Fans in the stands and showtime for sports rocks the Big House

Sussex Academy hits the wrestling mats
December 3, 2021

Mats come down, Seahawks lift off - Sussex Academy brought its startup wrestling team to Cape Henlopen Nov. 29 for a scrimmage with the Cape junior varsity. The Big House lights stayed up, but the main mat came down. There were four officials “knocking the rust off.” There were also timers and scorekeepers. Hard to know what coaches are working to accomplish in a scrimmage – matches were arranged more or less by weights. Some grapplers got to go twice. Fans were allowed in the stands and the scrimmage was well attended. After 20 bouts, the Seahawks had two more points, which means it was a good showing for them. First-year wrestlers can look like first-year lacrosse players – lost with little skill – but that’s not what happened. The Seahawks looked like real wrestlers, a credit to coaches Vinny Colombo, Jerry Windish and volunteer Jamie Schirmer. “We will cover all the weight classes – may have to eat our way to 285 – and given our schedule, we will win some matches,” said Windish. Whatever the code to gain access to the grappler club, Sussex Academy cracked it on the first try, as they represented in their first competition outside their own wrestling room.   

Blended seasons - The DIAA manual, which reads like it was written by lawyers, says that during a school sports season the athlete owes loyalty to the school team. What does that mean? It means if an athlete skips a school practice or game without permission from the coach, the athlete is subject to whatever discipline the coach, with backing from the school, hands down. Most coaches allow travel participation, usually a weekend tournament when it doesn’t conflict with the school schedule. But a minority of other coaches have a rule, “No travel sports during my school season. There will be no split loyalties.” I could find 10 state championship banners in the Cape gym that used dual-sport athletes in the same season to put the trophy on the bus. The second sport has always been track and field because of its individual nature. And counting all the banners in the gym adding cross country, indoor and outdoor track, the running sports always win.

Benny - Benjamin "Ben" Wilbank passed away earlier this week. He was a member of the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame. Here is his baseball bio from the Hall of Fame website. “Benny played baseball for the Cape Henlopen High School baseball team, where he was all-conference and all-state. Ben was selected 15th in the Major League Baseball Draft in 1977 by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He excelled in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system and went on to play Triple-A baseball. During his time playing A ball for the Niagara Falls baseball team, Ben had 82 strikeouts in the 76 innings he pitched. He also posted a 2.92 ERA with 123 strikeouts in 151 innings for the Salem A baseball team. In 1978, Ben played baseball in South America and had 100 strikeouts with an ERA of 2.09. He made the all-star team and played in the Caribbean World Series and won the championship. In 1979, Ben injured his knee cap and never fully recovered. He continued to play Triple-A baseball and Double-A baseball until 1983.” 

Full schedule - Cape wrestling, coming off a Division I state championship, has 46 rostered athletes, including seven state placers from last season. The number of bouts for individual grapplers is tough to figure out, but including all tournaments, the number of matches could be 40. Cape will compete in the Southern Slam (S.C.), Beast of the East, Gov. Mifflin Holiday Tournament (Pa.), Iron Horse Duals (Md.), Grapple at the Brook (Md.), Henlopen Conference Championships, Dual Meet Championships and DIAA Individual Championships. Dual meets sprinkled throughout the season include Lake Forest, Sussex Tech, Caesar Rodney, Caravel Academy, Dover, Smyrna, Polytech, Delaware Military Academy, Sussex Central, Laurel, Milford and William Penn. 

Snippets - Abbey Hearn is a 6-foot-2 sophomore on the basketball roster for the 6-2 Kutztown University Golden Bears. Abbey has played in all eight games, and averages 10 points and four rebounds per game. Syed Myles out of Caesar Rodney playing basketball for Delaware Tech was named Player of the Week for the Eastern  Pennsylvania Athletic Conference. He led the men’s team to a 105-101 overtime upset victory over Raritan Valley Community College Nov. 23 by scoring 36 points with seven rebounds and five assists. He was also clutch at the free-throw line, shooting 19-for-20 including two key free throws with 2.7 seconds remaining to tie the game and send it into overtime. For the season, Myles is averaging 18.3 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Delaware Tech joined EPAC, a conference within Region 19 of the National Junior College Athletic Association, in 2020 for athletic competition. It provided Delaware Tech with opportunities and exposure for Delaware Tech student-athletes, teams and coaches. Richard Rago, who coached 30 years at St. Elizabeth, is head basketball coach at Delaware Tech. Some 900 marathon runners and another 1,900 in the half marathon will embark from the Bandstand on Rehoboth Avenue at 7 a.m., Saturday morning as part of Rehoboth Marathon weekend. By the time the early round of college football games kicks off at noon, most of them will be back under the celebration tent carb-loading for their next race. Go on now, git! 


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