Smyrna rallies for 33-30 Henlopen North dual meet wrestling win over CR

Smyrna’s Joey Natarcola is seconds away from pinning CR’s Colton Bowie in the 120-pound bout Wednesday night. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

CAMDEN — Being down 13 points with five matches left is not an ideal situation, but it was one the Smyrna High wrestling had prepared for.

So when Caesar Rodney High built its lead to 13, the Eagles knew there was still a roadmap to victory despite time running out.

“We did that actual scenario on paper,” said Smyrna coach Aaron Harris. “I knew what we had coming. All those guys just needed to do their jobs.”

The last five wrestlers did just that.

In the 126-pound bout Caesar Rodney’s Michael Primo won his 100th match by beating Jaxon Al-Chokhachy of Smyrna with a 7-3 decision.

Gabe Giampietro sealed a 33-30 dual meet win over Caesar Rodney with a pin in the final match for Smyrna in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest on Wednesday night. The Eagles avenged last year’s loss to CR in the Division I state tournament championship match.

Smyrna tied the dual at 27-27 with two matches left. The Riders won the first one before it turned to Giampietro, a freshman 106-pounder.

The freshman earned a pin in the first period, 1:48 into his match.

“First thing that I was thinking was, ‘I got to do this for the team,’” Giampietro said. “I needed to do what I had to do, even if it was a close match I had to do whatever I could to get more than a decision.”

Smyrna’s Nick Natarcola won by technical fall over Caleb Adamowicz in the 138-pound bout.

Caesar Rodney went on top 27-14 after three straight pins from Jackson Dean (152 pounds), Gabe Degraffinreed (160) and Riley Tracy (170).

The Eagles started their comeback in the 182-pound match. They were lifted from an unexpected source.

Harris sent out Tyler Downward, a freshman who has wrestled mostly on junior varsity this year. With both teams maneuvering their lineups throughout the match, Harris though Downward would be capable of winning a toss-up at 182.

Downward was in control for most of his bout but a late reversal sent it to an extra period tied at 5-5. Downward was able to earn a two-point takedown for the sudden victory shortly into the fourth period for a key three points.

“He’s my wrestler of the week for that,” Harris said.

myrna’s Bryce Mullen is flipped over by CR’s Benedict Anderson in the 145-pound match but came back to win by decision 10-3.

J.T. Davis followed with a major-decision at 195 pounds before Masen Wilson recorded a pin in just 37 seconds in the 220-pound match to tie things at 27-27.

“This is always a big match and we’ve been preparing for it the whole week,” Wilson said. “We’re excited that we came out and performed. We were hyped to step up to the challenge and everyone rose to the occasion.”

CR’s Kevin Hudson won via decision at 285 pounds — the second-to-last match to give CR the lead again at 30-27. But Harris credited his heavyweight Andrew DeBenedictis-Bayne for keeping the bout close and not surrendering bonus points.

“We worked hard on that, him and I individually,” Harris said. “He did his job tonight but I need him to understand that’s a winnable match. I think he sees that now, he can win that match.”

That set the stage for Giampietro who was experiencing his first taste of the classic Smyrna-CR wrestling rivalry.

“It’s crazy,” Giampietro said. “It’s a whole different level. You just hear fans screaming and yelling, it’s just like, ‘Whoa.’ I was excited though. I knew they beat us last year and I knew it was going to be a close one.”

Smyrna also received a pin from Joey Natarcola (120), a tech-fall from Nick Natarcola (138) and a decision by Bryce Mullen (145).

The Riders had Marlon Smith (113), Mike Primo (126) and Pat Wisniewski (132) win their matches via decision. Primo’s victory was the 100th of his career.

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