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Henlopen Wrestling Tournament ...

Four from Sussex
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  • Photo: Laurel head coach Tom Pavia was named coach of the year.

    Laurel head coach Tom Pavia

    Story ...

    Laurel's Will Saylor

    Photos: Above, Will Saylor of Laurel rides Sussex Central's Josh Lowe en route to his third straight Henlopen title. Below, Jimmy Artis of Milford works on CR's Ian Moser in the 103 final and Sussex Central's Jason Dickerson pins Smyrna's Russell Revel in the 140 final, and Milford's Josh Abraham.

    Publisher, Sussex County Online

    SEAFORD -- While no Sussex County teams could stop the Caesar Rodney juggernaut in this year's Henlopen Conference wrestling tournament the way Sussex Central did last year, a number of Sussex County wrestlers walked away from Seaford High School with championships and state tournament berths on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2003.

    Milford's Jimmy ArtisIn addition to the conference championships won by Milford's Jimmy Artis and Josh Abraham, Laurel's Will Saylor, and Sussex Central's Jason Dickerson, Laurel head coach Tom Pavia won the 2003 coach of the year award.

    Although the Bulldogs placed only Saylor in the championship finals Sunday night, he guided them to their first Henlopen South title in 20 years and their first berth in the Division II state dual meet tournament.

    As expected, Caesar Rodney, the dominant team in the conference dual meet season, toted off the tournament's team championship hardware for the seventh time in the past eight seasons. The Riders won the tournament's team title with 263.5 points, while Smyrna placed second with 194.0 points.

    The top team from Sussex County was Laurel, which placed third with 177.5 points. Milford was fourth with 144.5 points and Sussex Central, rebuilding from last year's tournament championship team, placed fifth with 137.0 points. Seaford also scored more than 100 points with 110.5 points for sixth place.

    Sussex Central's Jason DickersonAs for the individual honors, Saylor, a junior, won his third consecutive conference title with a 12-3 major decision over Sussex Central's Josh Lowe in the 125 final. Saylor previously had won conference championships at 103 as a freshman and 119 as a sophomore.

    While his third conference title is nice, he hopes to add a second state title -- he won states at 103 as a freshman but finished third as a sophomore at 119 -- to his credit.

    "I thought I had a pretty good tournament," said Saylor of his third conference title. "I thought I could have wrestled a better final match, but I won and that's what's important. Now I just have to stay focused on the state tournament."

    Milford head coach Don Parsley saw his program capture multiple championships for the first time in at least four years. The Bucs had won only one conference title in the previous four years.

    "Coming into the tournament, I knew we had some guys who could have some success," said Parsley. "Certainly Artis and Abraham, they were not a shoe-in, but I thought they could do it."

    At 103, Artis put on an impressive display of strength and quickness. Even though he beat CR's Ian Moser by only 10-7, the match wasn't that close as Artis continually let Moser up only to take him down again. Several times it looked like Moser had an advantage, only to have Artis quickly spin out of harm's way and take Moser down.

    Milford's Josh Abraham>

    Just a freshman, Artis went 90-6 in his junior high career. He lost to Moser 14-10 earlier in the year when he came back from an early deficit to tie 10-10 only to lose four points to Moser late in the match.

    "(This time) I kept my hands over the top of his head because when I knew if he grabbed my arm, he'd dump me," said Artis.

    Artis' head coach, Don Parsley, said Artis learned a painful lesson in the regular season loss to Moser.

    At 130, Abraham won his first conference crown with an injury default over Sussex Central's Richard Dondarski. Abraham was leading the match 4-0 when Dondarski, one of six defending conference champions in the finals, had to stop.

    "That's the third time he's seen Dondarski," said Parsley of Abraham. "We were winning 2-0 or whatever at the time of the injury. Richard's a real competitor and I knew it was going to be a real battle. It's unfortunate we had to win by default, but we'll take it, by hook or by crook. I'm certainly pleased with Josh's performance. He's been wrestling well all season."

    Abraham finished sixth in the conference tournament at 125 last year, but this year, with a 27-4 record, he was confident he could make the big leap to a championship, even going up against a defending conference champion in Dondarski.

    "I beat him 8-3 during season," said Abraham. "I knew it was going to be a tough match, so I just worked my hardest and came out the victor. I was still nervous because it was a big crowd and I knew he was a togh competitor. Last year he upset a kid and I was hoping it wouldn't be me this year."

    Dickerson gave Central its only title this year when he pinned Smyrna's Russell Revel as the buzzer sounded to end the second period. Dickerson finished third at 135 in last year's conference tournament and sixth in states. He didn't wrestle Revel during the dual meet season but had lost to him, 13-9, in an early season tourney.

    "It felt good, a payback," said Dickerson. "I just went out and gave it all I had because I knew it was my last chance as a senior."

    In other finals matches involving Sussex County wrestlers:

    • Keith Brown of Milford lost to Garrett Faulkner of CR, 5-3, in the 135 final;

    • Dave Marvel of Milford lost to Smyrna's Pat Blissard, 10-3, in the 145 final;

    • Defending champion Grant Gray of Seaford lost to Dover's Josh Foshmire, 5-3, at 152;

    • Anthony Baron of Sussex Tech was decisioned 7-4 by CR's Beau Moore in a bloody 160-pound final that eventually earned Moore the tournament's outstanding wrestler award;

    • Milford's Keith Kendzierski dropped an 11-4 decision to CR's Mark Reynolds in the 171-pound final;

    • Sussex Tech's Andy Lee was pinned by CR's Mike McKenna in 5:10 at 189;

    • Cape Henlopen's Andy Bradley lost by a major decision to Smyrna's Josh Cherriman, 16-6, in the 215 final;

    • Sussex Tech's A.J. Brooks suffered an early ankle injury and ended up defaulting to CR's Bryan Robinson at the 3:26 mark of the heavyweight final.

    Results ...

    Championship Finals

    103 Pounds
    • Jimmy Artis (Milf.) dec. Ian Moser (CR), 10-7
    112 Pounds
    • Jon Hummel (LF) dec. Sean Corea (CR), 6-2
    119 Pounds
      Mike Crain (Smy.) dec. Leroy Hubbard (LF), 10-3
    125 Pounds
    • Will Saylor (Lau.) maj. dec. Josh Lowe (SC), 12-3
    130 Pounds
    • Josh Abraham (Milf.) injury default over Richard Dondarski (SC)
    135 Pounds
    • Garrett Faulkner (CR) dec. Keith Brown (Milf.), 5-3
    140 Pounds
    • Jason Dickerson (SC) pinned Russell Revel (Smy.), 4:00
    145 Pounds
    • Pat Blissard (Smy.) dec. Dave Marvel (Milf.), 10-3
    152 Pounds
    • Josh Foshmire (Dov.) dec. Grant Gray (Sea.), 5-3
    160 Pounds
    • Beau Moore (CR) dec. Anthony Baron (ST), 10-6
    171 Pounds
    • Mark Reynolds (CR) dec. Keith Kendzierski (Milf.), 11-4
    189 Pounds
    • Mike McKenna (CR) pinned Andy Lee (ST), 5:10
    215 Pounds
    • Josh Cherriman (Smy.) maj. dec. Andy Bradley (CH), 16-6
    • Bryan Robinson (CR) injury default over A.J. Brooks (ST)

    Third-Place Matches

    103 Pounds
    • Marc Saylor (Lau.) dec. Josh Diaz (LF), 7-3
    112 Pounds
    • Jared Allen (Lau.) dec. Nathan Fleming (Milf.), 10-5
    119 Pounds
    • Bobby Otwell (Lau.) dec. Chris Harris (CR), 3-1
    125 Pounds
    • Tyler Lapinksy (LF) injury default over Andrew Riballo (Smy.)
    130 Pounds
    • Matt Shelor (CR) dec. Ryan West (Sea.), 6-4
    135 Pounds
    • Kyle Hopkins (CH) dec. Matt West (SC), 6-2
    140 Pounds
    • Todd Martin (CR) pinned Jameik Matthews (Lau.), 1:33
    145 Pounds
    • Josh McGregor (CR) dec. Martin Stoken (LF), 1-1, 2 OT, won on criteria
    152 Pounds
    • Dan Rigby (CR) dec. Bobby Hopkins (CH), 4-1
    160 Pounds
    • Ben Ralph (Lau.) pinned Mike Wilson (Sea.), 3:28
    171 Pounds
    • Mike Zulkowski (Smy.) pinned Justin Illian (SC), 3:03
    189 Pounds
    • Kiante Walker (Lau.) dec. D.J. Singleterry (IR), 6-5
    215 Pounds
    • Steve Billbrough (CR) dec. Eston Ennis (Lau.), 6-1
    • Mike Hartnett (Smy.) dec. Zach Slatcher (Lau.), 6-1

    Fifth-Place Matches

    103 Pounds
    • Todd Broomell maj. dec. Chris Robbins (PT), 13-0
    112 Pounds
    • Tyler Elliott (IR) pinned Mike Timmons (SC), 5:10
    119 Pounds
    • Cody Pepper (SC) dec. Jimmy Johnson (PT), 9-4
    125 Pounds
    • Greg Robinson (PT) pinned B.J. Jenkins (Sea.), 4:26
    130 Pounds
    • Jake Tartal (CH) dec. Nick Proud (Smy.), 7-2
    135 Pounds
    • D.W. Horsey (Lau.) injury default over Brian Fletcher (Smy.)
    140 Pounds
    • Jason Enders (Sea.) dec. Andre Mifflin (PT), 7-6
    145 Pounds
    • Matt Davis (ST) won by forfeit over Jordan Dickerson (SC)
    152 Pounds
    • Dan Donovan (Milf.) dec. Mike Crowe (PT), 3-2
    160 Pounds
    • Scott Cahall (Smy.) dec. Chris Woodall (PT), 7-6
    171 Pounds
    • Jeremy Showell (IR) pinned Ricky Ralph (Lau.), :29
    189 Pounds
    • Weldon Bagwell (SC) dec. Standley Eugene (Dov.), 11-9, OT
    215 Pounds
    • Brandon Kendzierski (Milf.) pinned Tremayne Mooreman (IR), 1:39
    • Justin King (SC) pinned Trey Vann, 2:27

    Henlopen Team Standings ...

    1. Caesar Rodney 263.5
    2. Smyrna 194.0
    3. Laurel 177.5
    4. Milford 144.5
    5. Sussex Central 137.0
    6. Seaford 110.5
    7. Lake Forest 107.0
    8. Sussex Tech 80.0
    9. Cape Henlopen 79.0
    10. Polytech 67.5
    11. Indian River 58.5
    12. Dover 53.0
    13. Woodbridge 9.0
    14. Delmar 8.0

    State Qualifiers ...

    State Qualifiers

    The following is the list of Sussex County wrestlers who qualified for the state individual wrestling tournament at Delaware State University in Dover on Friday, Feb. 28, and Saturday, March 1.

    103 Pounds
    • Jimmy Artis (Milf.)
    • Marc Saylor (Lau.)
    112 Pounds
    • Jared Allen (Lau.)
    • Nathan Fleming (Milf.)
    • Tyler Elliott (IR)
    • Mike Timmons (SC)
    119 Pounds
    • Bobby Otwell (Lau.)
    • Cody Pepper (SC)
    125 Pounds
    • Will Saylor (Lau.)
    • Josh Lowe (SC)
    • B.J. Jenkins (Sea.)
    130 Pounds
    • Josh Abraham (Milf.)
    • Richard Dondarski (SC)
    • Ryan West (Sea.)
    135 Pounds
    • Keith Brown (Milf.)
    • Kyle Hopkins (CH)
    • Matt West (SC)
    • Jake Tartal (CH)
    140 Pounds
    • Jason Dickerson (SC)
    • Jameik Matthews (Lau.)
    • D.W. Horsey (Lau.)
    • Jason Enders (Sea.)
    145 Pounds
    • Dave Marvel (Milf.)
    • Matt Davis (ST)
    • Jordan Dickerson (SC)
    152 Pounds
    • Grant Gray (Sea.)
    • Bobby Hopkins (CH)
    • Dan Donovan (Milf.)
    160 Pounds
    • Anthony Baron (ST)
    • Ben Ralph (Lau.)
    • Mike Wilson (Sea.)
    171 Pounds
    • Keith Kendzierski (Milf.)
    • Justin Illian (SC)
    • Jeremy Showell (IR)
    • Ricky Ralph (Lau.)
    189 Pounds
    • Andy Lee (ST)
    • Kiante Walker (Lau.)
    • D.J. Singleterry (IR)
    • Weldon Bagwell (SC)
    215 Pounds
    • Andy Bradley (CH)
    • Eston Ennis (Lau.)
    • Brandon Kendzierski (Milf.)
    • Tremayne Mooreman (IR)
    • A.J. Brooks (ST)
    • Zach Slatcher (Lau.)
    • Justin King (SC)

    Quotes ...

    Laurel head coach Tom Pavia on winning the conference's coach of the year award:

    "I'm really humbled, I'm honored. I really owe it to a lot of the support and the kids that I have. I'm so fortunate and blessed to have the kind of kids that I do because if you look at our standings, we were third in the conference standings today with two strong teams in front of us, Caesar Rodney and Smyrna, and we only had one guy in the finals. We had a lot of third-, fourth-placers, stuff like that, but it's just a wonderful privilege to be a part of this team. I'm just looking forward to building a really, really good program."

    Pavia on his coaching philosophy:

    "My number one goal is to impact young men, and people, and impact them in a positive way. I really feel that's my God-given purpose in life, I really do. That means trying to be a good father and good husband, that kind of thing, and a good teacher. So I love what I do. I'm very, very fortunate to be part of the community in Laurel, and the wrestling community at large, because I have a lot of support from other coaches and other wrestlers, too. That really means something to me. These will get dusty, trophies will get old and brittle, but the memories you get from them are really lasting. I'm just really excited and blessed to be a part of something like this."

    Laurel's Will Saylor on being a defending champion:

    "It's definitely tougher being the hunted because eveybody's going after you. When you're the underdog, you have nothing to lose so you just go out there with all intentions to win because the worse that can happen is you lose, and if everybody expects that anyway, it doesn't matter. But when you're on top, you've go to keep doing what you're doing to stay there and just keep wrestling tough and be consistent and hopefully nobody will throw you off. It's definitely tougher to be the hunted."

    Saylor on second-year Laurel head coach Tom Pavia:

    "He's been great. He helps us out a lot with everything we do. He's always behind us. He's a great coach."

    Milford's Jimmy Artis on his championship at 103:

    "My dad had me in the weight room, all day, every day, 24 hours. He would keep driving me and driving me to a conference championship. That's what I wanted to do."

    Milford's Josh Abraham on his goals this year:

    "That (conference championship) and the state title, but it's going to be kind of hard (at states) because I've got a tough kid in there. The upstate kids are pretty tough kids."

    Sussex Central's Jason Dickerson on his championship:

    "Coach (Phil Shultie) asked me what our goals were at the beginning of the season and this was one of my goals. The next one was to be a state champion. I knew I was going to be in the finals, but he (Smyrna's Russell Revel, Dickerson's finals opponent) beat the No. 1 seed (CR's Todd Martin). I was hoping to wrestle the No. 1 seed, but he pinned the no. 1 seed and I ended up wrestling him."

    Dickerson on the difficult season Central has endured by its standards:

    "We've struggled as a team this year. We just had a young team this year with five freshmen starting and a lot of injuries. But we have a lot of heart and we work real hard in practice."

    Notes ...

    • When Jimmy Artis captured the 103-pound title and Josh Abraham the 130-pound crown, they gave Milford its first multiple-title performnce in at least four years. The Bucs' Brandon Miller won the 135-pound title last year. The Bucs had no champions in 2000 or 1999.

    • Only four Sussex County wrestlers claimed individuals championships this year after nine pulled the trick a year ago. Despite the lack of champions, 46 Sussex wrestlers will be headed to this year's state tourney compared to 44 last year. Sussex squads produced four champions in 2001 and seven in 2000.

    • Caesar Rodney's Beau Moore was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler.

    • Defending champions went 4-2 in this year's finals. Jon Hummel of Lake Forest (112), Will Saylor of Laurel (125), Mark Reynolds of Caesar Rodney (171) and Josh Cherriman of Smyrna (215) all won their championship matches. Richard Dondarski of Sussex Central lost by an injury default to Milford's Josh Abraham in the 130-pound final this year, while Grant Gray of Seaford lost his 152-pound title with a 5-3 loss to Dover's Josh Foshmire.

    Video Clips ...

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