Delgado signs with South Dakota State

Apr. 22, 2013 @ 09:25 PM

His first couple years in high school, Chaas Delgado was far from being an elite-level wrestler. In fact, as a sophomore, he gave up playing sports entirely.

But upon returning as a junior, Delgado, now a senior at Trinity, dedicated himself to becoming stronger and improving his technique to where now he has signed with NCAA Division I South Dakota State to continue his career.

“It’s great. It’s an indescribable feeling — one of the greatest feelings,” says Delgado, the son of Sean and Leslie of Trinity and the reigning NCHSAA 2A heavyweight state champion.

After starting in middle school with the Trinity Mat Dawgs, he continued wrestling into high school at Trinity, one of the area’s top programs. But it was very difficult for him to crack the lineup as a freshman, particularly at heavyweight.

Then, his sophomore year, he decided he didn’t want to play sports altogether. After the year away, though, he came back to wrestling and focused that much harder on doing what he needed to do to be successful.

“I really didn’t want to do much of anything,” he says of stepping away his sophomore year. “I’d played several sports throughout the years. So, I was constantly playing throughout the year and I just got burned out.

“I ended up getting talked into coming back my junior year, and I really liked it. I just realized I was a lot better than I was before. I didn’t want to give that up, and I realized that this was the sport I wanted to do. So, I wanted to stay with it.”

He spent endless hours lifting weight to get stronger and working hard on his technique to become a better wrestler. The hard work began to pay dividends during his junior season, in which the Bulldogs won the 2A state title, and into his senior season. 

“He’s been like a sponge the last year or two,” Trinity coach Kyle Spencer says. “Anytime I showed him something different or we worked on something, he caught on to it and really excelled at it. And you wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but he’s got really very good feet — very good feet, balance and athleticism.”

The defining moment came for Delgado in October during the Super 32 Challenge — his first national tournament and one of the country’s biggest preseason tournaments. He finished seventh, which was a huge boost for his confidence. 

“Going there, I really didn’t think I’d place — and then I did,” he says. “So, that was kind of a wake-up call for me. It was really nice. It was kind of my first big accomplishment.”

Although he also considering such schools as Gardner-Webb and Maryland, plus several Division II schools, he ultimately chose the Jackrabbits of the Western Wrestling Conference, who are coached by former NCAA champion Chris Bono.

“I really liked South Dakota State from the beginning and especially when I went to visit,” says Delgado, who wants to study exercise sports science. “I liked the coaching staff, the kids, the school — everything about it felt like I could be there.

“I’m just looking forward to the experience of wrestling Division I. I always wanted to do something Division I, but I never knew if I’d be able to. So, it’s a big accomplishment for me.”