Wrestling notebook: Young Panthers work hard, show potential

Eric Buckson

WOODSIDE — The first one is finally out of the way.

Polytech High was the last Henlopen Conference Northern Division team to compete in a dual meet. The Panthers had to wait until Wednesday for their opening dual, where they fell 42-22 to Caesar Rodney.

With such an inexperienced squad, Polytech coach Eric Buckson hopes that now since his team has been in a competitive dual, they can focus on getting better.

Polytech has 11 new starters in the varsity lineup. Despite that, the Panthers were winning 22-9 against CR but ended up on the wrong end of several pivotal swing matches.

“They’re a hard working team,” Buckson said. “If you flip two matches then it’s basically tied going into the last match. That’s the message I gave them. You had an opportunity, it didn’t work out but that doesn’t change what we do. So let’s get back in the room, let’s get after it and work hard.

“That’s what they’ve been doing all year. And that’s why I think we’ll be better at the end of the year. That’s the kind of kids I have.”

Polytech’s next dual meet is at home against Cape Henlopen in another Henlopen North contest on Wednesday (6:30 p.m.). The Panthers then have a pair of non-divisional matchups on the road against Delaware Military Academy (Friday, Jan. 13, 4:30 p.m.) and Delmar (Wednesday, Jan. 18, 5:30 p.m.).

That leads to a trip to defending Division I champion Smyrna on Wednesday, Jan. 25 (6:30 p.m.).

Smyrna welcomes McDonogh

Smyrna will host national power McDonogh of Maryland in a dual meet Saturday at 5 p.m.

The Eagles have defeated McDonogh each of the last two years. That includes a 33-30 result in 2015 at Smyrna, which was the first time in school history Smyrna defeated a nationally ranked opponent in a dual meet.

Smyrna knocked off McDonogh again last season 31-28 at a tri-meet in Maryland.

McDonogh won the team title at its own Ray Oliver Tournament to begin the season and finished 19th of 110 teams at the Beast of the East Tournament in December, hosted by the University of Delaware.

Bonus points

• The Polytech-Dover wrestling dual meet is now scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4 at 10:30 a.m. at Polytech. The match was originally scheduled for Dec. 22.

• Sussex Central’s Lucas Hudson earned his 100th career victory over winter break at the Battle of the Beach hosted by Indian River.

• Milford is off to a 2-0 start in Henlopen South competition. The last time the Buccaneers lost a dual meet to a Henlopen South opponent was Dec. 5, 2012 when they fell 48-33 to Woodbridge.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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