Wrestling notebook: Henlopen North even tougher this year

 The Henlopen Conference Northern Division was already hard enough to navigate in wrestling.

Then a six-time state champion was added this offseason.

When Milford moved up to the Henlopen North, the toughest wrestling conference in the state got even tougher.

“You don’t have an off week,” said Caesar Rodney coach Dan Rigby. “Anytime you wrestle someone in the Henlopen North, there’s no down time. That’s what makes it so fun and so exciting. You always got to be on your toes because anyone can beat anyone on any night.”

Every year since 2012, the two teams in the Division I state dual meet championship match have been from the Henlopen North. The conference has won the last nine Division I state titles while Smyrna, Caesar Rodney and Sussex Central have each won a state championship in the last three seasons.

Milford was in Division II during most of this time span. The Buccaneers earned six consecutive state championships from 2014-2019.

They have picked up right where they left off — going 3-0 against Henlopen North teams so far this season.

Smyrna is the only other unbeaten Henlopen North team after Sussex Central gave Sussex Tech its first defeat of the year on Wednesday night. Smyrna is 2-0 in conference with wins over Cape Henlopen and Sussex Central.

Smyrna coach Aaron Harris thinks the Eagles’ nonconference slate, which also includes trips to prestigous tournaments like the Ray Oliver Invitational, the Walsh Jesuit Ironman Tournament and the Beast of the East, has them well-prepared for the week-to-week grind of the Henlopen North.

“What really excites me is that we’ve gone through the meat-grinder already,” Harris said. “Now we’re ready for it. That’s what is really exciting to me. The fact that, we know we’re ready for it.”

Weekend roundup

Dover finished third at the Glasgow Invitational last Saturday. The Senators were led by Qwantez Watkins (113 pounds), Jamir Young (132), Gabe Evans (182) and Qualeak Bumbrey (220) who each won their respective weight classes.

First State Military Academy was fifth, the only other downstate team competing. Daeman Gatti placed second at 120 pounds to lead the Bulldogs.

Milford went 8-0 over the weekend at the Dundalk Duals in Maryland to take home the team title.

The Buccaneers closest match was a 57-21 result against Owings Mills, Md. Milford is now 12-0 overall on the season after Wednesday’s dual meet win over Polytech.

Smyrna competed at the Hampton Duals in Virginia and won its first round matchup against Christiansburg, Va., 33-31. The Eagles then fell to McDonogh of Maryland, 48-22 in the quarterfinals before dropping its consolation round contest against St. Augustine Prep of New Jersey.    

Bonus points

• Both Indian River and Woodbridge are 3-0 in the Henlopen South. The two teams face each other in a dual meet on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

• Caesar Rodney, Milford and Sussex Central are each set to compete this weekend at Stephen Decatur’s War on the Shore Invitational in Maryland.

• Dover is the only downstate school in the 18-team Green Knight Classic, hosted by Mount Pleasant High.

• Cape Henlopen is entered in the Grapple at the Brook Invitational, hosted by Springbrook High in Marlyand this weekend.