Caesar Rodney upsets St. Mark’s in wrestling showdown

Benny MitchellHeadlines, Sports

The top two 126 pounders in the state Trevor Copes of Caesar Rodney (top) and Aaron Menickella of St. Mark’s lock up in their dual meet. Copes won an -0 major decision, photo courtesy of Eric Donato

Camden – It brought back memories of over a decade ago when Caesar Rodney and St. Mark’s battled year in and year out for prominence on the mat in Delaware. The resurgence of the Spartans wrestling program this year has them ranked number one in Division II in the Delaware Live Sports wrestling rankings, while the Riders are the number four team in Division I.

Caesar Rodney picked up wins in some hotly contested bouts and kept other ones close as they upset St. Mark’s 37-31 in front of a large and loud home crowd on Friday night.

“Tonight was what I grew up watching as a kid between St. Mark’s and CR. St. Mark’s is a great team and well coached. It was fun to be a part of this rivalry as a wrestler and was fun tonight as a coach, maybe just a bit more stressful,” Caesar Rodney head coach Trey Mitchell said.

The Riders’ Lily Moffett received a forfeit at 106 pounds as the beginning of the match went back and forth with St. Mark’s Clif Bakhsh winning a 9-1 major decision over Ben Donato at 113 pounds. Cole Moffett got the Riders back in the win column pinning James Holmes in 51 seconds giving Caesar Rodney a 12-4 lead.

A much anticipated 126 pound match featured the top two ranked wrestlers in the state at that weight with the Riders Trevor Copes ranked number one and the Spartans number two ranked Aaron Menickella. Copes scored an early takedown and then slowly built an 8-0 major decision putting Caesar Rodney ahead 18-4.

“The early takedown for me was important. I was able to relax a little more in the match. He (Menickella) is tough so I took a more cautious approach early on with him,” Copes said.

The match continued to swing back and forth through the next several bouts. Chris Foster got the Spartans back in the match pinning Alex Batton in 56 seconds at 132 pounds. The Riders’ Braedon Bole got an escape with just ten seconds left in the 138 pounds to earn a 5-4 decision over Jack MacDonald. Alec Baxley answered for St. Mark’s with a 6-0 decision over Jamisen Dean at 144 pounds.

Caesar Rodney got back to back pins in the next two bouts as Craig Dixon pinned Braden Carroll in 28 seconds at 150 pounds and Miguel Sigaran pinned Andrew Bailey in 57 seconds at 157 pounds to stretch the Caesar Rodney lead to 33-13.

“Braedon Bole and Miguel Sigaran came up big for us tonight. Braedon has been up and down this year, but the past two matches he is starting to find his style of wrestling and has pulled out a couple of wins here late in the season,” Mitchell said.

“Miguel was put in a different role tonight filling in for us, we asked a lot tonight to go out and get a win and he answered,” Mitchell added.

St. Mark’s got a pair of pins to tighten the match with Vincent Hurst pinning Logan Heffington in 2:18 at 165 pounds and Jacob Ebaugh pinning Jaden Raza in 39 seconds to cut the Riders lead to 33-25.

Caesar Rodney bumped their next two wrestlers up a weight class to hopefully get better matchups. The move worked out for the Riders as Owen Dixon won an 6-1 decision over Finn Hanna at 190 pounds and Owyn Meister decisioned Scott McKelvey 8-2 at 215 pounds.

“The Owen’s did a great job closing the match for us, both wrestled well and wrestled smart,”Mitchell said.

Aidan Zellman closed out the match with a pin over Caleb Kellum in 2:11 as Caesar Rodney prevailed with a 37-31 win.

St. Mark’s fell to 5-3 on the season and will host Red Lion Christian Academy on Tuesday night starting at 6:30.

Caesar Rodney improved to 8-2 on the year and will travel to Sussex Central next Wednesday night for a Henlopen North showdown with the Golden Knights starting 7:00.

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