for Sussex Wrestlers
Take Second at 145, 152
Photo: Sussex Tech's Matt Davis lifts CR's Dan Rigby in 152-pound sixth-place match.
DOVER -- What appeared to be a promising state tournament for Sussex County wrestlers evaporated on the second day of the 2002 Delaware high school individual wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 23.
With 14 Sussex wrestlers advancing to Saturday's semifinals, only two made it to the finals Saturday night at Delaware State University.
Sussex Central, which put 8 wrestlers in the semis in what had all the makings of another stunning effort following the school's first Henlopen Conference team title last weekend, advanced only one -- 145-pounder Jordan Lowe -- into the finals.
Seaford junior Grant Gray was the other county wrestler to reach the finals, at 152.
Lowe lost to defending state champion Joe Ferrara of St. Mark's, 13-3, while Gray was beaten by technical fall by four-time state champion Andrew Donofrio of St. Mark's, 20-5.
For the tournament, Sussex wrestlers did post two seconds and five thirds.
Besides Lowe's and Gray's runnerup finishes, Indian River's Will Saylor placed third at 119, Cape Henlopen's Kyle Hopkins took third at 135, Sussex Tech's Anthony Baron was third at 152, and Sussex Central's Casey Strohmeyer and A.J. Rovillard took thirds at 140 and heavyweight, respectively.
The results were particularly disappointing for Sussex Central, which had been accomplishing all kinds of unprecedented feats in the post-season.
On top of winning the school's first conference tournament team title and ending Caesar Rodney's six-year reign, the Knights had put eight wrestlers into the state semifinals for the first time.
But instead of challenging the school record of three state champions set in 1994, the Knights had to settle for a record for top six finishes with nine.
"We had a good sesaon," said Knight head coach Phil Shultie. "You can't judge it always on what you did in the last match. Unfortunately, this is what they will remember about this season. I think they will remember the conference title, but for them personally, they're going to remember that this was their last match. For the seniors, it's 'I either won my last match or lost my last match'.
"But I hope they don't remember just that. I hope they think about, like you said, what we've done. We had six seniors and they all placed here. There were a lot of firsts for us here."
Photos: Sussex Central's Jordan Lowe (top) lifts St. Mark's Joe Ferrara, while Seaford's Grant Gray escapes from St. Mark's Andrew Donofrio.
Sussex Central's Jordan Lowe and Seaford's Grant Gray put together sterling tournaments but couldn't have run into more difficult opponents in their championship matches.
Gray, a junior in his first state final, faced the ominous task of trying to derail Andrew Donofrio's quest to become only the seventh four-time champion in state history.
Gray decisioned Concord's Anthony Cosenzo 13-8 in the first round and scored a 24-12 major decision over Tower Hill's Garrad Esposito in the quarterfinals. He then beat Sussex Central's Wyatt Hall by injury default in the semis when Hall suffered a cracked rib.
In the championship, however, Donofrio's experience showed as he repeatedly took Gray down and put him on his back twice for the technical fall in just 1:35.
Gray finished his season with a 33-6 record, while Donofrio, ranked fourth in the nation, finished his St. Mark's career with a 160-13 record. Bound for Virginia Tech, Donofrio never lost to an in-state opponent.
Lowe concluded his season with a 36-4 record after his 13-3 finals loss to St. Mark's Joe Ferrara.
To reach the finals, Lowe pinned Howard's Eddie Baise in 1:43 in the first round, beat Friends' David Trainer by technical fall in 4:58 in the quarterfials, and posted a 10-0 major decision over Newark's Chris Hudson in the semifinals.
Ferrara, the defending state champion who was in his third state finals, proved far more difficult as he concluded his career with a 132-23 record. Ferrara took a 5-0 lead over Lowe in the first period and extended it to 7-0 after two periods.
Several other noteworthy performances in the championship finals included the upset of three-time state champion Jordan Sianni of Hodgson in the 135-pound final by Chris Collins of St. Mark's. Sianni finished his career with a 172-10 record.
As a team, St. Mark's, guided by Sussex Central wrestling legend Steve Bastianelli, who won three state titles for the Golden Knights in the mid-1970s, captured five state championships.
Lake Forest posted a first in school history with two state champions -- John Hummel a 103 and Tyler Lapinsky at 112.
Caesar Rodney's Mark Reynolds capped a first for the Reynolds family, which became the first family in state history to post three state champions.
In winning at 171 Saturday night, Mark joined older brothers Doug, who won at 145 in 1998, and Dave, who won at 152 in 1996, as state champions.103 Pounds
Four Sussex wrestlers placed third in their weight classes, while four others placed fourth. Following are details on each wrestler's state meet performances.Will Saylor, Indian River, 3rd Place, 119
Saylor, the state champion at 103 last season, finished third at 119 this year. He won the 119 Henlopen Conference title last weekend.
Struggling most of the season against heavier wrestlers than he was used to, Saylor fell to William Penn's Ken Krygier, 10-5, in the semifinals.
Saylor battled back, though, to decision Archmere's Nick Civitella 10-7 in the third-place match.
Saylor pinned Delcastle's Darren Shellem in 1:03 in the first round andscored a 17-3 major decision over Civitella in the quarterfinals.
In the consolations, Saylor pinned Hodgson's Josh Mendick in 27 seconds to reach the third-place bout.Kyle Hopkins, Cape Henlopen, 3rd Place, 135
Hopkins placed third in the 135 class as he decisioned Salesianum's Mike Brazil 5-0 in the third-place match.
Hopkins, coming off a runnerup performance in the conference meet last weekend, was dropped into the consolations by three-time state champion Jordan Sianni of Hodgson by a 13-9 decision in the semifinals.
He then decisioned Sussex Central's Jason Dickerson in the consolations, 9-4, before blanking Brazil in the third-place match.Casey Strohmeyer, Sussex Central, 3rd Place, 140
Strohmeyer, coming off a conference championship, hoped to duplicate his brother Corey's state championship from last season.
Unfortunately for Strohmeyer, Salesianum's Chris Lazartic was on his way to a state title, including a 13-7 victory over Strohmeyer in the semifinals.
Strohmeyer recovered to record a 5-1 decision over St. Mark's Kyle Skinner in the third-place match.
Along the way, Strohmeyer scored a technical fall over Brandywine's Brandon Council in the first round and a major decision over Newark's Steve Wooldridge in the quarterfinals.
He decisioned Polytech's Chris Sherman, 15-9, in the consolations. Strohmeyer finished fifth at 140 in last year's state meet.Anthony Baron, Sussex Tech, 3rd Place, 152
Dan Madant, Milford, 4th Place, 152
Photo: Sussex Tech's Anthony Baron (top) rides Milford's Dan Madanat
Baron won his third-place match with Milford's Dan Madanat by disqualification.
Third in the conference tournament, Baron started the tournament with an overtime pin of Brandywine's Andrew Snodgrass in the first round.
He then lost to St. Mark's Andrew Donofrio on a technical fall in the quarterfinals, but battled back through the consolations to capture third place.
In the consolations, Baron decked Concord's Anthony Consenzo in 4:47 in his first match, then scored a 12-1 major decision over Dickinson's Logan Kelly.
He advanced to the third-place match with a forfeit from Sussex Central's Wyatt Hall, who cracked a rib earlier in the tourney.
Madanat had the misfortune of running into Donofrio in the first round and was dropped into the consolations on a technical fall.
He nearly came all the way back through the consolations, though, when he pinned Brandywine's Andrew Snodgrass in 1:43 and Tower Hill's Garrad Esposito in 2:27 and decisioned Caesar Rodney's Steve Crew 2-1. He then decisioned Smyrna's Scott Cahall, 7-5, to reach the third-place bout.A.J. Rovillard, Sussex Central, 3rd Place, Hwt.
A.J. Rovillard wrapped up a stellar career with the Golden Knights with a third-place finish in the heavyweight class.
Rovillard won his first conference title last weekend and had hoped to reach the state finals this weekend but he lost to A.I. DuPont's Joe Coen, 7-5, in the semifinals.
Rovillard, who placed fifth in last year's state meet, pinned Concord's Floyd Evans in 2:51 in the third-place match.
Before that, he decisioned William Penn's Matt Hardy 3-1 in the first round and pinned McKean's Chase Noll in 2:39 in the quarterfinals.
Once in the consolations, he pinned Middletown's Matt Ford in 1:36 to reach the third-place bout.Josh Lowe, Sussex Central, 4th Place, 112
Lowe suffered a heart-breaking 6-5 loss to A.I. DuPont's Jesse Wencius in the third-place match to finish fourth at 112.
Third in the conference tournament, Lowe started the state meet with a pin of William Penn's J.C. Crooks in the first round in 3:54.
He then major decisioned Archmere's Joe Corsini before dropping into the consolations with another heart-breaking loss, this one by 13-12 to eventual state champion Tyler Lapinsky of Lake Forest in the semifinals.
In the consolations, Lowe moved into the third-place match with a 49-second pin of Salesianum's Andrew Lazartic.Orion Cameron, Sussex Central, 4th Place, 130
Cameron duplicated his fourth-place effort at 125 last year with a fourth-place finish at 130 this year.
Battling an illness, Cameron reached the semifinals before falling, 16-10, to Middletown's Ryan Spencer.
Cameron, the conference champion last weekend, scored a 12-3 major decision over William Penn's Nick Lagarelli in the first round and a 9-5 decision over Tatnall's Frank Cacia in the quarterfinals.
In the consolations, Cameron posted a 14-5 major decision over Smyrna's Brian Fletcher to reach the third-place match.Brock Charles,
4th Place, 189
Charles put up a valiant effort but came out on the short end of a hard-fought 7-6 loss to St. Mark's Brian Willis -- whom he had beaten in the quarterfinals -- in his third-place match.
A third-place finisher in last weekend's conference tournament, Charles started the state tournament with a pin of Christiana's Ken Thomas in 1:57 in the first round.
He then decisioned Willis 6-2 in the quarterfinals before falling to Howard's Luis Maleno on a pin in 1:49 in the semifinals.
In the consolations, Charles pinned Caravel's J.T. Laws in 4:15 before suffering the difficult loss to Willis in the third-place bout.
Three Sussex wrestlers placed fifth in their weight classes, while five others placed sixth. Following are details on each wrestler's state meet performances.Richard Dondarski, Sussex Central, 5th Place, 125
Dondarski capped off a tremendous freshman season with a fifth-place effort in the state meet.
The conference champion and outstanding wrestler of last weekend's conference tournament, Dondarski pinned Tatnall's Travis Hunter in 3:17 in the fifth-place match.
Dondarski started the tournament with a pair of wins -- a technical fall over Howard's Anthony Austin in 3:24 in the first round and a pin of Hunter in 4:41 in the quarterfinals.
He then fell to eventual state champion Brian Welch of Hodsgon on an 8-0 major decision in the semifinals.
In the consolations, Dondarski fell to Newark's Mike Marra, 7-0, to fall into the fifth-place match.Brandon Miller, Milford, 5th Place, 135
Jason Dickerson, Sussex Central, 6th Place, 135
Photo: Sussex Central's Jason Dickerson rides Milford's Brandon Miller
In an all-Sussex matchup, Miller decisioned Dickerson 6-0 in the fifth-place match.
The conference champion last weekend, Miller started the tournament with a pin of Mt. Pleasant's Rick Derke in 5:44 in the first round. He then decisioned Archmere's Jamie Newitt, 7-3, in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, however, Miller dropped an 8-3 decision to eventual state champion Chris Collins of St. Mark's.
in the consolations, Miller lost to Salesianum's Mike Brazil, 3-1, to fall into the fifth-place match.
Dickerson, meanwhile, lost to Brazil in the first round, 5-2, to fall into the consolations.
There, he pinned Polytech's Wayne Ridgeway in 3:49, scored a 17-6 major decision over Middletown's Justin Null, and pinned Archmere's Jamie Newitt in 2:38 before falling to Cape's Kyle Hopkins, 9-4, to drop into the fifth-place bout.Raheim Brunskill, Sussex Central, 5th Place, 160
Ben Ralph, Laurel, 6th Place, 160
Brunskill had his sights set on a state title this year after finishing third in last year's state tournament.
But after winning his first two matches, Brunskill ran into eventual state champion Zach Plerhoples in the semfinals and lost, 8-1.
Brunskill started the tournament with a technical fall over Brandywine's Anthony Davis in 4:32 in the first round. He followed that up with a 3-2 decision over Howard's Jon Laughlin in the quarterfinals.
Once in the consolations, the Henlopen champion forfeited a match to Polytech's John Drummond before earning a forfeit win over Laurel's Ben Ralph in the sixth-place match.Matt Davis
6th Place, 145
Davis was beaten in the sixth-place match on a technical fall by Caesar Rodney's Dan Rigby.
Davis started the tournament with a loss to eventual state champion Joe Ferrara of St. Mark's. Ferrara pinned Davis in 3:52.
In the consolations, Davis decisioned McKean's Josh Santobianco 5-0, Friends' David Trainer 4-3, and Cape Henlopen's Bobby Hopkins 7-4 before falling to Smyrna's Pat Blissard, 7-1.
Davis also placed sixth in the conference meet last weekend.Wyatt Hall, Sussex Central, 6th Place, 152
Hall rolled into the state semifinals Saturday only to suffer a cracked rib in a match with eventual state finalist Grant Gray of Seaford.
Losing that match by injury default, Hall then had to forfeit his consolation matches, including a fifth-place match against Smyrna's Scott Cahall.Kris Kendzierski
6th Place, 171
Kendzierski settled for sixth place after being pinned by Salesianum's Matt Foy in 1:51 in the fifth-place match.
Kendzierski lost in the first round to Hodgson's Mark Boulden by a 5-3 score.
In the consolations, he then recorded a technical fall over Brandywine's Steve Giorgi in 4:36, a pin over St. Mark's Matt Axe in 1:45, and a decision over Middletown's Seth Riblett by an 8-6 score.
Kendzierski placed third at the conference meet.
Sussex Central head coach Phil Shultie on the tournament:
"Friday night we looked tough. Saturday we just couldn't get things to go our way. Orion Cameron's (130) been sick, but still, the boy beat him fair and square. Casey (Strohmeyer) was the one ... I don't know what happened. It happens sometimes to wrestlers. He went out there and just didn't wrestle like he is able to. He's a lot better than he performed. Wyatt Hall (152) cracked a rib. Raheim Brunskill (160), we knew was a close match. At heavyweight, the guy (A.J. Rovillard) changed his style. But still, most of the guys came back and got third, and Richie (Dondarski) came back and got fifth (at 125)."
Shultie on Jordan Lowe, who reached the finals at 145:
"To be honest with you, we thought Jordan would get to the finals, Casey would get to the finals, Wyatt would get to the finals, A.J. would get to the finals. At 112 (Josh Lowe), we thought we had a good shot there. We knew at 160 with Raheim that it would be real tough. But nothing went our way. Nothing went our way."
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