Eagles aim for 7th straight North wrestling title after 50-15 win over Knights

SMYRNA — The Smyrna High wrestling squad held a team meeting several weeks ago.

The Eagles have been a different team since.

And now they can still be Henlopen Conference Northern Division champions.

Smyrna kept itself in position to win a seventh consecutive Henlopen North title with a 50-15 victory over Sussex Central High on Wednesday night. The Eagles wrapped up the Henlopen North portion of its schedule at 5-1 (8-4 overall).

Smyrna, Cape and Caesar Rodney all have just one North loss with CR hosting Cape next Wednesday. If the Riders win that match, then the Eagles take the division crown. If Cape wins, then the Vikings take the North based on its win over Smyrna.

Smyrna’s run of Henlopen North championships looked in danger after Jan. 9, when Smyrna fell to Cape Henlopen for the first time in program history. But Smyrna responded with wins over Polytech, Caesar Rodney and Sussex Central.

“We’re more focused and there’s a sense of urgency,” said Smyrna junior J.T. Davis. “That’s come into the practice room and we’ve seen kids get a lot better.”

Coach Aaron Harris said the loss to Cape Henlopen, where Smyrna did have three starters out of the lineup, and a 1-2 performance at the Virginia Duals in Hampton, Va. the following weekend turned out to be the spark the Eagles needed.

“We’ve really turned a corner in the last few weeks,” Harris said. “We lost a couple matches and we sat down and had a talk. We talked about our jobs and what our jobs our. I let the team talk first and then I came in and everyone’s been doing their jobs every since. I guess that was an effective talk.”

Smyrna took control early on Wednesday by winning 11 of the first 12 matches.

Sussex Central did lead 6-3 after the first two bouts but it was all Smyrna after that. Tyler Downward (182 pounds) gave the Eagles the lead for good with a pin in the third match.

Davis followed with a decision at 195 and Masen Wilson picked up a pin at 220. Gabe Giampietro (106), Dylan Andruzzi (113) and Nick Natarcola (138) added pins for the Eagles while Gavin Sembly (160), Joey Natarcola (120) and Amir Pierce (132) won via major-decisions.

Andrew DeBenedictis-Bayne (285) and Anthony Glass (126) each posted decisions.

Smyrna ends its regular season on Friday night at Salesianum. If the Eagles win, they’ll likely clinch the top overall seed for the DIAA Division I dual-meet state tournament.

“We control our own destiny at this point,” Davis said. “We’re right where we want to be.”

Tarryl Sturgis (170) and Brandon Greenlee (145) led Sussex Central (3-2 Henlopen North, 8-2 overall) with a pin apiece while Devin Pearsal won at 152 pounds via a decision.

Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at tmastro@newszap.com.



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