Delta wrestling team wins Rumble in the Rockies Dual Tournament

RIFLE — The overall progression of the Delta High School wrestling team showed on Saturday.

With five Delta wrestlers finishing unbeaten, and five dual victories, capped by a 52-28 victory against Rifle, the Panthers won their first tournament title of the season at the 10-team Rumble in the Rockies Dual Tournament at Rifle High School.

“That’s one thing that’s probably on every coach’s mind is whether or not you’re going to peak at the right time,” Delta coach Clayton Curtis said. “Some coaches don’t want their wrestlers to peak too early, and you don’t want them to peak too late.

“I feel like we’re getting ready to peak,” Curtis continued. “I feel like this was a good indication of that.”

The Panthers blew through their pool, defeating Grand Valley (50-12), Montezuma-Cortez (59-15), Hayden (59-12) and Hotchkiss (46-30) before defeating the Bears in the tournament’s first-place dual. Delta’s top lower weights wrestler, 103-pounder Mykal DeHerrera, improved to 30-1 thanks to a pin of Rifle’s Rogelo Navarro in 55 seconds.

Delta has had respectable tournaments all season, finishing seventh at the Warrior Classic and second to Paonia at its own tournament, with finishes of third and fourth place at Alamosa and Montrose, respectively. Saturday’s finish, Clayton said, showed a lot.

“We were missing those points that some of these guys usually don’t score,” the coach said.” Today they did. They stepped it up.”

Shane Anderson (112 pounds), Irvin Hernandez (130), Nathan Trujillo (145) and Dylan Taylor (152) also went unbeaten for the Panthers. Trujillo improved to 27-6, one win more than Taylor (26-6). Anderson moved to 24-7, Hernandez is now 19-11 and Rudy Fantin, 135-pounds, moved to 4-1 on the day and 28-5 overall with a 1-minute pin of Rifle’s Coy Zang.

The Bears won each of their duals until the final to win their pool, topping Soroco (59-3), Moffat County (43-30), Coal Ridge (54-27) and Pueblo West (42-36). Rifle and Delta had a scheduled dual Wednesday, which was canceled because of the death of Rifle junior Austin Booth, who passed away Monday from severe flu symptoms.The Bears got a 5-0 performance from 140-pounder Larry Schmueser, who improved to 27-3 overall with an 11-2 major decision against Delta’s Morgan McCracken. Another notable performance came from Navarro, who came into the tournament 2-10 but won his first four matches before losing to DeHerrera on his final match of the day. Rifle 160-pounder A.J. Cordova also finished 5-0 Saturday.

Schmueser dominated each of his matches, yet feels there’s plenty of room for improvement with the district and state tournament fast approaching.

“I’m pretty small for a 40-pounder,” Schmueser said. “I could build up a little more strength to make every match a done deal. I’m pretty good as far as quickness right now, but I could get a little better.”

Grand Valley 160-pounder Michael Salazar was the only member of the Cardinals to go unbeaten on the day, capping his performance with a pin of Pueblo West’s Steve Marquez in 5 minutes, 7 seconds.


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