Bulldogs hold their own to win Palisade Invitational
Dalton Hannigan has dreamed of winning a high school varsity wrestling tournament for years.
That dream became a reality Saturday when the Palisade High School freshman won the Palisade Invitational’s 112-pound title at Palisade High School.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Hannigan said. “It’s indescribable. I’ve been waiting for this moment since I started wrestling.”
Hannigan, who started wrestling four years ago, was one of four individual champions for the Class 4A 10th-ranked Bulldogs, who won the team title with 197.5 points. The other Palisade champions were Justin Ray (119), Kyle Hatcher (189) and Trevan Gardner (215).
Montrose took second place with 184.5 points. The No. 4 Indians had five champions, including the tournament’s outstanding wrestlers in Drew Schumann and Bryce Gaber.
“I knew (the Indians) were creeping up on us, but it’s like every match, every point you get is going to help,” Palisade coach Brian Rush said. “Our heavier guys came through at the end and secured the victory for us.”
Paonia was third with 157 points and two individual champions. Fruita Monument finished fourth (86.5 points) with one champion and Grand Valley was fifth (83.5) with two winners. Cedaredge took seventh.
Hannigan, who moved up to 10th in the rankings, defeated Montrose’s Jeremiah Banuelos 7-4 to help Palisade win the team title.
“That’s the first time I wrestled him. I’ve been waiting to wrestle him all year,” Hannigan said. “I finally got the match. I’m glad I got it. It was a tough match. I kept going hard.”
Ray won the 119-pound title with a 2-0 victory over Montezuma-Cortez’s Ryan Daves, ranked three spots ahead of Ray.
“It felt good,” Ray said. “He’s a tough wrestler. I beat him in the Warrior, but he beat me (last week).”
Hatcher pinned Cedaredge’s Cole Caywood in 1:34 in the 189-pound final and Gardner defeated Paonia’s Myles Cumpston 11-3.
“Hatcher did a good job and hit a nice move,” Rush said. “Gardner wrestled a smart match and kept control the whole time.”
Geordon Hudson started a run of four consecutive individual titles for Montrose, defeating Palisade’s Daniel Salazar 4-2 in the 125-pound final.
It was Hudson’s first victory over Salazar in five matches. Salazar defeated Hudson four times two years ago.
“I was looking forward to this match,” Hudson said. “I thought I’d never wrestle him again. I thought he’d stay at his weight and I’d grow. I ended up getting a second chance and I took advantage of it.”
Schumann followed with a 19-2 technical fall victory over Paonia’s Ty Coats at 130. Kordell Bradshaw defeated Paonia’s Adrian Lopez 13-10 at 135 and Marcus Velasquez won the 140 title with a 7-3 win over Neal Schultz of Coal Ridge.
“This was something I needed to do,” Bradshaw said. “The coaches brought me in and said I needed to step it up. I’ve been looking lazy the last couple weeks.”
Gaber pinned Paonia’s Kyler Bear in 3:24 for the 171-pound title.
Fruita had five of its 10 wrestlers place in the top four. Ian Konrad won the 103-pound title, pinning Grand Valley’s Cody Pfau for the championship.
Matt Bishop (112), Ryan Barakat (130), Dallas Bernal (152) and Aidan Woomer (160) took third place.
“We’re beginning to turn a corner a little bit,” Fruita coach Dan Van Hoose said. “It’s great to get our first tournament champion of the season.”
Grand Valley’s Emelio Rueles (145) and David Witt (152) were champions as were Paonia’s K.C. Christian (160) and Zach Solaas (285).