The grind of the Indian River High School 2018-2019 wrestling campaign came to an end following last weekend’s DIAA State Individual Wrestling Championships at Cape Henlopen High School.
Indian River junior Ramond Turner was the highest-placing finisher for the Indians, with a fourth-place finish at 285 pounds. Four other Indians were also in the mix when the tournament began on Friday evening but came up short of making the medal stand.
“Ramond Turner wrestled an outstanding tournament, finishing fourth in the state,” head coach Jeff Windish said. “He has a great work ethic and pushed himself extremely hard all season long. It was really nice to see this hard work pay off at the end of the season.”
Turner won his first two matches by pin and decision to advance into the semifinals. He faced eventual state champion Kevin Hudson of Caesar Rodney and lost a heartbreaking 1-0 decision.
In the third-place match, Turner squared off with Charter School’s Ben Somerville but fell in overtime, 2-1.
Two other Indians came up just one win short of advancing themselves into medal contention. Junior Chris Saylor and sophomore Ian Shaubach saw their hopes of a medal dashed with losses in the consolation semifinals.
Saylor, competing at 103 pounds, dropped his opening-round match to Dover’s Jonah Olfus, but recovered to win his next two in the wrestlebacks. On the doorstep of a medal, Saylor was caught by St. George’s Matthew Meadows with a pinning combination at 2:24 of the second period.
For Shaubach, a first-round win in the 113-pound bracket got him off on the right foot, but the proverbial thorn in his side all season — Milford’s Jack Thode — got the best of him again in the quarterfinals, with a pin at 5:30. Shaubach won his first consolation match by 8-3 decision over Newark’s Mark Escobar, but dropped a 6-3 decision to William Penn’s Brandon Pike.
“Chris Saylor and Ian Shaubach were one match away from placing, and wrestled well against some quality opponents,” Windish added. “The best part is that they will have more opportunities to improve next season.”
Junior Ta’Jon Knight had a disappointing result after re-aggravating an injury, which forced him to bow out after a loss to Caesar Rodney’s Michael Primo in the quarterfinals, at 126 pounds. Knight had won his opening-round match against Hodgson’s Gavin Manning, by 12-7 decision.
“Ta’Jon had a great first-round match but aggravated an injury sustained in the Henlopen Conference finals last weekend,” Windish noted of Knight. “It is definitely not the way we wanted to end his season, but he gave us everything he had leading up to the quarterfinals on Friday night.”
Senior Zach Schultz saw his high-school career come to a close after going 1-2 in the 195-pound bracket of the tournament. He dropped his opener to Cape Henlopen’s William Ott, who went on to the bracket’s finals. Schultz won his first match in the consolations with pin at 1:00, over St. George’s David Lin. However, Dover’s Qualeak Bumbrey was just too difficult to overcome in a 19-4 technical-fall loss.
“Zach finished out a solid career at Indian River,” said Windish. “He was a multiple-time state qualifier, a one-time state placer, and leaves the program with 89 career wins. The coaches will definitely miss having him in the room next season.”
Smyrna and Salesianum each had the most individual champions crowned in the championships.
The full list of winners included: Gabe Giampietro, Smyrna (106 pounds); Zach Spence, Salesianum (113); Joey Natarcola, Smyrna (120); Alex Poore, Caravel Academy (126); Anthony Caruso, Cape Henlopen (132); Harry Latch, Salesianum, Meet Outstanding Wrestler (138); Jackson Dean, Caesar Rodney (145); Nicholas Hall, Caravel Academy (152); Liam O’Connor, Delcastle (160); Brian Schneider, Middletown (170); J.T. Davis, Smyrna (182); Danny Stradley, Salesianum (195); Hugo Harp, Dover (220); and Kevin Hudson, Caesar Rodney (285).
“Although we did not fulfill our expectations this past weekend, I am proud of the way our kids battled over the course of two days,” Windish concluded. “We were a very young team this season, and we will definitely be looking to build off of where we are leaving off this season. The kids will return with a great deal of experience from this season, and some of our younger guys will need to step in and fill some big shoes next year.
By Jason Feather