The Smyrna Middle School wrestling players have done it again; they've completed their 11th straight undefeated season and have now won 119 matches in a row without a loss. The 10-0 Eagles also had four shutouts in their last five matches and won the season-ending middle school tournament.
For first-year head coach Matt Bivins, the season went above and beyond his expectations.
"It was awesome. The kids responded to everything well, I couldn't ask for anything better," Bivins said.
Jim Hewes was this year's assistant coach. The volunteer coaches were Charlie Poffenberger, Brandon Poffenberger, Jason Baker, and David Brower.
While Bivins had a feeling the team could continue its undefeated streak, he didn't expect the team to perform the way they did, especially with the four shutouts. The team even broke a school scoring record with their 94-0 win over Seaford Middle School.
"Once we got past Dover the way we did, I thought we were sitting pretty good," Bivins said. "I knew we were good, but I didn't know we were that good, which I think is a testament to the Little Wrestlers program, [the program] here, and hopefully it translates to the high school."
The toughest match of the season was expected to be against Dover Central Middle School; the Eagles beat them 78-9. The closest match of the season for the Eagles was a 66-21 win over Phillis Wheatley.
The Eagles had wrestlers place in 15 of 16 weight classes at the end of season tournament. The tournament champions were Chris Begatto, Jeremy Carrow, Eli Hutchinson, Josh Hutchinson, and Jarren Carter. The other top 10 finishes were Nolan Rutherford, 2nd; Tony Wuest, 2nd; Larsen Wilson, 2nd; Josh Dailey, 2nd; Shawn Hastings, 2nd; Anthony DelRe, 3rd; Noah Deneumoustier, 4th; Dylan Snow, 4th; Hunter Moyer, 5th, and Danny Natarcola, 5th. Also participating in the tournament was D'Marqueze Hancock.
Chris Begatto, who won the tournament crown for 100 pounds, said he was nervous at the start of this season because he had never wrestled first string before. Now that the season is over, he feels astonished at the team's success and accomplished in terms of his own success.
Fellow tournament champions Josh and Eli Hutchinson are also proud of the team's success this year. Josh said he felt good to be in the tournament finals with his teammates. Eli is happy to have performed so well and that the team continued the winning streak.
Looking back at the season, Bivins has a lot of favorite memories from watching Shawn Hastings be seeded eighth in the tournament and go to the finals, to Begatto winning the tournament over a wrestler he lost to during the season. Bivins also enjoyed seeing numerous wrestlers go undefeated.
Bivins thanked the Smyrna wrestling program from top to bottom including the Smyrna Little Wrestlers, former coach Steve Stewart, assistant coach Jim Hewes, Kent Robinson, and his volunteer coaches for helping this year.
As for next year, he said he's going to be more thorough with his game plan and make sure the middle school team is in line with the little wrestlers program and the high school team.
Bivins thinks the team is going to do awesome next year, because even though the team is losing some great eighth graders, they have some great seventh graders coming back. He even thinks they can keep the winning streak alive.
"I think it's going to be tough," Bivins said. "I do think if we wrestle like we did this year, we definitely can do it again."
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