PASCO -- Hermiston wrestler Joey Delgado won't back down from anyone on the mat, but the same can't be said about his opponents.
Delgado beat Walla Walla's Anthony Stalder on Friday to reach the finals of the Best of the West tournament at Pasco High School, then pinned Kellen Pelzel of Cen-tralia in 3:12 in the 145-pound finals.
"Really, this year kids are backing up. They don't want to wrestle me," said Delgado, a three-time Oregon state champion. "They want to keep it close. I need to keep pressure on them the whole time."
Stalder, who finished third, trailed just 2-0 after the first round, but it didn't take long for Delgado to stretch his lead to 8-1 before registering his fourth pin of the day.
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Delgado had an 8-0 lead on Pelzel before putting him on his back in the second round.
The title gave Delgado three this season, having previously won the Inland Empire and Tri-State tournaments. He was undefeated last year and is 18-0 this year, but it's not something about which he brags.
"I make sure I go to national tournaments and get beat," he said. "There's always someone better than you. In the end, I want to make sure there's no one tougher than me. I work hard and make sure I'm focused. It's always fun to come here and get 10 matches before Christmas. For the young guys, it gives them a chance to work on their moves."
Hermiston finished third in the team race Friday after placing second to Caldwell (Idaho) on Thursday in the dual portion of the tournament. Caldwell, in its first visit to the Best of the West, won the team title.
"They have had a good weekend," said Caldwell coach Adam Freeman, whose team won individual titles at 113, 120 and 132. "It's our first year here, and it has been great. We got in a ton of matches and experience."
Caldwell, second in the team standings last year at the Idaho 5A state wrestling tournament, defeated Hermiston in the team dual.
"That was really good and tight until the last three matches," Freeman said. "The Hermiston kids are physical and tough. We had a lot of fun, I'm sure we'll be back."
Hermiston crowned two champs Friday, with sophomore Tyler Berger winning at 138 to join Delgado. Isaac Aguilar (113) and Lupe Delgado (152) finished second.
"For us, Christmas time is hard to get guys to go (to tournaments)," said Hermiston coach Curt Berger, who hinted that this is his final year with the Bulldogs. "I'm glad we are getting some guys in some matches."
Tyler Berger, who won Tri-State last weekend, pinned Pasco's Deondre Sparks in 5:43 after taking a 9-1 lead in the third round.
Pasco's Hugo Mabry won the 126-pound title with a 1-0 victory over Erick Garcia of Chelan. Mabry earned his point in the second round when Garcia was dinged for an illegal hold.
Timmy Martinez (120) finished second for Pasco, while Matt McCallum (132) was second for Kiona-Benton.
Cruz DelAngel of Kiona-Benton won the 170-pound title after Clarkston's Brock Beeler was disqualified for an elbow to the head. Beeler placed fifth at the 2A state meet last year.
Southridge's Connor Rosane (160) and Kevin Del-Angel (182) each placed third.
In the 285-pound title match, Connell's Tyson Brook was pinned by Mount Si's Josh Mitchell, last year's 3A state champion.
Mitchell, an all-state defensive lineman with a scholarship to Oregon State, pinned Brook in 1:30.
"It's a blast to come from football to this," said Brook, who tips the scales at a svelte 245. "Losing still sucks, but it makes you want it more the next time."
The loss was the first of the season for Brook (9-1), who placed fifth at state last season in his first year on the mats in high school.
"When I was little, I used to wrestle," said Brook, a 2A all-state defensive lineman. "My mom (Stephanie), her whole family was wrestlers, and she talked me into it. I'm having fun."
Best of the West
At Pasco HS
Team scores--Caldwell 165, Chelan 124.5, Hermiston 118.5, North Central 107, Kiona-Benton 101, Pasco 101, Centralia 99, Toppenish 87.5, Nampa 62.5, Southridge 61, Mount Si 59, Prairie 58.5, Mountain View 56, Centennial 51, Battle Ground 50, Connell 46.5, Lewiston 45.5, Clarkston 44, Columbia-Burbank 42, Lewis & Clark 42, Selah 38.5, Royal 35.5, Heritage 34.5, Walla Walla 29, Wenatchee 29, Moses Lake 28, Priest River 26, Skyview 25.5, Capital 25, Washougal 24, LaGrande 23, Chiawana 20, Evergreen 9, West Salem 4, Grandview 0.
106--Mikal Perales (Nam) p. Robert Gomez (Cald) 3:36. Third/fourth--Kyle Anson (Selah) t.f. Eli Clure (MtSi) 17-0. 113--Tony Gonzales (Cald) p. Isaac Aguilar (Herm) 1:00. Third/fourth--Sergio Morales (Topp) m.d. Kenny Jenks (NC) 16-6. 120--Felip Contreras (Cald) d. Timmy Martinez (Pasco) 5-3. Third/fourth--Carlos Hernandez (Topp) d. Daniel Percifield (Colb) 5-4. 126--Hugo Mabry (Pasco) d, Erick Garcia (Chel) 1-0. Third/fourth--Tyler Popkin (Priv) d. Joel Wiley (Prai) 8-3. 132--Jason Eavenson (Cald) p. Matt McCallum (KB) 2:43. Third/fourth--Danny Barajas (Roy) d. Jared Tso (Lwck) 11-7. 138--Tyler Berger (Herm) p. Deondre Sparks (Pasco) 5:43. Third/fourth--Aaron Arredondo (Topp) d. Izaec Quintanilla (NC) 4-3. 145--Joey Delgado (Herm) p. Kellen Pelzel (Centr) 3:12. Third/fourth--Anthony Stalder (WW) p. Shawn Speer (Bagr) 5:55. 152--Mitchell Bocook (NC) p. Lupe Delgado (Herm) 2:41. Third/fourth--Cole Riccardo (Centr) m.d. Tucker Simonton (Colb) 14-1. 160--Austin Dewey (Cente) p. Bryson Pierce (NC) 5:28. Third/fourth--Connor Rosane (Srdg) d. Alex Myrick (Roy) 8-6. 170--Cruz DelAngel (KB) won by DQ against Brock Beeler (Clks). Third/fourth--Brad Ferguson (Cald) d. Luke Arterbury (MtVw) 3-1. 182--Cole Schwartz (Chel) m.d. Cody Geary (Prai) 12-3. Third/fourth--Kevin Del-Angel (Srdg) p. Zack Grimm (Colb) 2:40. 195--Alex Cortez (Chel) d. Asa Schwartz (Chel) 3-2. Third/fourth--Greg Heinen (Conn) p. Kyzer Bailey (Centr) :40. 220--Raul Pech (Topp) d. Garret Pannkuk (Centr) 4-3. Third/fourth--Cody Zyph (KB) d. JW Peirson (Namp) 8-5. 285--Josh Mitchell (MtSi) p. Tyson Brook (Conn) 1:30. Third/fourth--Ignacio Molinero (Wena) d. Corey Brumbaugh (KB) 3-2.