Woodbridge tops IR 49-22 for Henlopen South title, school’s first wrestling championship

The Woodbridge Blue Raiders celebrate their Henlopen South wrestling championship. Delaware State News/Tim Mastro

BRIDGEVILLE — On the wall of the Woodbridge High gym there is only one banner for wrestling — highlighting all of Woodbridge’s individual state champions.

But there is no team banner for wrestling.

That is about to change.

The Blue Raiders clinched the first conference title in school history, downing Indian River High 49-22 to win the Henlopen Conference Southern Division championship at home on Wednesday night. Woodbridge finished the Henlopen South portion of its schedule unbeaten at 5-0.

“These past four years since I’ve been here we’ve put in so much work and done so much to build this program up,” said senior Gavin Manning. “To finally be able to do it for the first time in Woodbridge history, it’s amazing.”

By winning the conference title, the Blue Raiders have automatically qualified for the eight-team DIAA Division II dual meet state tournament, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 14-15. Woodbridge also improved to 10-3 overall.

The Henlopen South championship is another benchmark in the progression of the Woodbridge program over the last several seasons.

The Blue Raiders reached the state tournament two years ago. Then they won the first ever tournament matchup with a first-round win a year ago.

“Each year we’re hungrier for something new,” Manning said. “Everybody wants something new each year. We were tired of just being so close.”

The conference title was just the next step.

“It feels awesome and these kids deserve it,” said Woodbridge coach Shane Marvel. “This is my third-year as a head coach and we’ve built each year to try to continue to improve. Hopefully this is just a stepping stone along the way and we keep this thing going into the state duals.”

Wednesday’s match started out at 106 pounds and Marvel credited the middle of his order for giving the Blue Raiders the momentum.

Manning won a thrilling match with a last second pin at 132 pounds for the full six points. Brandon Williams then gave Woodbridge the lead for good when he earned a pin at 145 pounds.

“One thing that sets our school apart from others is we got a lot of hard-nosed kids,” Marvel said. “Each and everyday in the practice room, we do our best to get every ounce of ability out of them.”

Brenton Williams then added with a major-decision at 152 to extend the lead to 25-18. Cole Gibbs (160 pounds) and Ellis Cannon (170) followed with back-to-back pins as the lead grew to 19 points.

Kyle Davis (113) and Taeshuan Ford-Jackson (195) also recorded pins on the night. Duane Cooke Jr (106) won via major-decisions while Hunter Young (182) and Michael Hutchinson each had decision victories for Woodbridge.

“I like how balance we are,” Manning said. “Everybody weight class, everyone works their butt off. There’s not a spot in our lineup where we have a hole. Everyone works hard.”

Woodbridge avenged a 38-33 defeat to Indian River from 2019. Wednesday was also the first time Woodbridge defeated the Indians in a dual meet since Feb. 6, 2015.

Indian River was led by pins from Cristian Lopez (120), Ian Shaubach (126) and Ta`Jon Knight (138).

Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at tmastro@newszap.com or 741-8224.