Rider grapplers rally to top Panthers 42-22

Photos Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

WOODSIDE — Dan Rigby thought if the Caesar Rodney High wrestling team could stay within 24 points by the time the lineup turned over to the lightweights, the Riders would be in good shape.

When that moment came, the Riders were only down four points.

Caesar Rodney won the final seven matches to earn its first Henlopen Conference Northern Division victory with a 42-22 defeat of Polytech on Wednesday night. The Riders improved to 2-2 on the season and 1-1 in the Henlopen North.

Polytech had won five consecutive bouts to pull ahead 22-9 before CR got back in the win column with Brenden Holder’s 6-0 decision at 220 pounds. What followed in the heavyweight match was the biggest result of the night.

Junior Kenny Tieman, who is in his first year as a wrestler, went from leading just 1-0 in his match to maneuvering into a pin with a second left in the second period of his heavyweight bout.

“They put us in a position to win tonight,” Rigby said. “I knew if we were within 24 those lightweights would get it. That’s what team wrestling is all about.”

“Every match is important because every win is a win for the team,” Tieman said. “At first I was pretty nervous because this is my first year wrestling. But I was able to size him up and get my pin.”

The Riders cruised through the final five matches. Mike Primo (106) and Kevin Bowne (113) won via forfeit as Polytech tried match up as best it could. Cam Hayes earned a tech-fall at 120, Benedict Andersen recorded a major decision at 126 and Bobby Stevenson ended the night with a decision at 132.

Another key victory for the Riders came early on in the second match. Polytech had elected to avoid CR’s Jackson Dean at 138 who won via forfeit as the Panthers tried to bump up some wrestlers to higher weights.

CR 145-pounder, sophomore Riley Tracy hit the mat cold and soon fell down 2-0. But Tracy was able to battle back and win a 6-4 decision in overtime.

“They got me pretty good because we didn’t expect that forfeit,” Tracy said. “I was scrambling to get out there and got off to a slow start. But I was able to keep going and pulled out the win. We do so much conditioning, our practices are so tough. We always get after it and it shows on the mat.”

“We pride ourselves on being a hard-working team and being the best conditioned,” Rigby said. “I think tonight the guys who were best conditioned won their matches.”

Polytech was led by back-to-back pins by Evan Harris (152) and Avery Mayan (160). CR held the Panthers to only decisions in their three other match wins.

“For a lot of our matches we didn’t want to get pinned,” Tracy said. “It worked out pretty well. We wanted to keep it close because we knew our lower weights would be able to come in and save the day.”

Polytech was wrestling in its first dual meet of the season.

“It’s a credit to Caesar Rodney they wrestled tough tonight,” said Polytech coach Eric Buckson.“That was our first dual meet of the year. Caesar Rodney is battle tested and we’re not and I think it showed.”

After dropping its first two dual meets this year, the Riders have now won two in a row. Their next dual meet is not until Wednesday, Jan. 18 at Sussex Central in another Henlopen North contest.

“Every match in the Henlopen North is going to be a battle,” Rigby said. “Polytech is a great team and Buckson and his staff do a great job. Our youth is still showing a bit but I think we’re making a lot of gains.”

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