After a long afternoon and evening of wrestling, it came down to two teams in two separate divisions, battling for state wrestling titles at Smyrna High at Tuesday night’s DIAA Dual Team Wrestling Championships.
Defending champs Smyrna and Milford both had a chance to keep their titles after advancing to the finals, however, only one would walk away as state champions in finals matchups that came down to the final bout.
In the DI championships, Sussex Central took an early advantage, only to see Smyrna rally back late, setting up a fantastic finish.
The Golden Knights jumped ahead of the Eagles thanks to victories by Lucas Hudson, Johnny Morris, Javon Saffold, Yony Garcia, Rashad Stratton and Drew Morris. Meanwhile, Smyrna countered with victories from Larsen Wilson, Tony Wuest, Nick Natarcola and Greg Baum to stay in the hunt.
Chase Archangelo and Nate Bryant won back-to-back bouts to put Smyrna up 30-26 with just two weight classes remaining.
At 160, Sussex Central’s Brandon Bautista earned a 2-1 decision to pull the Knights to within one point, meaning the state title would be decided by the final bout.
In that last match, Central’s Blake Chambers earned a 6-0 decision at 170 to give the Golden Knights the Division I title.
MILFORD DEFEATS INDIAN RIVER FOR DIVISION II TITLE
Meanwhile, in the Division II championships, Indian River and defending champs Milford battled it out.
Indian River jumped out to an early advantage and wins down the stretch by Dylan Ely and Jessie O’Neal gave IR a nice cushion with just a handful of matches remaining.
However, Milford continued to cut into the lead after wins down the stretch by Gavin Garcia and Alex Creasey cut the IR lead to 30-28 with just one bout remaining.
Kaje Reynolds earned a pinfall victory in the final bout to give the Bucs their fourth dual team state title in a row.