definitely a factor for Palisade’s Dalton Hannigan (12-2) and Rifle’s Dallas Rohrig (24-3) at 132 pounds. Both picked up wins but both had tough matches.
Rohrig was tied at 1-1 with 1:25 remaining in the match when he took over to pick up a 6-1 victory.
Hannigan finally pushed the lead to 3-0 in the second before earning a pin the third.
Two of Palisade’s three wrestlers picked up first-round wins. Randen Espinoza joined Hannigan in the quarterfinals after a hard-fought 4-3 win at 106 pounds.
Hannigan is looking for a second straight state title after winning at 126 pounds last year. An ankle injury limited the number of his matches and he came in as the No. 8 seed at 132 pounds. That means he will face the No. 1-seeded Marcus Martinez (31-3) of Pueblo South today in the quarterfinals.
Braxton Stewart had a close match for the Bulldogs, nearly scoring an escape with 20 seconds left in his 170-pound match, but Mike Espinoza of Pueblo South held on for the 4-3 win.
Rifle had all three of its wrestlers advance to the quarterfinals, with Clayton Coombs winning at 195 and Jose Prado (29-9) earning an 8-2 win at heavyweight.
Coombs (33-9) had a powerful first match, pinning Dillon Dreher of Northridge in the first period.
“Yeah, I was nervous,” he said. “I think I made a statement to everyone that I’m here.”
After losing a tough match and settling for third place at regionals, Coombs likes his role and chances as the underdog.
“They won’t see me coming as much,” he said with a grin.
Montrose had two of its four wrestlers advance with wins. Terrell Banuelos won 7-3 at 106 and heavyweight Jesus Casillas earned a quick pin at 1:21.
Matt Sandoval (138) and Conner Lawson (182) both lost their first-round matches.
Delta’s Hayes McCracken (120), Dayran Urquhart (138), Derek Horn (152), Daniel Brown (160) and Alejandro Medina (220) all lost to drop into the consolation bracket.
The Western Slope is well represented in the heavyweight division with Casillas, Garcia and Prado making the final eight.
In the team standings, Thompson Valley leads Pueblo South 25-22.
The 4A quarterfinals begin at 12:45 p.m. today, with semifinal matches beginning at 7 p.m.