High school wrestling notebook: Smyrna eyes another title as opponents battle tonight

SMYRNA — Smyrna High’s wrestling regular season is over and the Eagles will be watching the scores tonight to see if they did enough to win another Henlopen Conference Northern Division title.

All other North teams will be in action tonight, but there are two matchups Smyrna is paying attention to.

If Caesar Rodney defeats Cape Henlopen tonight or Sussex Central loses to Sussex Tech, Smyrna will take the Henlopen Conference crown for the sixth year in a row. CR-Cape begins at 4 p.m. while Central-Tech is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Smyrna ended the year with a 5-1 Northern Division record. If both Caesar Rodney and Sussex Central win, the three teams will all be tied with 5-1 records.

Smyrna would win the title based on the point-differential in results between the three teams. The Eagles clinched that by beating the Riders by eight points on Saturday.

That, coupled with a one-point loss to Sussex Central puts Smyrna a plus-seven. CR defeated the Golden Knights 36-30, meaning CR would be minus-two and Central would be minus-five.

The tiebreaker coming down to point-differential means the last bout on Saturday was way more important than people realized. With the meet already clinched for Smyrna, Nick Natarcola rallied for an overtime victory which allowed Smyrna to win 33-25.

“I didn’t tell him that,” said Smyrna coach Kurt Howell. “I didn’t want to put any pressure on him. But him coming back in overtime like that was clutch.”

But if Caesar Rodney would lose tonight and Sussex Central wins, the Golden Knights would take the Henlopen North since they have the head-to-head tiebreaker. If CR wins and Sussex Central loses, Smyrna has the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Of course if both teams fall tonight, Smyrna would win outright with no tiebreakers involved.

Smyrna wrapped up the regular season with three tough matches in a span of four days.

Smyrna had to face Sussex Central, the defending state champions, on Wednesday, before facing Salesianum and Caesar Rodney on Friday and Saturday — two teams expected to make the Division I state dual meet tournament.

The Eagles went 2-1 in those four days with the lone loss being a 25-24 defeat to Sussex Central.

“I think we were resilient,” Howell said. “Resiliency is definitely something we learned this week. We have to have some talks about some character things that we need to shape up. We certainly need to shape up some things before state duals.”

Henlopen South up for grabs

The Laurel-Indian River dual meet was moved from Saturday to today at 4 p.m. at Indian River.

The matchup will decide the Henlopen South championship as both teams enter undefeated in the division. It will be the first time a team who isn’t Milford will win the division since Polytech in 2013.

Indian River carries a 16-4 overall record into the contest. The Indians have lost their last three meets but all of those were to Henlopen North teams.

Laurel is 9-6 on the season. The Bulldogs haven’t defeated Indian River since Jan. 10, 2010.

Bonus points

• Pairings for the dual meet state tournament will be announced late tonight after all of the matches have concluded.

• The dual meet tournament will be hosted by Smyrna High again this Saturday. First round action begins at 2 p.m.

• The Blue Hen Conference automatic bids have already been determined. St. Georges won Flight A to make the Division I tournament while A.I. du Pont is the Flight B champion to make the Division II tournament.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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