Smyrna’s Bryant finally earns his title at Henlopen Conference tournament


GEORGETOWN — For nearly four years Nate Bryant has seen his Smyrna High teammates win individual championships and waited for his day to come.

On Saturday, Bryant was able to make sure his name will be in the Smyrna record books as a individual champion.

Bryant won the 152-pound title on the final day of the Henlopen Conference wrestling championships at Sussex Central High. He was one of three Smyrna wrestlers to take home a conference crown.

After finishing in second place a year ago as a junior, Bryant took top honors with a first-period pin Saturday.

“It’s just one word I’m thinking — finally,” Bryant said. “I finally got one. The conference title is nice but I really want to be on top at states at the end of the season. I know it’s going to be a difficult path but I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”

Sussex Central had the most winners with four while Caesar Rodney and Cape Henlopen each had a pair of champions.

Freshman Jackson Dean won one of the most thrilling matches of the day for the 132-pound title. Dean was up against Smyrna’s Greg Baum, a reigning state champion.

Dean trailed in the contest but rallied to tie and earned a pin with four seconds left in the third period.

“I always believe,” Dean said. “You should always keep in mind in the back of your head that you can always come back.”

Dean’s deficit was as much as six points in the second period.

“I think the first takedown kind of set me down a little,” Dean said. “He’s a little funky and I’m not used to that. I haven’t really wrestled someone like him yet. I’m not really used to some of the things he does on bottom and on his feet. It’s big for me.”

Cam Hayes was CR’s other title-winner at 120 pounds. Hayes won his third career conference championship thanks to a 7-1 decision.

Anthony Fisher of Dover was another repeat champion — winning his second career title. He needed overtime for his victory at 138 pounds.

Fisher defeated Cape Henlopen’s Vincent Diego in the final which avenged a loss during the regular season. Diego edged Fisher in a dual meet at Dover ­— the only time Fisher had ever lost at the new Dover High gym.

“That’s something that really got me going,” Fisher said. “He gave me that loss so I had to come back hard.”

Fisher recorded a takedown and back points during the tiebreaker period to win 6-2 via decision.

“I guess it was just staying poised,” Fisher said. “My coach told me I got to have heart because it was going to be a tough one either way. I like matches like that.”

Other champions from Smyrna included Chase Archangelo at 145 pounds and Tony Wuest at 195. Both are multi-time conference champions.

Wuest had the honor of the fastest pinfall in the championship round, needing just 44 seconds to claim his title.

The host Golden Knights followed up their Division I dual meet title on Tuesday with Rashad Stratton (126), Blake Chambers (170), Lucas Hudson (182) and Johnny Morris (220) all on top of the podium at the conference tournament.

Cape Henlopen’s two title-winners were Cory Lawson (160) and Zach Flores (285). Lawson defeated Brandon Bautista in the final of the 160-pound bracket after Bautista beat him on Tuesday in the deciding match of the state dual meet tournament semifinal, leading to Sussex Central upsetting Smyrna for the state title.

Will Rayne (106) of Indian River and Robbie Rosser (113) of Milford rounded out the individual champions on Saturday.

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