Running out of Daylight: Palisade’s Mason Day focused on senior wrestling season

Palisade 135-pounder Mason Day works on his technique during practice at Palisade High School. Day is putting extra emphasis on his senior year. The Bulldogs host a multiteam tournament on Saturday.



QUICKREAD

Palisade Invitational

When: 9 a.m., Saturday, Palisade High School

Teams: Cedaredge, Coal Ridge, Eagle Valley, Fruita Monument, Grand Valley, Montezuma-Cortez, Montrose, Nucla, Palisade, Paonia

Tickets: $10 adults, $7 students (all-day pass); $6 adults, $4 students (half-day pass); $5 adults, $3 students (finals).



Mason Day has kept a steady, businesslike approach on the wrestling mat.

The Palisade High School wrestler has shown improvement each day, getting closer to knocking off some of the top wrestlers in the 135-pound weight class.

He qualified for the Class 4A state tournament for the first time last year and came close to upsetting the top-ranked Class 3A wrestler last week.

The senior, though, is about out of chances.

“I have to give it my all since it’s my senior year,” Day said. “I’m not (wrestling) in college, so this is it.”

Day is ready to move on to other things after high school, he said.

That makes this season all the more important.

The fourth-ranked wrestler in Class 4A placed at the Warrior Classic last month for the first time. He won his first Jackpot Duals title last week and nearly pinned Berthoud’s No. 1-ranked Robbie Workman in the semifinals of the Montrose Invitational last weekend. Workman wrestled in the same weight class and classification as Day last year, placing sixth.

“He gets after it,” Palisade coach Brian Rush said. “Any given day he can beat anyone and that’s what makes it exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing him at regionals. If he does the right stuff there, we’ll get him to state and he can go a long way.”

Day (16-8) has won 10 of his past 12 matches. The Bulldogs wrestle tonight at Eagle Valley, then host the Palisade Invitational at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Day took third last year at 130 pounds.

“I always go for the pin,” Day said. “I try to get it over with quick. There’s always a chance (your opponent) can come back and catch you in something. It’s better to get it done quick and pin him.”

Day, though, wants more than to place at state.

“The state championship is my goal,” Day said. “I want to win it.”

“That’s the attitude he should have,” Rush said. “He’s wrestled some of the better kids, and he’s seen he can go with the best. If his head’s right, he can (win a state title).”

It’s a long road to becoming a wrestler capable of challenging for a state title, and Day’s been on that road.

“It’s really maturity,” Day said. “Once you get mature enough to understand that you can be the best and beat the best kids out there, that’s what takes you to the state finals.”

It takes time and effort in addition to maturity to become a state champion.

“When you’re not good enough, you have to do extra stuff, like go to wrestling camps in the summer and extra stuff after practice,” he said. “I usually push through it. If I can’t beat a kid, I just keep trying. You have to persevere and keep going. You can’t give up.”

Day is one of seven Palisade wrestlers ranked by On the Mat. The Bulldogs are ranked ninth as a team.

“The few really good kids we have, we try to wrestle each other so we can get better,” Day said. “If you wrestle someone that’s better than you, it only makes you better. If you wrestle someone not as good as you, you don’t get anything out of it.”


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