Smyrna – Cape Henlopen and Smyrna locked up in a match with twists and turns that kept the crowd at Smyrna High School engaged through the final bout. Cape Henlopen advanced to their first ever state final with a 33-31 victory over Smyrna.
“It was a total team effort. Coming around I was hoping to not have to wrestle six and 13, but coming around the horn those guys just have to compete and not give up the big bonus points and we win the match,” Cape Henlopen head coach Chris Mattioni said.
Smyrna took the first two bouts of the match as Gabe Giampietro started off for the Eagles with a pin over Holt Baker at 120 pounds. Qwantez Watkins followed with a 7-3 decision over Josh Ramos at 126 giving Smyrna a 9-0 lead.
Josh Wright answered for the Vikings pinning Jake Wagner in 5:21 at 132 pounds.
Smyrna’s Tyree Heath flipped a bout from the first meeting between the two teams when he recorded a pin in 4:41 over Andrew Schaen as the Eagles took a 15-6 lead. Cape’s MIkey Frederick won a 26-10 technical fall at 145 pounds cutting the lead to 15-12.
Garrett Hudson won a 10-0 major decision over Jayden Johnson at 152 extending Smyrna’s lead to 19-12.
The Vikings went on three match run with C.J. Fritchman starting off with a 16-1 technical fall over Brandon West at 160 pounds, then a pin by Carson Kammerer at 170 pounds over Shaun Atkinson in 3:09. Alex Taylor rounded out the run at 182 pounds with a 10-4 decision over Derek Davis. Cape Henlopen was penalized a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the 160 pound bout giving Cape Henlopen a 25-19.
“It came down to how we handle pressure and some guys stepped up,” Mattioni said.
Tyler Downward recorded a pin in 32 seconds over Matt Couchman at 195 pounds as the Eagles tied the match 25-25.
Cape Henlopen took the next two bouts with Dalton Deevey pinning Kael Howell at 220 pounds in 2:57 and Lucas Ruppert winning a 7-3 decision over Chijioke Eule giving the Vikings a 33-25 lead.
Going into the final two bouts the Eagles would need to win one or both matches two at least force the match into dual criteria. Warren Coates won a 10-7 decision over Jacob Goodsell at 106 pounds and Wyatt Miller won an 8-4 decision over Rony Perez to end the match at 113 pounds, but the Vikings survived the bonus points in the final two bouts to win 33-31.
“People got their money’s worth today, it was an exciting semi-final,” Mattioni said.
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