CR grapplers top Cape Henlopen; Smyrna wins North

Caesar Rodney’s Pat Wisniewski is in control in the 132-pound match, scoring a technical fall over Cape Henlopen’s Richard Garcia. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

CAMDEN — M.J. Smith was looking for four points.

He found six.

Smith’s last-second pin sparked the Caesar Rodney High wrestling team to a 48-21 victory over Cape Henlopen High in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division dual meet on Wednesday night. Caesar Rodney rallied from an 18-0 deficit and won nine of the last 10 matches.

CR’s win meant Smyrna officially won the Henlopen North regular season title. The Riders and Smyrna each finished at 6-1 in divisional contests but Smyrna had the tiebreaker thanks to its 33-30 win over CR on Jan 23.

CR’s Ben Anderson takes down Cape’s Finbar Rishko on his way to a major decision in the 138-pound bout.

After Cape Henlopen won the first four matches to go up 18-0, Kevin Hudson (285 pounds) got a pin before a forfeit at 106 pounds made it 18-12.

Smith was up 8-2 in the closing seconds of his bout at 113 pounds.

He was hoping to score one more takedown to earn a major-decision and four team points. On his last takedown attempt, he was able to force his way on top where he could possibly get the pin.

The freshman did just that, recording the pin with three seconds left in the final round for the full six points and tie things at 18-18.

“I knew what I needed to get done,” Smith said. “I needed a major and I didn’t quite have the major. The takedown gave me the major and when he fell to his back I knew I had to stick him there. I knew I still had a little bit of time left so I was able to get him there.”

CR’s Ryan Rigby trying to get loose from Chris Handlin of Cape in the 182-pound match. Handlin won by decision 13-12.

“That momentum switch helped us,” Smith added. “I think that was a big deal.”

“M.J. has been doing that all season for us,” said CR coach Dan Rigby.

The Riders did not lead until Mike Primo’s pin in the 126-pound match gave CR a 24-21 advantage.

Caesar Rodney won every match left in the contest and earned bonus points in all but one. Pat Wisniewski had a tech-fall at 132, Ben Anderson earned a major-decision at 138, Jackson Dean and Gabe Degraffinreed recorded pins at 145 and 152 while Riley Tracy ended things at 160 with a decision.

“Those boys are really good,” Smith said of the wrestlers who followed him. “They grind in practice every
day as hard as they can.”

Cape Henlopen 9th-grader Carson Kammerer scored a 8-2 decision over fellow freshman Mason Bush of CR in the 120-pound match.

“When we get to that 126 and up, that part of our lineup is pretty solid,” Rigby said. “We’ve been scoring points there all year long. I think we just had to kind of keep the bleeding to a minimum until we got to that part of the lineup.”

Eduardo Saez (195) and William Ott (220) led Cape Henlopen with pins. Royuan Jones (170), Chris Handlin (182) and Carson Kammerer (120) each won via decision.

Both teams have qualified for the upcoming DIAA state tournament, taking place Friday and Saturday.

Caesar Rodney, the defending Division I state champion, has won four matches in a row since the defeat to Smyrna on Jan. 23.
“We’ve been able to fire off some good wins,” Rigby said. “I hope we’re wrestling well at the right time of the year.”

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