Mohawk haircuts serving Bulldogs well at state

Palisade’s Dalton Hannigan battles Elizabeth’s Gavriel Huston during the first round of the Class 4A state wrestling tournament Thursday night in Denver.

Palisade 132-pounder Daniel Salazar, sporting a Mohawk haircut, wrestles Lewis Palmer’s Nate Rykerd on Thursday during the Class 4A state wrestling tournament.

Glenwood Springs 106-pounder Miguel Vega, in red, defeated Ft. Lupton’s Ben Medina on Thursday night during the Class 4A state wrestling tournament in Denver.

DENVER — It’s a tradition that’s been around longer than the seniors.

This group is upholding it well.

The entire Palisade High School wrestling team got Mohawk haircuts and dyed their Mohawks blond for the Class 4A state tournament.

So far, Palisade is 5-3 with the new hairdos. The Bulldogs are in 8th place with 13.5 points through the first round Thursday night at the Pepsi Center

The Bulldogs cut and dyed their hair Tuesday night at Daniel Salazar’s house.

“It’s fun, it lets us relax,” Palisade senior Daniel Salazar said.

Zach Judis picked the hair color and style.

“Every year we try to dye it, but it came out wrong last year,” Salazar said. “We tried to bleach it maroon and it came out like normal hair color with a tint of red.”

They went back to bleached Mohawks because of Salazar’s second-place finish two years ago, senior Eddie Vial said.

Montrose advanced five of its six wrestlers to the quarterfinals. Only junior Jason Cooper lost. Kordell Bradshaw (138), Geordon Hudson (145), Marcus Velasquez (152) and Cole Panter (195) had pins.

“It’s good to get five through,” Montrose coach Kevin Passehl said. “We wrestled a little sluggish today, but for the first night, you kind of expect it. We’ve got to come out solid (today).”

The Indians are in 6th place with 18 points.

Delta’s three qualifiers all lost first-round decisions.

Salazar breezed through his 132-pound match, defeating Nate Rykerd of Lewis-Palmer by technical fall, 16-1

“The first match is always nerve-racking,” Salazar said. “You sit in a bus and a hotel for a day and a half. I made sure I warmed up well.”

A four-time state qualifier, Salazar wants more than one win at state. He wants a state title.

“I want to win it,” Salazar said. “This is my last chance, but I’ve got to take it one match at a time.”

Salazar was a state runner-up as a sophomore and took third last year. He placed sixth as a freshman.

Palisade seniors Vial (170) and Judis (182) won first-round matches. Brice Hawley lost to defending state champion Marcos Peralta at 160.

“I have a lot of friends on the team that are seniors,” Palisade junior Justin Ray said. “It’s going to be rough next year. I’m going to miss a lot of these guys. Daniel has always been my (practice) partner.”

Palisade sophomore Dalton Hannigan won a 6-2 decision at 120 pounds.

“The nerves were indescribable,” Hannigan said. “Every day it was worse and worse. Last year was really new. I didn’t know what to expect. This year, I know how things work.”

Ray, a junior, won a 7-2 decision at 126 pounds.

“I’m not going home empty-handed,” Ray said. “I want it bad.”

Ray didn’t place last year after taking sixth as a freshman.

“I was pretty tired,” Ray said. “I didn’t get the best warmup. I’m going to get a good rest (Thursday) night.”

Vial pinned Vista Ridge’s Josh Steinert in 56 seconds.

“That gave me the boost of confidence I needed,” Vial said.


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