Cape’s Bender, Fritchman win state wrestling titles

Malachi Stratton of Sussex Central wins second title
March 6, 2023

Luke Bender (157) and C.J. Fritchman (175) won individual wrestling state titles March 4 in their home gym, leading the Vikings to a DIAA tournament-best 191.5 points.

Following in team points were Salesianimn with 172.5, Sussex Central with 157, Delaware Military with 145, Caesar Rodney with 137.5 and Caravel with 119.5. A total of 30 teams scored points in the meet.

“We had nine state placers, all scoring in the top six,” said Cape coach Chris Mattioni. “Besides Bender and Fritchman, we had Andrew Schaen (150), Alex Taylor (190) and Nick Walker (132) who placed second. Holt Baker (126) placed third, Josh Wright (138) and Patrick Donahue (215) placed fourth, and Tripp Gannon (106) placed sixth.”

Five teams each had two state champions, including Caravel with Eddie Radecki (120) and Luke Poore (132), DMA with Danny Williams (138) and Cael DeNigris (285), Salesianum with Cam Davis (126) and Max Agresti (215), and Tower Hill with Dominic Lucian (106) and Jack Duffy (144). 

Schools with single champions were Sussex Central with Malachi Stratton (113), Lake Forest with Nurrideen Ahmad-Statts (150), Saint Mark’s with Luke Spoor (165) and Sanford with Justin Griffith (190). 

“Holt Baker had a great tournament wrestling back for third, beating higher-seeded guys Qwantez Watkins of Smyrna, Evan Cordrey of Sussex Central and Drew Pratt of Tower Hill,” Mattioni said.

Wrestlers who made it to the top of the podium coming from lower seeds included 126-pounder Davis of Salesianum, who was seeded fourth and defeated second-seeded Trevor Copes of Caesar Rodney 3-1; 138-pounder Williams of DMA, who was the second seed, upsetting Dan Sinclair of William Penn with a sudden-victory overtime takedown; 144-pounder Duffy of Tower Hill, who was second seed and defeated Jamar Wells of Caravel 6-5 for the title; and third-seeded Cape 157-pounder Bender, defeating fourth-seeded Cam Cataldi in the final 14-4.

Takedowns – Bender, a state champion his sophomore season at 145, missed his junior year after elbow surgery and part of his senior season with a lower jaw injury. He organized a photo in the wrestling room soon after his match that included coaches and senior finalist teammates Fritchman, Schaen and Taylor. Fritchman earned his first state title after placing second the previous two years. Taylor closed a stellar career by placing third as a sophomore and second the last two seasons. Caravel’s Poore closed his career as a four-time state champion and Delaware’s all-time leader in career wins with 183. Sallies’ Davis was voted Outstanding Wrestler. Other repeat state champions included Stratton of Sussex Central, Radecki of Caravel, Griffith of Sanford and Agesti of Salesianum.  


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