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Scholastic wrestling about to heat up like a pot of pasta

Grapplers getting ready for the grind
Wrestling is about to lift off into an entirely new orbit. Here, Kendall Wicks of Caesar Rodney, top, attempts to kick free from Austin Smith in an earlier season match. BY DAVE FREDERICK
January 22, 2014

Wrestling is such a tough sport it hurts just to watch it. Cape’s season has been a great one the first time in forever, with the Vikings beating both Caesar Rodney and Sussex Central in dual-meet competition. Cape also won the prestigious Hub Cup tournament in Maryland before dropping a showdown match at Smyrna 33-24.

And the action is just heating up, like a pot of pasta on a gas stove.

The Vikings return to roll-around action Saturday, Jan. 25, hosting a quadrangular meet that includes Cape, Sussex Tech, Indian River and Woodbridge wrestling on two mats.

Cape versus Sussex Tech is a Route 9 rivalry between two teams that are having banner seasons. The Ravens, coached by Scott Layfield, have won two tournaments, beaten Sussex Central and are hoping to nail down a spot in the Monday, Feb. 10 six-team Division I State Dual Meet Championships that will be held at Smyrna High School.

“It will be Smyrna, Caesar Rodney, Cape, Sallies, William Penn and maybe Sussex Tech," said coach Chris Mattioni, whose team has never before made it to the dual-meet tournament.

The top two teams get a bye, and everyone else will have to wrestle and win three times to win a championship. Cape would most likely need to beat Caesar Rodney and Smyrna in consecutive matches; to quote Shrek, ”Like that’s gonna happen,” but in high school sports, the weird sometimes becomes the ordinary.

Then it’s back to the mats for the Henlopen Conference Championships Friday and Saturday, Feb.14 and 15, at Milford, followed by the season-ending state meet for individuals Friday, Feb. 21, at Cape Henlopen High School.

Cape has Thomas Ott, 220, the two-time defending state champion, and Justin Lopez, 170, with legitimate state title shots. Also Austin Smith, 160, and Aaron Mattioni, 195, could make it to the finals.