for State Tournament
Note: We will provide an update of Friday's action on Saturday morning, Feb. 26, and complete coverage, including audio and video, of Saturday's action on Sunday morning, Feb. 27.
Sussex County high school wrestlers shoot for individual glory this weekend in the annual Delaware Secondary School Athletic Association state wrestling tournament at Delaware State University.
Friday's session begins at 3 p.m. The second session starts at 11 a.m. Saturday and includes the tournament semifinals. The third session starts at 6 p.m. Saturday and includes the consolation finals and finals.
Tickets are $4 each session for Sessions 1 and 2 and $5 for the third session Saturday.
Forty-nine Sussex wrestlers qualified for the state tournament by placing in the Top 6 at last weekend's Henlopen Conference tournament.
The only returning state champion from Sussex County is Sussex Central's Teddy Thompson, who won the 145-pound title at conference and will be back to defend his 145 state title.
Thompson is 29-8 entering states including a 3-point loss to William Penn's James Fromal. He lost twice during the regular season at the 152 class and once to Seaford's Kyle Shedaker.
Thompson said he has taken his share of grief for the losses and that there have been suggestions that last year's state title was just a fluke.
He even started believing those suggestions, himself, but after working with his coaches in the week leading up to the Henlopen tournament, has his confidence back.
"I feel pretty good going into states," said Thompson. "I've had another week to prepare so coach Baxter and the other coaches have been able to help me even more."
Other Henlopen champions shooting for their first state titles are Indian River's Quinn Revel at 112, Sussex Central's Corey Strohmeyer at 130, Laurel's Adam Ralph at 135, Delmar's Nathan Shearer at 152, and Sussex Tech's Jimmy Hudson at 189 and Brandon Morrow at heavyweight.
Shearer was named the Henlopen tournament's outstanding wrestler after beating Caesar Rodney's Zack Kopp 12-6 for the 152 title to rise to 29-0. Shearer qualified for the Pennsylvania state tournament with a 32-3 record at Connellsville High School last year but missed the tourney due to injuries suffered in a car accident.
"I want to finish this season up with a first at states," said Shearer. "That's what I expected to do at the start of the season. I was kind of disappointed last year, but you learn from your mistakes."
Revel worked throughout the summer to prepare for this season.
"We looked at his weight class before the season and said to Quinn, 'If you come along pretty good you have a good shot to win the conference and a good shot at getting to the state finals,' " said IR coach Kurt Howell, who won four state titles as a wrestler at Newark.
Revel is 23-5 this season with a first place finish in the Seaford tournament and a second-place finish in the Yellowjacket Invitational in Newark.
"I'm going to try for a first at states," said Revel. "That's my goal. We'll see what happens."
Strohmeyer has come on strong since the first of the year and takes a 28-6 record into the state meet. He expects his toughest competition to be Harry Kettner of William Penn, who pinned Strohmeyer during the state dual meet 9 days ago. Strohmeyer was sick for that meet and was pinned in the third period.
"I feel I have a very good shot at states," said Strohmeyer.
Ralph, at 19-6, has already proven his mettle for the state tournament by beating defending 135 champion James Russial of Caesar Rodney, 3-2, in the Henlopen 135 final with an escape with less than 10 seconds left.
"I'm looking forward to states," said Ralph. "I just hope I wrestle the same as I have been, but I won't know until I get there."
Hudson and Morrow were Tech's first conference champions. Their coach, Dave Rogers, was named the conference's coach of the year.
Both wrestlers are confident entering states. Hudson feels his main competition will be Jake Booth of Sussex Central while Morrow believes his main competition will come from Chris Denigris of Dover, who he beat 6-1 for the conference title, and Salesianum's Manley.
Sussex Central qualified 10 wrestlers for the state meet, while Milford qualified 9. The toughest competition for the team title will come from St. Mark's, which advanced 13 wrestlers for the state tournament, Caesar Rodney, which is sending 12 wrestlers to states, Salesianum with 10 qualifiers, and state dual meet champions William Penn (Division I) and Hodgson (Division II).
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