Seven Henlopen wrestlers capture state titles at individual championships

Caesar Rodney’s Kevin Hudson won in overtime in the heavyweight match against Sussex Tech’s Jamie Schirmer. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

LEWES — A pair of Caesar Rodney High wrestlers earned redemption from a year ago while a Dover High wrestler rebounded from a week ago.

Meanwhile Smyrna High crowned three champions.

Seven Henlopen Conference wrestlers earned state titles on Saturday night during a busy day at the DIAA individual championships hosted at Cape Henlopen High.

Jackson Dean of Caesar Rodney was the first champion of the night at 145 pounds. He recorded a pin in the first period of his final match.

It’s the second championship for Dean, a junior who won his first as a freshman. He fell in the semifinals of the state tournament last season and had to settle for a third place finish.

Smyrna’s Gabe Giampietro defeated Milford’s Corey Messick in the 106-pound match.

“It’s definitely a big relief,” Dean said. “It’s like I had a chip on my shoulder and now it’s off.”

Dean’s teammate Kevin Hudson had the longest match of the night in the heavyweight championship round.

Hudson went to the fourth overtime period and was able to prevent Sussex Tech’s Jamie Schirmer from escaping to seal his title.

It was the first career title for the sophomore. He lost by a point in the heavyweight final a year ago.

“I looked as last year as something that was good for me,” Hudson said. “It helped me sit back and realize what I wanted to do in the future. I worked hard and my coaches did a really good job with me.”

Dover’s Hugo Harp won by major decision over Milford’s Anthony Diaz in the 220-pound match.

Hugo Harp of Dover won his second state championship in as many seasons thanks to a 15-4 major-decision in the 220-pound final.

While Harp is a defending state champion, he did not reach the final round of the Henlopen Conference last week as he fell in the semifinals.

He more than made up for that on Saturday.

“It’s amazing,” Harp said. “I never thought I would be here. Wrestling has changed my life a lot.”

“Last week was my fault, my mistake,” Harp added. “This week is what mattered. Last week helped me focus a lot. It was a big, big wake-up call.”

Smyrna tied with Salesianum for the most winners with three. The Eagles had Gabe Giampietro (106 pounds), Joey Natarcola (120 pounds) and J.T. Davis (182 pounds) all earn the first championship of their career.

In the 182-pound championship match Smyrna’s J.T. Davis won by a 13-4 decision over Christopher Handlin of Cape Henlopen.

Giampietro, a freshman, won with a 12-0 major-decision. Only 10 wrestlers have won four state championships, which Giampietro is shooting for.

“That’s what I’ve been working for this whole time,” Giampietro said. “I knew I needed that first step. I couldn’t do it without this first step. Now I need three more.”

Giampietro isn’t the only possible four-time state champion out there.

Caravel freshman Nick Hall won the 152-pound title. Hall is from Kent County and attended Fifer Middle School before going to Caravel.

“It feels good and shows that I can do this,” Hall said of his title. “Everybody doubted me and I proved them wrong.”

Jackson Dean of Caesar Rodney scored a fall in the first period over Seth Flemming of Lake Forest in the 145-pound match.

Natarcola was a runner-up last year as a freshman and was able to win as a sophomore with a 13-6 decision in the 120-pound final.

Davis won at 182 pounds after finishing third in 2018.

“I put a lot of time into getting my body healthy,” Davis said. “I was eating healthy, drinking a lot of water and doing all the right things, getting in the wrestling room. It feels good for all the hard work.”

The home crowd was able to celebrate another title by Anthony Caruso.

The Cape Henlopen senior won the second championship of his career with a 9-3 decision in the 132-pound final. He also won a title as a freshman and was runner-up as a sophomore and junior.

Salesianum’s Zach Spence won his third career state championship with a victory in the 113-pound finals. Spence became the 33rd Delaware wrestler with three state titles.

Alex Poore of Caravel (126 pounds), Harry Latch of Salesianum (138 pounds), Liam O’Connor of Delcastle (160 pounds), Brian Schneider of Middletown (170 pounds) and Danny Stradley of Salesianum (195 pounds) rounded out the other champions. Latch was awarded the meet’s Outstanding Wrestler award.

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