Match of the Week
Smyrna Upset Bid
Photo: Sussex Central's Lewis Day pinned Smyrna's Michael Hartnett in 2:34 in the 215-pound match.
GEORGETOWN -- Phil Shultie has had easier seasons in 20-plus campaigns as Sussex Central High School's head wrestling coach.
It could, however, become one of his most rewarding.
The Golden Knights, battling inexperience and adversity, remained unbeaten at 6-0 after overcoming a late lead by previously unbeaten Smyrna with four consecutive wins for a 43-27 Henlopen Conference victory on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
It was the third time this season that the Knights have struggled to subdue an opponent they had beaten handily in seasons past.
To be sure, Shultie has been frustrated with replacing eight seniors from last year's state dual meet tournament team. He has dealt with the absence of 140-pound senior Casey Strohmeyer, who missed nearly a month with a stomach virus.
But if the Knights can secure a spot in the state dual meet tournament this season, Shultie will consider this one of the program's finest accomplishments.
The win over Smyrna, which fell to 5-1 in the conference and 6-1 overall, illustrated the kind of season the Knights have had, including a tough 41-31 win over Polytech and a come-from-behind 49-25 victory over Lake Forest.
With the meet starting with the 152-pound match, the Knights jumped out to a 22-6 lead only to fall behind 27-22 entering the evening's final four matches.
But then came one of those rewarding moments, when 130-pounder Orion Cameron worked his way to a major decision to cut the deficit to 27-26 and one of Shultie's inexperienced wrestlers, Jason Dickerson, lifted the Knights with an unexpected pin at 135 for a 32-27 Central lead.
Strohmeyer then put the outcome out of reach with a 30-second pin at 140, and Jordan Lowe capped the 21-point run with a technical fall at 145.
The Knights went ahead 10-0 on a decision by Wyatt Hall at 152, a major decision by Raheim Brunskill at 160, and an overtime decision by Brett Cordrey at 171.
Smyrna closed to within 10-6 on a pin by Josh Cherriman at 189, but pins by Lewis Day and A.J. Rovillard at 215 and 275 pushed Central's lead to 22-6.
Smyrna, however, won the next four matches, including three by pin, to move ahead 27-22. Brian Fletcher's pin at 125 concluded that run.
152 -- Wyatt Hall (SC) dec. Scott Cahall, 9-8
160 -- Raheim Brunskill (SC) maj. dec. Mike Zulkowski, 21-11
171 -- Brett Cordrey (SC) dec. Wade Dunning, 11-9 (OT)
189 -- Joshua Cherriman (Smy.) pinned Weldon Bagwell, 3:24
215 -- Lewis Day (SC) pinned Michael Hartnett, 2:34
Hwt. -- A.J. Rovillard (SC) pinned Matt Hesselfine, 1:07
103 -- Jason Ribolla (Smy.) pinned Derek Waughen, 2:53
112 -- Michael Crain (Smy.) dec. Josh Lowe, 9-6
119 -- Andrew Ribolla (Smy.) pinned Jeremy Milam, 3:11
125 -- Brian Fletcher (Smy.) pinned Richard Dondarski, 4:48
130 -- Orion Cameron (SC) maj. dec. Nick Proud, 15-5
135 -- Jason Dickerson (SC) pinned Russell Revel, 3:45
140 -- Casey Strohmeyer (SC) pinned Jon Witcoski, :30
145 -- Jordan Lowe (SC) tech. fall Patrick Blissard, 16-0
Sussex Central head coach Phil Shultie on the unusual situation of his middle weights having to win the match:
"We told them tonight, we had a little meeting, that we can't win by decision. We had to win by major or tech. Just like Jordan Lowe going for a tech fall with five seconds left. That's going to help him down the road here. Orion Cameron was trying to rush everything. He was in the situation where he was in the driver's seat where he had to win. He had to win big to get us back in it because after they beat us at 103, 112, 119, 125, they were in full swing and we had to put a stop to it. He rushed everything a little too much but when he settled down he was fine."
Shultie on Jason Dickerson's go-ahead pin of Smyrna's Russell Revel at 135:
"We knew, we went through and looked at all the scores and all the scores have been about the same. They both pinned the same people. Jason beat a kid 11-5, he beat the kid 12-6. We told him it was going to come down to who gets the very first takedown. If we get that takedown and get him thinking defense, we have a shot at winning. And that's what he did. He went out on the whistle and in 10 seconds took him down. So the advantage worked towards him. That helped him."
Shultie on his inexperienced squad:
"We don't have any superstars on our team. We lost like eight seniors last year. The JV guys are coming through for us. It's just been a frustrating year for us because I think that some of the matches we're getting beat we should win. We're young but yet we're losing a whole load of people this year. So we're going to be starting over again next year. And then the year after that we're going to be starting over again. So until things start to, until we start getting the Pee Wee out, we start getting the middle school out, to the high school level ... But it's a team effort this year. Always before we knew that if in the upper weights it was close we would pull it out. This year we have some holes in there and it's just a team effort. So far it's working out. It has been frustrating but it has been rewarding. We just have to keep on plugging and keep on working and see what happens down the road.
Shultie on the Knights' chances for a state dual meet tournament berth:
"We're on track, but we have Dover ahead of us, we have Laurel, we have Milford. We're not there yet. We're a very young team, a very thin team, so as long as we stay healthy we'll be okay. Casey missed almost the whole month of December with the flu. We have some guys we can put in there for him, but we're thin, like a lot of schools. It is a team effort this year, where last year we had the guns, except when we wrestled CR. We had the guns but they had the big guns last year."
Shultie on the challenge from Smyrna:
"It was a good match. Smyrna's tough. We had a real close match with Polytech. I don't think we were ever behind. We wrestled Lake and we were behind early and we knew we were going to be behind early. Today starting at 152 worked to our advantage because we ended up with the strong point of our lineup. I was pleased with that."
SC 135-pounder Jason Dickerson on putting the Knights ahead with a pin:
"I've never had a match like this. I was so nervous going into this match. The coaches told me I had to win so we could get a big lead going into the last two matches. I did it. I don't know how, I was so nervous."
Dickerson on pinning Smyrna's Russell Revel:
"He was real strong. I had a half and I didn't turn him and I figured he would just roll me over, he was so strong. He was flat the whole period and I couldn't get the pin. It just happened. I never wrestled him before. Some of my teammates had wrestled him and they pinned him, too, so I had a little bit of confidence. I just had to win. I gave it all I had and I just stuck him."
SC 140-pounder Casey Strohmeyer on his goals this season:
"I think I'm at the level where I should be. I think there's still room for me to improve. I want to wrestle this way all the way to the state finals and I want to do even better there."
Strohmeyer on missing a month due to illness:
"I had a stomach virus early on and it kind of stuck with me for awhile. I feel a lot better now. I'm pretty well set to go."
Copyright © 1999-2002 Sussex County Online