Five wrestlers advance to state

Cordova High’s wrestling squad did well at Regionals in Anchorage on Dec. 8-10.   Five of Coach Ron Horton’s grapplers will be heading back to the big city for the 1A/2A/3A at the Alaska Airlines Center this weekend.

Horton has been coaching wrestling in Cordova for 27 years, working with youngsters from ages 4 through 18.  This year’s 12-man high school squad is a reflection of those efforts.

“It’s a great group of highly competitive kids”, said Horton.  “The best thing about them is how well they support and encourage each other.”

A classic example is how the group rooted for Anthony Delpino, a senior who wrestles in the always tough 170 weight class.

“Anthony did not win a single match his first three years”, said Horton.  “This year, when he finally picked up his first win ever at Valdez, the entire squad went crazy.  It was a highlight of the season for all of us.”

CHS wrestlers advancing to state, listed by name, year, weight, and regional finish, are: Augie Jewell, sophomore, 120 lb, First;  Andrew Werner, senior, 195 lb, Second; Stelios Gialopsos, senior, 285 lb, Second; Zach Hamberger, senior, 160 lb, Third, and Dauri Melo, freshman, 113 lb, Third.

Horton was especially excited about Melo’s success.  “A freshman advancing to State is almost unheard of.  In the decisive match, he was down 10-0 in points and came back to win in the final seconds.”

Each team at Regionals selects their Sportsmanship Award Winner.  For the fourth year in row, the Cordova squad chose Anthony Delpino.

“No surprise there”, said Horton.  “He has been an inspiration for us his entire career.”

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Dick Shellhorn, author, reporter, ref and grandpa, can be reached at shorn@gci.net. Shellhorn was born and raised in Cordova, Alaska, and has lived there his entire life. He has been writing sports stories for the Cordova Times for over 40 years. In his Cordova Chronicles features, he writes about the history and characters of this Alaska town. Alaska Press Club awarded Shellhorn first place for Best Humor column in 2016 and third place in 2017.