Delgado wins 4th state title, but Hermiston falls short

TRI-CITY HERALD February 26, 2012 

PORTLAND -- Hermiston won the individual battles, but for the first time in six seasons, the Bulldogs did not win the team war.

Joey Delgado became the first Hermiston wrestler to win four state titles -- and just the 20th in Oregon history -- and was joined on the top step of the podium by teammates Tyler Berger and Abraham Rodriguez. However, the Bulldogs came up short of defending their five consecutive state titles at the Class 5A championships at Memorial Coliseum.

Dallas unsteated Hermiston as team champs, holding off second-place Pendleton by 14 points and the third-place Bulldogs by 19 1/2. Churchill finished a close fourth, two points behind Hermiston as the two teams each had three champions.

Even with four finalists, Hermiston was out of the title running before the championship matches began. But that couldn't take any luster from Delgado's brilliant career after he beat Pendleton's Pyper McCallum 17-3 in the championship.

The senior finishes with seven state titles on his high school resume -- four individual and three team titles -- and will take his 193-3 career record to Oregon State.

Berger, the sophomore nephew of head coach Curt Berger, put the finishing touches on an unbeaten season with a 10-3 win over Sherwood senior Daniel Leonard in the 132 final.

It was a dominating performance all weekend for Berger, who advanced to the final match with three pins, finishing the season with a 42-0 record and his second state title.

Rodriguez, who placed third last season, beat Churchill's Chase Kearney 7-3 to cap his career with gold. The 152-pounder missed the first part of the season with a rib injury but finished 34-1.

Hermiston's other finalist, sophomore Isaac Aguilar, finished second at 113 after losing 4-0 to Marshfield sophomore Thaddeus Nelson.

The Bulldogs also got medals from sophomore AJ Garcia (fifth at 106), senior CJ Dircksen (sixth, 126) and junior Lupe Delgado (fourth, 145), Joey's cousin.

Riverside takes two: Hans Rockwell capped a perfect freshman campaign (42-0) with an 11-9 win over Willamina sophomore Coty Brown for the 3A title at 106.

Senior teammate Briton Hansen won the crown at 182 with a 3-0 victory over Dayton's Daniel Dickson. It's the first state title for Hansen -- he placed third last year -- and follows on the footsteps of brother Brigham's three state titles (2000-11).

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