Harris’ Eagles pin his former Dover grapplers

In the 138-pound match Smyrna’s Nick Nartacola scored a fall in the 2nd period against Humberto Monasterio of Dover. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — Aaron Harris had a match to win, but once it was over, he had so many people waiting for hugs and handshakes.

Harris returned to Dover High for the first time on Wednesday night as the head wrestling coach of Smyrna High. He was previously Dover’s coach and athletic director from 2014 until last school year.

The Eagles left Dover with a 47-19 dual meet win in the Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest. Smyrna improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Henlopen North while Dover dropped to 1-1 and 0-1 in the Henlopen North.

Smyrna head wrestling coach Aaron Harris

Harris was able to spend time with his former wrestlers, staff members and fans after the match, sticking around longer to pose for pictures and reconnect.

“It’s very emotional,” Harris said. “I got a lot of good connections with the people here. I’m walking around and don’t even want to walk out. I have so many people I want to talk to and say hi to.”

Harris replaced legendary coach Kurt Howell who retired after the 2018 at Smyrna. Howell spent the last 13 years of his coaching career at Smyrna, leading the Eagles to four Division I dual meet state titles and a berth in the championship round each of the last seven years.

So Harris knows he has big shoes to fill but he thinks he’s off to a good start.

Roeshawn Alexander of Dover and Smyrna’s Bryce Mullen battle in the 145-pound match Wednesday night. Mullen won by fall in the 2nd period.

“I like they’re buying into what I’m selling,” Harris said.

“We’ve been listening to everything he’s been saying and taking it seriously,” said Smyrna junior 195-pounder Masen Wilson. “He’s definitely a reliable coach and when he talks you have to listen to him because he knows what he’s saying.”

Wilson was one of four Eagles to earn pins on Wednesday along with Zane Kerr (126 pounds), Nick Natarcola (138) and Bryce Mullen (145). Gabe Giampietro also recorded six points in the first match of the night due to a forfeit at 106 pounds.

Smyrna’s Amir Pierce slams Rich Fonticiella to the mat en route to a 19-9 decision in the 132-pound match.

Dylan Andruzzi (113) and Amir Pierce (132) recorded major decisions while Logan Kosky (152), Donald McApline (170) and Jack Davis (182) won their matches via decisions for a Smyrna team missing a couple starters.

“Our studs did what they were supposed to do and our role players did what they’re supposed to do,” Harris said. “We pulled out a couple of tough, close matches.”

“The young guys have been stepping up,” Wilson said. “They’ve been doing more than their job which is what we expect from them.”
Smyrna won seven of the first eight bouts to take control.

Dover was led by back-to-back pins by Qualeak Bumbrey (220) and Hugo Harp (285). Marquis Machado (120) earned a victory via decision and Tyshaun Cole (160) added a major-decision for the Senators under first-year coach Alex Meade Sr.

“Honestly I started off disappointed but as the match went on I thought, ‘You know what, this is a perfect teacher,’” Meade Sr. said. “It’s the beginning of the season and sometimes we need to be humbled. I think it was definitely a teaching moment and hopefully we’ll be able to use it going forward.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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