St. Mark's in States
Another State Upset
Photos: Sussex Central head coach Phil Shultie (top) and 130-pounder Orion Cameron.
Sussex Central High School head wrestling coach Phil Shultie didn't want to face St. Mark's in the semifinals of the 2002 Division I state dual meet wrestling tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
But that's just who the fourth-seeded Golden Knights will meet when the semifinals begin at 6 p.m. at Delaware State University.
"I would love to hit CR, not St. Mark's," said Shultie of potential semifinal opponents after his Knights clinched a berth with a 51-11 win over Milford on Friday, Feb. 8.
The Knights, who finished 12-1 during the regular season, face top-seeded St. Mark's in one semifinal, while Henlopen Conference champion Caesar Rodney, the second seed, meets William Penn in the other semifinal.
In Division II, top seed and five-time defending state champion Hodgson takes on fourth seed Lake Forest, while No. 2 Smyrna battles rival No. 3 Middletown in the other semifinal.
The finals will start immediately after the semifinals.
For Central, it will be the second straight season the Knights have faced the top seed in the semifinals. Last year, Central lost to CR, 29-27, before CR went on to capture the crown with a 31-27 victory over St. Mark's.
The Knights have qualified for the dual meet tourmament for four consecutive years. Central upset Caesar Rodney in the 1999 semis before falling to St. Mark's in the finals. The Knights also reached the final in 1995.
Central is led by 130-pounder Orion Cameron, 140-pounder Casey Strohmeyer, 160-pounder Raheim Brunskill, and heavyweight A.J. Rovillard.
St. Mark's enters the tournament with a record of only 6-5, but the Spartans' losses have been to out-of-state powerhouses.
The Spartans, coached by former Sussex Central great Steve Bastianelli, dominated the Milford Invitational in December with six individual champions in a tournament that featured all four Division I contenders.
The Spartans have four wrestlers with more than 100 career wins -- Pat Atkinson at 125, Andrew Donofrio at 160, Bobby Shaw at 119, and Joe Ferrara at 145. Atkinson and Donofrio are returning state champions.
St. Mark's also defeated William Penn, 47-15, during the regular season. St. Mark's and William Penn had won every state title since the state went to the dual meet format in 1993 before CR's title last year.
In Division II, Hodgson, at 11-1, is favored to win a sixth consecutive state title. The Silver Eagles whipped Lake Forest 45-18 in the 2001 finals.
Sussex County Online will provide complete coverage of the Knights' state tournament battles on Thursday, Feb. 14.Probable Sussex Central Lineup
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