Woodbridge earns first ever state tourney victory

Shane Marvel

WILMINGTON — A year ago, the Woodbridge High wrestling team got a taste of what it’s like in the DIAA state dual meet tournament.

This year, the Blue Raiders got to taste winning.

Woodbridge won its first state tournament match in program history, 45-25 over Lake Forest High, highlighting the first day of action in the Division II dual meet state tournament at A.I. du Pont. Milford and Indian River also advanced, making it three Henlopen Conference Southern Division teams in the semifinals.

Woodbridge, the tournament’s fourth seed, will face top-seeded Milford in the semifinals. Indian River, seeded third, will play No. 2 Caravel.

The semifinals are scheduled for 2 p.m. at Smyrna High. The finals will take place at 4 p.m.

Woodbridge made its debut in the dual meet state tournament last year when the Blue Raiders fell to Milford in the first round. This time, they were able to celebrated a victory.

“It’s a big deal,” said junior Hunter Young. “I think this is the best year we’ve had. I’m just glad that we’re all getting together so well.”

Friday also marked the debut of the new eight-team format as the tournament is now a two-day event instead of one day. The tournament expanded from six to eight teams, meaning no more first-round byes for the top two seeds.

Both Woodbridge and Indian River had to come from behind in their quarterfinal matches.

Lake Forest led the Blue Raiders 13-12 after five bouts. Ellis Cannon recorded a pin at 170 pounds to give Woodbridge the lead before TaeShaun Ford-Jackson moved up to 182 pounds and earned a 1-0 decision.

Young (195) and Michael Hutchinson (220) each earned a pin to put Woodbridge in control.

Coach Shane Marvel called Ford-Jackson’s victory the turning point of the match.

“He bumped up and wrestled tough,” Marvel said. “I thought that was a key match then Hunter Young stepped up and did what he had to do at 195. Those are two that really stood out to me.”

“It’s good to advanced and get some of those jitters out of the way,” Marvel added. “I think we had a few here, but all in all, proud of the kids and just happy to advance.”

Gavin Manning (132), Jerome Cannon (138) and Johnathon Webb (120) each added pins for Woodbridge. Lake Forest was led by pins from Isaiah Redman (160) and Kristopher Thompson (285).

Indian River had to rally from a 24-6 deficit after Newark Charter had four pins in a row. The Indians ended up winning 53-21.

T.J. Burke gave the Indians six points at 220 pounds. Newark Charter was also penalized three team points for unsportsmanlike conduct in that match.

Indian River won the final nine matches.

Christian Lopez (138), Jacob Grab (170), Zachary Schultz (195) and Ian Shaubach (113) each recorded pins to lead Indian River. Will Rayne added a tech-fall at 120 pounds while Chris Saylor (106) and Will Keller (182) earned wins via decisions.

Milford had a quick night in the first match of the night, needing just 37 minutes for an 81-0 victory over No. 8 Mount Pleasant, helped out by five forfeits.

The Buccaneers received pins from Jordan Passwaters (145), Dalton Deevey (152), Gage Copes (160), Rafael Mjia (170), Bevensky Augustine (182), Eric Bennett (195), Anthony Diaz (220) and a tech-fall from Averi Copes (132).

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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