Wrestling notebook: Harris experiences Smyrna-CR rivalry for the first time as an Eagle

Aaron Harris experienced the Smyrna-Caesar Rodney high school wrestling rivalry for the first time wearing red on Wednesday night.

The former Caesar Rodney wrestler was able to coach his Smyrna team to a thrilling come-from-behind victory at his alma mater.

“It’s very intense,” Harris said. “This is where I wrestled all my matches. To come back here is very intense but everybody had a job to do and we did it.”

The rivalry has heated back up in the last year. Wendesday’s matchup was reminiscent of the 2011-2013 dual meets between the two teams when the rivalry was really at its peak.

Smyrna trailed 27-14 with five matches to go before taking four of the last five bouts and securing enough bonus points for a 33-30.

The win was a littler sweeter for Smyrna since Caesar Rodney edged the Eagles for the state championship a year ago. Despite Smyrna winning the regular season matchup, the Riders came back with a one-point win in the finals of the state tournament.

While the Eagles did fall to CR in the finals last season, their regular season winning streak against CR is still intact.

The last time Smyrna lost to Caesar Rodney in the regular season was on Feb. 1, 2012. Since then the Eagles have won four state titles and have appeared in the championship match every year.

Smyrna had put some distance between itself and CR before the 2018 season brought things closer. The Eagles won the yearly dual meet over their Henlopen Conference Northern Division rivals 52-15 in 2015, 47-17 in 2016 and 52-19 in 2017.

Harris, who moved to coach Smyrna from Dover this summer after Kurt Howell retired, thinks there was a lot Smyrna learned during the comeback on Wednesday — especially one thing.

“Toughness,” Harris said. “When your back is against the wall, keep battling.”

War on the Shore recap

Four downstate wrestlers won their respective weight classes at last weekend’s War on the Shore Invitational, hosted by Stephen Decatur High in Maryland.

Three of those were from Caesar Rodney — Jackson Dean (145 pounds), Gabe Degraffinreed (152) and Kevin Hudson (285).

Milford had the other winner as Anthony Diaz at 220 pounds became the first Buccaneers to win an individual title at the tournament which is made up of teams from Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Milford also finished second in the team standings.

The Buccaneers had the most place-winners of Delaware teams with nine.

Jack Thode was second at 113 and Gaij Copes was second at 160. Corey Messick (106), Jordan Passwaters (145) and Bevensky Augustin (182) finished in fifth while Eric Bennett (195) was sixth. Rafael Mejia (170) and Jacob Bryant (285) each were eighth.

CR had two more wrestlers place — Mike Primo in fifth at 126 and Pat Wisniewski in eighth at 132.

Sussex Central placed seven wrestlers led by Jevon Saffold’s third at 132. Mike Wright (fourth at 195), Tyler Karr (fifth at 285), Devin Pearsal (fifth at 152), Mason Ankrom (seventh at 120), Tarryl Sturgis (seventh at 170) and Cole Jester (eighth at 138) rounded out the podiums for the Golden Knights.

Bonus points

• Caesar Rodney’s Mike Primo won the 100th match of his career on Wednesday in the Smyrna-CR dual meet.

• Milford is entered in the Legacy Duals on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Hodgson.

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