High school wrestling matches involving Sussex County teams on Feb. 2, 2000.
Sussex Central (5-0)
Note: Complete coverage of the Sussex Central-Caesar Rodney wrestling match will be available on Sussex County Online with story and photos Wednesday night and audio and video Thursday.
This isn't exactly how a wrestling coach would want to go into the biggest dual meet of the season -- no matches for two weeks; only two practices in two weeks.
But Sussex Central High School wrestling coach Phil Shultie figures his Golden Knights have two things going for them when they host Caesar Rodney in the biggest match of the Henlopen Conference season on Wednesday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m.
For one, Caesar Rodney hasn't had much more wrestling or practice time since a pair of storms shut schools down for the better part of two weeks, and secondly, the Knights are hosting what has become the conference's biggest wrestling rivalry.
The Knights are 5-0 and ranked 5th in the state by the News-Journal entering the meet while CR is 8-0 and ranked 4th. The Riders have won 64 straight regular season dual meets and are seeking to become the first team ever to win five consecutive conference dual meet crowns.
The last time the Riders lost a dual meet was in last year's state dual meet tournament to -- Sussex Central. The last time the Riders lost a regular season dual meet was in 1995 to -- Sussex Central.
But despite that history and the intensity of the rivalry, neither team may be at its best because of the snow storms that cancelled classes, practices and two dual meets. The Knights haven't wrestled since a 38-13 win over Delmar on Jan. 19, and the Riders have wrestled only once themselves.
"It's nice to have a snow day every now and then," said Shultie, "and when we had the first one the day after the Delmar match, I was happy because we were fighting the flu. Then we missed Friday and I thought that was no big deal because we still had a week to get prepared."
But that week came and went, and now the Knights face the perennial conference powerhouse Riders on two days' practice.
Shultie said most of his wrestlers will have little trouble making weight despite the layoff. Beating the Riders is another story.
"They have a great coach and a great tradition," said Shultie. "We always give them a very good match. All of the matches are key for us, but some matches are key in that we can't get pinned and in others we'll have to keep it to a decision instead of a major decision. Having the match at home will be a big help."
Four Knights -- James Leyh at 125, Corey Strohmeyer at 130, senior Joey Walls at 140, and Jake Booth at 189 -- are unbeaten in dual meets this season.
Teddy Thompson, the state champion at 145 last year, suffered his first loss against Delmar when he moved up a weight class to 152.
The Knights' other starters are Jamie Sockriter at 103, Kyle Isaacs at 112, senior Steve Swain at 119, Jordan Lowe at 135, Raheim Brunskill at 152, Tyler Dickerson at 160, Erik Hopkins at 171, and A.J. Rovillard at heavyweight.
The meet is expected to be a sellout with the varsity starting at approximately 7:30 p.m.
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