On The Clock

On The Clock

By Cameron Deckman

“The biggest mistake we make in life is thinking we have time.” -Kobe Bryant


Four years as a student athlete is not a lot of time in people’s lives. The time can be taken for granted. It seems like as soon as it begins, it ends.

For two seniors at Delta High School, they would realize that their time in high school was more important to them than they thought. 


Dalton Tuttle has been on the wrestling team for all four years of high school. In the 2022-2023 season, he had a record of 28-11 and made it to semi-state where he lost in the first round.

He had high expectations for his senior season and hoped to go to state.

His first day of practice for senior year started off like normal. He spoke with his teammates, many of whom were excited for the season ahead.

That day he chose to warm up with junior Jacob Snodgrass. 

They started doing their drills and were taking turns trying to throw each other.

According to Tuttle, they got in a situation where Snodgrass landed on Tuttle’s leg. According to Snodgrass, he went to trip Tuttle and his knee bent the wrong way.

Whatever the story is, the result was a half torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

“I felt guilty,” Snodgrass said. “I felt like I was the reason that ended his senior season.”


Paizley Cool plays girls’ basketball. She was competing in an Amateur Athletic Union basketball tournament in August before school. Standing at 6-foot-1, Cool is the center for her Indiana Pride team. 

During a game, she was under the rim when a ball bounced off the rim. Cool is an aggressive player, so she leapt to get the rebound. At the same time, a player on the other team pounced at the ball, too.

In the fight for the ball, Paizley’s shoulder would be ripped behind her. She suffered a 360-degree tear.

She started crying, but then she started laughing.

“No one expects a big injury right before your senior year, so it’s kind of funny to me,” Cool said.


Now they were on the clock.

Their senior seasons were on the line, and they had to get back as quickly as they could.


Tuttle was in trouble.

The rehab for a torn ACL after surgery is typically at least nine months long. He had about three months before the postseason.

It was likely he would not wrestle.

“I expected to return no matter what,” Tuttle said. “I was going to do as much therapy that I could do to get it better.”

Instead of surgery, Tuttle opted to work with Jen Detweiler, the athletic trainer at DHS, doing band workouts and going to physical therapy in hopes of performing in his senior year.

While he waited to return, he would go to practices. He would hobble up and down the stairs that the team had to do for conditioning. He tried to do as much he could with the injury, and would be with the team to support them.

To stay eligible for the postseason, he would weigh in at each meet. He wouldn’t wrestle, but it would allow him to be ready if he got to wrestle in the postseason.

He was doing all he was allowed to do, but he just wanted to be on the mat.

“It sucked because I could see everyone practicing,” Tuttle said. “It [was] my senior year. I wanted to be out there with them goofing around.” 


With Cool’s injury being severe, she would have to undergo surgery.

The surgery required the doctors to strip her bicep off the bone, drill an anchor into her shoulder to her humerus, chain it all together and then reattach her bicep.

She was expected to be ready to play in February 2024. This meant the basketball season would be over before her release.

She thought her season was over before it was beginning.

Meanwhile, she spent her time going to physical therapy. She worked with Detweiler on getting back. She did bicep curls and overhead presses. The main focus was stretching and mobility exercises.

“My shoulders weren’t strong to begin with, so that wasn’t anything I was trying to get back,” Cool said.

She was getting the help she needed, but she was still stuck. She would go to practices to support the team, but she couldn’t do anything.

Her time off left her in a stressful state. She spent the time thinking about playing basketball.

“I felt like I should’ve been doing stuff, but I couldn’t physically,” she said.


The clock was ticking.

The odds were not in their favor because of the timing of the injuries and when they were expected to come back

For many athletes, they would accept the fact that they won’t play. Some would start thinking about just finishing school. But for Tuttle and Cool, they chose to fight their odds.


Tuttle was given the green light to wrestle on Dec. 3, 2023. 

The home meet was against Bellmont High School. Delta was ranked number one in class 2A and Bellmont was ranked number two.

Tuttle, in his leg cast, was going against Bellmont’s Chandler Thomas.

The wrestlers met in the middle of the mat. They shook hands, and the match began.

The match went back and forth, but every shot Tuttle took caused a sharp pain throughout his leg.

Tuttle was put on his back in the second period of the match, and he fought off Thomas for as long as he could.

After three and a half minutes into the match, Tuttle was pinned.

The Eagles ended up losing that meet 39-37.

It wasn’t the start he wanted, but it was an improvement from not being able to do anything.

Senior Dalton Tuttle walks toward the mat during the Bellmont vs. Delta meet. This was his first match back from his injury. (Photo by Tim Cleland)


After about eight months of stretching and getting stronger, Cool was cleared to play. She was released three months early.

She played her first game on Dec. 19, 2023. 

In the 75-50 win over Daleville, Cool shot the ball three times. She scored four points, had one block, one steal and two rebounds.

She eventually fouled out during the second half.

It might not have been the start she was looking for.

However, it was a step in the right direction; she was happy to have one game under her senior season.

Senior Paizley Cool listens to instructions in a huddle during a timeout. She was able to play her Senior night game after missing most of her season due to injury. (Photo by Emma Willoughby)


After the Bellmont match, Tuttle would be sidelined completely to fully heal up.

He continued his band workouts and physical therapy for months, but things were looking better for him.

He kept regaining strength in his knee, and it was looking like he might be ready for the postseason.

The week before the sectional matches at DHS, the wrestling team had a vote. Head coach Cody LeCount asked the team if they thought Tuttle should challenge sophomore Brayden Swain for the varsity 138-pound spot.

After several minutes, it was decided that Tuttle and Swain would wrestle to see who was going to go to sectionals.

It was a best two out of three challenge. Whichever wrestler won two of the matches would go to the postseason. 

Tuttle won twice.

He was going to wrestle at sectionals.


For the first two games, Cool struggled with being aggressive in the paint.

She dropped five points in her second game against the Blackford Bruins, and she had two rebounds. The Lady Eagles lost the game 53-40.

“I was scared of anything happening again, but then I realized that I only had [a few] games left so I realized I had to try harder,” she said.

In her third game she got over her mental roadblock and dropped 12 points and had eight rebounds in the 42-40 win over the Wapahani Raiders.

The following weeks she kept scoring more and more.

Her highest scoring game would be on Jan. 23, 2024. She scored 17 points and had five rebounds in a 54-46 win against the Monroe Central Golden Bears.

It was looking better for her and she was looking forward to the postseason.

Cool guards a Jay County player on senior night. (Photo by Emma Willoughby)


It was time.

Both athletes were back and ready to go. 

However, both athletes would take completely different paths in the end.


Tuttle had a bye until the third round of sectionals for his weight class. He faced off against Cowan’s Jadon Unger. Tuttle won the match by a pin just one minute into the match.

Tuttle moved on to the next round to face Muncie Central senior Isaac Musgrove, who had a 32-12 record going into the postseason.

The winner of this match would move on to regionals at Jay County High School.

Tuttle won the match by points, 15-11.

He went to the championship round, but lost to Yorktown’s Justin Boone by pin just before the first round ended.

Against all odds, he qualified for regionals.

In the first round of regionals he faced off against sophomore Jarin Frauhiger (31-11) from Southern Wells.

Tuttle put up a fight. Every shot he took resulted in the same pains throughout his leg. 

He made it out of the second round, but was slammed on the mat and pinned one minute and 47 seconds into the third round of the match.

That was the end.

Tuttle puts his Bellmont opponent in a headlock. (Photo by Tim Cleland)


It was the final basketball game before the postseason.

The Lady Eagles were playing the Mt. Vernon Marauders.

On the first play of the game, Cool jumped in the air. When she hit the ground it was over.

Her knee buckled backward, and she suffered another injury.

This injury caused her to miss the rest of the season.

It was over, but she wasn’t as affected mentally this time.

“It doesn’t bother me that much because I’m thankful that I got to play at all,” Cool said.


Their seasons were short, but both of the athletes are grateful that they got to play at all.

For Tuttle, he realized that his teammates are more important to him than he thought.

“[The injury] affected my mental health, but being with the team every day made things easier,” Tuttle said.

For Cool, she realized that she should have paid attention to some advice she has heard many times before.

“Everyone hears people say don’t take your time for granted, but after experiencing an injury like that my senior year, I wished I would’ve listened to them,” Cool said. “Don’t take your time for granted because you don’t know when it will be the last time you play.”

February 21, 2024

About Author

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Cameron Deckman Cameron Deckman is a sophomore at Delta High School. He enjoys running, but always forgets his water bottle. He has crazy shin problems and after every run can be seen limping. He drinks black coffee like an old man. He plays baseball, too, and his favorite team is the Cincinnati Reds. DE LA CRUZ ON TOP!


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