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High school wrestling: Delta dominates 3A Super Regional meet

CEDAR CITY — It is all about mentality for the Delta High School wrestling team.

Head coach Josh Wright said the Rabbits went into the 3A Super Regional at Southern Utah University's Centrum Arena just as they do every tournament — expecting to win.

They did just that in a big way. They claimed seven individual titles to post a phenomenal team score of 837 on their way to the super regional championship.

Delta wrestlers were in all but four of the individual championship matches and, interestingly, two Rabbits grappled with each other to decide the championships in the 125, 130 and 135 weight classes.

Canyon View placed second with 453 while Cedar was third with 364. Hurricane (352) was a close fourth. The Falcons garnered two individual championships with Michael Reeves (103 pounds) and Cameron Causey (189). Hurricane's Brian Scott (215 pounds) and Daniel Nielson (285) also earned individual championships.

Wright said mental toughness was a key to the Rabbits' victory. According to the four-year coach, even the Delta wrestlers that lost their matches instilled fear in their opponents.

"It's a belief," Wright said of his team's positive attitude. "It's contagious. It starts with the kids and ends with the kids. It's not me."

Delta wrestlers echoed their coach's sentiment, saying team members press each other to succeed.

"I couldn't have done it without the varsity pushing me," said junior varsity wrestler Jackson Nelson, the champion of the 171-pound weight class at the regional.

The feeling is mutual among Rabbit wrestlers, no matter at what level they wrestle. Varsity standout Jace Abbott, winner of the 130-pound weight class championship, credited a junior varsity teammate for his success.

"He doesn't let me slack in practice," Abbott said.

One wrestler of which Wright was especially proud was 119-pounder Taggart Harris, a senior who won his first-ever varsity tourney at the regional. Other Delta wrestlers winning championships in their respective weight classes were Derek Peterson (135), Christian Hatch (140), Justin Penn (145) and Brendan Willoughby (160).

Peterson said Delta wrestlers mentally break down their opponents.

"(We) make them want to quit," he said.

In addition to the Rabbits' mentality, fan support is a major contributing factor to the team's success, Wright noted.

Wright's squad is confident going into state, feeling that Wasatch and Morgan will be the teams to beat. Canyon View can always be a threat as well, Wright explained, saying that Falcon head coach Dallas Lowry is doing a good job and helping his wrestlers believe in themselves. This season, the Falcons won the Region 9 championship for the second year in a row.

"Our boys stepped it up another place this year," Lowry said. "We have overall higher places this year (for state)."