HS Wrestling: Reigning state champ Dalton Hannigan nursing injury, looks to repeat

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Palisade's wrestling program has been extremely competitive year after year. In the past nine seasons they've taken seven Western Slope League titles and three regional titles. Through it all they've only had one member of their team take the state title - that is Dalton Hannigan.

As a sophomore, Dalton Hannigan was close, but not close enough. As a junior, he was unstoppable. Now, as a senior, he's looking to repeat.

"I'm stoked to come in on the season," said Hannigan. "It's my last shot. I'm defending my title."

There's just one thing standing in his way - his ankle. Multiple sprains have taken their toll; now he's strapped into a boot until January.

"We'll make sure that we have things taped up," said head coach Lonnie Tate. "I don't see it holding him back. He's had ankle injuries through high school."

But those injuries haven't stopped his drive to push through.

"There's not really any worries on the ankle or anything," said Hannigan. "It's already starting to feel better. I mean I should be close to fine going into break."

And when he's ready, he's all in, but everyone knows it won't be an easy journey to get back to the top.

"Having a target on your back once you've won it, people are looking out for you and the goal is to beat the state champion," said coach.

So Hannigan is prepared to put in the hours

"[It will take] a bunch of extra work, just going to the gym after practice, getting the extra sets in, one more lift on all my sets, just I have to come in and give it everything I have to hopefully bring home another one," said Hannigan.

Dalton will look to bring home that second straight title. If he is able to climb his way to the top and repeat, he will become the program's first multi-champion since the mid 90's.

Read the original version of this article at www.nbc11news.com.

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