Eagles defeat Bucs 45-25 for Henlopen North wrestling crown

Garrett Hudson of the Eagles scored a fall in 33 seconds over Emily Thode of Milford in the 106-pound match. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

SMYRNA — After every win in the middle of the lineup, Smyrna High’s wrestlers would turn to the crowd and ask for more noise.
First was Amir Pierce with a pin, then Isaiah Jenkins with a decision.

Joey Natarcola, Bryce Mullen and Nathan Lesniczak followed with three more pins and each one implored the fans to get louder.

That run gave Smyrna a comfortable advantage and led to another Henlopen Conference Northern Division championship for the Eagles.

Smyrna clinched the Henlopen North thanks to 27 unanswered points from that portion of its lineup for a 45-25 victory over Milford High on Friday night.

“We knew the guys in the middle would give us that lead,” said Smyrna coach Aaron Harris. “That’s what we had on paper, the middle was going to give us a cushion.”

In the 126-pound match Milford’s Trent Grant scored a first period fall over Tyree Heath of Smyrna.

The Eagles moved to 6-0 in the Henlopen North and 11-2 overall. They have one more North match, today at Dover (10:30 a.m.).

It was the first defeat of the year for Milford, which finished the regular season at 20-1. The Buccaneers end their first year back in the Henlopen North at 6-1.

Whoever won Friday night’s contest would be crowned the Henlopen North champions and a big crowd came out to witness it.

“The energy from the crowd really hyped us up a lot,” said Smyrna sophomore Gabe Giampietro. “The energy from the crowd, it’s the best.”

Milford led 10-9 after four matches but Pierce gave the Eagles the lead for good with his pin at 132 pounds. Jenkins followed at 138 pounds in a long bout delayed numerous times due to blood stoppages and won that 7-1 for an 18-10 Smyrna advantage.

Natarcola (145), Mullen (152) and Lesniczak (160) kept the train rolling for Smyrna with three-straight pins — all of which came in 2:36 or earlier.

After back-to-back pins by Gage Copes (170) and Rafael Mejia (182) for Milford, the Eagles won two more matches to seal it. J.T. Davis had a decision at 195 while Hugo Harp won via forfeit at 220 pounds.

While the middle of the order was the decider for the Eagles, the possible matchup most fans were looking forward to came to fruition early in the night.

In the 113-pound match Smyrna’s Gabe Giampietro won by decision 5-2 over Milford’s Corey Messick.

Smyrna’s Giampietro and Milford’s Corey Messick, two of the state’s two wrestlers, faced off at 113 pounds. The bout was scoreless until the final period where Giampietro earned a takedown and back points to record a 5-2 victory.

“Gabe always does his job,” Harris said. “We expect that. If you watch me when he’s out there, I’m a little more quiet than everyone else. He always does his job and steps up to the plate to do what we ask of him.”

The two have faced each other plenty of times over the last year, including for the individual state title in 2019.

“Me and Corey have history from last year with conferences and the state finals,” Giampietro said. “I was a little more pumped up than a usual match.”

Garrett Hudson also added a pin for Smyrna in the first match of the night at 106 pounds.

Jack Thode (120) won his match for Milford via major-decision while Trenton Grant (126) followed with a pin to give the Buccaneers their only lead of the night. Anthony Diaz recorded a decision to win the 285 match for Milford to end the dual meet.