Survivor, Pepsi Center: Bulldogs, Indians fare well in 4A

DENVER — The first day of the state wrestling tournament is all about survival.

For Palisade and Montrose, that mission was accomplished admirably.

Both squads advanced the majority of their entrants through Thursday’s first round of the Class 4A state tournament at the Pepsi Center. Palisade recorded wins in five of eight first-round bouts and Montrose fared even better, posting wins in five of its seven first-round matches.

Delta also had a solid first day, going 3-3 in the opening round.

The winners will compete in the state quarterfinals today; those who lost will aim to collect crucial team points in the consolation rounds.

“There were a couple more we were hoping to maybe get, but we still got five of eight,” Palisade coach Brian Rush said.

“We just have to come back (Friday) and get those kids who lost back through. The kids that won, we need one more match for them so they can place.

“It’s always huge to get through this first one and get the nerves settled down and get a good start to the state tournament. We went 5-3 and the kids are feeling pretty good. Overall, the kids wrestled pretty well. We just have to show up (Friday).”

Palisade advanced Dalton Hannigan (112), sophomore Justin Ray (119), Daniel Salazar (125), Kyle Hatcher (189) and heavyweight Joey Dupre.

Montrose, like the Bulldogs, kept itself in contention for the 4A team crown. Competing in the quarterfinals today for the Indians will be 125-pounder Geordan Hudson (who finished third at 112 pounds last year), in addition to Drew Shumann (130), Kordell Bradshaw (135), Marcus Velasquez (140), and Bryce Gaber (171).

Palisade finished the first day in a tie for fourth place with 16 points. Montrose is tied for sixth with 15.5 points. Windsor leads the field with 22 points, just ahead of Discovery Canyon (21) and Broomfield (16.5).

“I’ve been to bigger tournaments than this, but last year, just because is it the state tournament, I think I kind of got a little awed,” said Ray, who finished sixth at 112 pounds last year.

“Last year, I think I was seeded third and I lost my first match, and it was really hard to come back. This feels really good. I’m looking to place pretty high this year, and I think this is a pretty good start.”

Senior Mykal DeHerrera (103), senior Rudy Fantin (135) and senior Michael Patton (215) will be competing for Delta in today’s quarterfinals.


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