Wrestling notebook: Smyrna’s Al-Chokhachy seeks one last title at state individual meet

Smyrna’s Jaxson Al-Chokhachy, left, and Indian River’s Ta’Jon Knight wrestle in the 126-pound championship match. Special to the Delaware State News/Jason Minto

SMYRNA — Jaxson Al-Chokhachy looked at the calender and knew there were only a few weeks left in the wrestling season.

The Smyrna High senior still had some things he wanted to accomplish before graduation. It was time to take things up a notch.
And its been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Al-Chokhachy.

In the last two weeks he has played a pivotal part in Smyrna’s Division I dual meet state title, won an individual conference championship and earned the 100th victory of his career.

“I used to take it for granted, not realizing I only had a couple months left of this,” Al-Chokhachy said. “I want to take my time now and savor this while I have it. I figured if I’m going to do that, then I’ll do it the best I can.”

He’ll look to keep that going as the individual state tournament gets underway today at Cape Henlopen High.

Al-Chokhachy is seeded third at 126 pounds. He carries a record of 23-7 into the tournament and is the Henlopen Conference champion.

He earned that title last weekend at Sussex Central High, where he was the second seed. Al-Chokhachy trailed in the first period of his finals match against Indian River High’s Ta’Jon Knight but battled back for a 7-4 decision.

“I haven’t been in a lot of holes this season and had to come back,” Al-Chokhachy said of the title match. “I felt fine, though. I thought I had a better gas tank and could put more pressure on.”

It was the first Henlopen Conference title of his career. He finished as runner-up a year ago as a 113-pounder.

Al-Chokhachy was third in the state last year at 113 pounds before bumping up to 126 this season.

The Eagles needed him at that weight during the dual meet championship round two Saturdays ago.

Al-Chokhachy recorded the key victory late in the dual meet to allow Smyrna to win the Division I title 35-33 over Caesar Rodney. Al-Chokhachy held off Mike Primo for a narrow decision, he was previously 0-10 against Primo before the finals.

Finally, in the semifinals of the Henlopen Conference tournament Saturday morning, Al-Chokhachy picked up win No. 100 of his career.
“It took me to the end of the season but I finally got it,” Al-Chokhachy said.

Thode on a roll

Al-Chokhachy isn’t the only wrestler who has stepped it up in a competitive weight class in recent weeks.

Milford freshman Jack Thode (113 pounds) pinned his way through the conference tournament for his first Henlopen Conference title. Thode was one of three Milford wrestlers to earn a conference championship along with Gaij Copes (160) and Anthony Diaz (220).

“He’s been outstanding,” said Milford coach Don Parsley. “Honestly, all of my finalists have had great years. The three champs — Gaij started us off, Diaz with the victory right there at the buzzer and Jack finishing things with the big pin in the second period. Those guys just work really hard every day in practice and they’re certainly deserving of the opportunity to be champion.”

Thode also played a pivotal role as the Buccaneers won their sixth-straight Division II dual meet state championship two Saturdays ago.

Thode earned a major-decision in the finals against Caravel. He carried that momentum into conferences where his longest match went 2:22.

“It was pretty cool, because we’ve always had hard work in the room and just to see that hard work pays off, it’s a very good feeling,” Thode said. “Seeing everybody in the weight class, I knew that I’ve beaten them before, and I knew they weren’t going to be easy to beat because nobody likes to lose. I just went out there and gave it my all in the match, trying to get it done in the best way to secure it and it just worked out that way.”

Thode is seeded third at states and has a record of 35-6.

Bonus points

• The state championship round is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday night.

• Henlopen Conference wrestlers have eight of the 14 top seeds.

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