Laurel defeats Indian River 37-28 for South wrestling title

DAGSBORO — On the final night of regular-season dual-meet competition, Laurel High earned the Henlopen South wrestling title with a 37-28 win over Indian River on Wednesday night.

“It’s nice getting the deadlock on the South away from Milford,” said Bulldogs’ coach Jesse Glanden, a Caesar Rodney High grad.

“This is just a step that we needed to get to our ultimate goal, which is to get a state title. We’re going to celebrate for about five seconds. When we get out of the parking lot here the celebration is over, and we’re getting right back to focusing on Saturday.”

Laurel will go into Saturday’s DIAA Division II dual-meet state tournament as one of the top contenders. The Division I and II tourneys are being held at Smyrna.

“It was great seeing our guys gut it out tonight,” Glanden said. “It justifies all of these brutal practices we have in our room. I tell these guys, what they go through in the room is far worse than whatever they go through on that wrestling mat.

“We beat each other up in there, and it shows out here. We just have tough, hard-nosed kids.”

On Wednesday, Laurel fell behind 18-0 through the meet’s first four matches, but the Bulldogs fought back to earn three consecutive pins — from sophomore Anthony Morris (132 pounds), junior Isaiah Fosque (138) and junior Gabe Degraffinreed (145) to knot the score at 18-18.

The Bulldogs took their first lead of the night in the 170-pound match as sophomore Dalton Perdue clawed out a 6-2 decision over IR’s Collin Donaway. Perdue’s victory put Laurel ahead, 25-24.

A second-period pin in the 182-pound match from Rae’Mier Deshields extended the lead to 31-24.

Indian River senior Zach Schultz kept the Indians in the meet with a 9-0 major decision victory in the 195-pound match. The win pulled IR to within 31-28.

But back-to-back decisions from Rae’Sheed Deshields (220) and Mike Handy (285) put the finishing touches on Laurel’s come-from-behind Henlopen South triumph.

Glanden knows his Laurel squad could end up meeting Indian River again on Saturday and hopes to have his team ready for whatever comes its way.

“We’re going to celebrate, but when you see our taillights out of here, we’re done and we’re focused on Milford, Indian River and whoever else they put in front of us Saturday,” he said.

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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