Panthers’ progress

Delta tops Palisade in dual for first time in more than 10 years

Fruita Monument’s Chase Clayton gets the upper hand Thursday night in his 195-pound match with Montrose’s Davis Powers. Clayton pinned Powers, but Montrose won the dual.

As much as high school wrestling is about February and the postseason, it was a little about January for Delta High School when it faced Palisade on Thursday.

Delta head coach Clayton Curtis didn’t know exactly how many years it had been since the Panthers had beaten Palisade in a dual, but he said it had been more than 10. Now, it’s back to zero.

Delta turned the tide in several key matches, including an overtime match at 182 pounds in which Alfredo Rosales followed an escape with a takedown and a pin to put the Panthers ahead 31-22 en route to a 49-25 victory.

Prior to Rosales’ heroics, Delta likely got a 12-point swing in the team score at 160. Palisade’s D.J. Garner scored the initial takedown and two back points. Then, leading 6-1, he was close to putting Cordell Stroud on his back again when Stroud rolled through and put Garner on his back. Seconds later, Stroud had a pin in 1 minute, 29 seconds, and Delta led 25-16.

Zane Stewart pulled the Bulldogs back within three points with his second-period pin at 170, setting the stage for Rosales and Palisade’s Shane Sarnac at 182.

Rosales looked to have a 2-1 decision in hand when Sarnac couldn’t pop his head at the third-period buzzer, but the referee called stalling on Rosales and awarded Sarnac a point, forcing overtime. After neither wrestler scored a takedown in the initial one-minute overtime, Rosales rode Sarnac out for 30 seconds in the first half of the second overtime, then took his turn on the bottom. He escaped within two seconds, turned into Sarnac, took him down and scored the pin with 12.4 seconds left in the overtime.

Rosales said he knew the match was important for his team, and he didn’t want Palisade to tie the team score or take the lead against him. He also said he could tell Sarnac was “dead tired” going into the final 30-second overtime.

Curtis said the Panthers’ big men fed off the momentum of that victory. Kyle Collins followed with a pin at 195; Lino Ortiz got all he could handle from Palisade’s Armando Cabriales until Ortiz got a reversal that led to a pin with 12 seconds left in the match to clinch the team win; and Marcus Garcia notched a first-period pin at 285 for a 49-22 lead.

“Coach told us it was a crucial win,” Rosales said of the dual. “He told us we could win this one. It’s all mental.”

Palisade coach Brian Rush said his team had several matches that could have but didn’t go the Bulldogs’ way, or the outcome could have been different, but he commended the Panthers for taking those matches from the Bulldogs.

“Delta did a good job against us,” Rush said.

Rush expects his wrestlers will learn from the experience as they focus on February.

“We have three weeks,” he said. “We’re going back and working on a few things. We’ll get back to a few basic things, and we’ll definitely work on conditioning.”

Both teams made easy work of Summit earlier in the evening. Delta beat Summit 69-10, and Palisade followed with a 74-3 win over the Tigers, who forfeited six weight classes in each dual.

Montrose 39, Fruita Monument 30: Host Montrose won five of the final six matches to rally past Fruita Monument in a Southwestern League dual.

The Wildcats led 27-18 after Colt Chatfield won by pin at 220 pounds, but the Indians claimed the next five matches: Jesus Casillas scored a pin in 43 seconds at 285; Terrell Banuelos won a 7-2 decision at 106; Emanuel Sandoval edged Jared Seely 1-0 at 113; Chase Hardings got a first-period pin at 120; and Jeremiah Banuelos claimed a 5-1 win at 126, putting Montrose ahead 39-27 and sealing the dual.

“We won six matches, they won eight, and four that they won were by pin, and you can’t give up pins and win duals,” Fruita Monument coach Dan Van Hoose said. “We were a little flat tonight. I think we overlooked them, and they outwrestled us.”

Aidan Woomer lost by injury default at 160 to Marcus Velasquez, who is ranked second in the state in 4A. Woomer had lost to Velasquez by one point in a match earlier in the season, Van Hoose said. Giving up six points instead of three at that weight hurt, but Woomer “landed funny on his elbow and tweaked his shoulder,” Van Hoose said, and the coach decided continuing was not worth the risk.

The dual loss was the first of the season for Fruita Monument, which dropped to 12-1.

“It could be a good wakeup call,” Van Hoose said. “We’ll see how they respond. Hopefully we’ll have our full lineup back at the league dual (tournament),” which decides the league champion.


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