Sussex Central wins Henlopen Conference wrestling tournament

Cape and Central each crown three champions
February 26, 2024

A two-day conference wrestling tournament is like jet lag without time zones and solitary confinement housed in a crowded gym. The time of day and weather are unknown until the 26-hour flight through frenzy has touched down, and 224 wrestlers over 14 weight classes from the Henlopen, Blue Hen and Independent conferences qualify and are seeded for the DIAA state tournament, set for Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2, at Cape Henlopen High School.

Sussex Central won the Henlopen Conference meet with 240 points, followed  by Smyrna 190, Cape Henlopen 187, Lake Forest 142, Milford 137.5, Caesar Rodney 137 and Laurel 136. Fifteen schools participated.

Sussex Central and Cape each crowned three champions, while Smyrna, Laurel and Lake Forest each had two, and Caesar Rodney and Milford each produced one champion.

Wrestlers winning conference crowns were included: at 106 pounds, Austin Guerrieri (Cape); 112 pounds, Ian Alfee (Smyrna); 120, Malachi Stratton (SC); 126, Trevor Copes (CR); 132, Evan Cordrey (SC); 138, Jerusalem Howard (LF); 144, Nick Walker (Cape); 150, Stanley Pete (Laurel); 157, Nurrideen Ahmad-Statts (Lake); 165, Jesse Dixon (Smyrna); 175, Gabe Cannon (SC); 190, Jordan Curry (Milford ); 215, Patrick Donahue (Cape); and 285, Joseph Baynard (Laurel).  

“We had three champions and qualified nine for states, so that’s a good tournament,” said Cape coach Chris Mattioni.

Cape went into the weekend missing Jeffrey Rainier, 175 pounds, and Luke Arnold, 190, out with injuries. 

Connor Kugelmann  stepped up at 175 and placed fifth while qualifying for the state meet.

“He was Cape’s outstanding wrestler in my book,” said Cape assistant coach Matt Graviet. 

At 144 pounds, Cape’s Walker won a wild, rambling-scrambling match versus Sussex Tech’s Dustin Elliott to even their season series at one win each. Walker and Elliott are seeded one-two in the state tournament. 

Takedowns - Sussex Academy’s Douglas Horton, 165 pounds, placed third for the highest-place finish in the history of that young program. All results and updated state tournament information can be found at Henlopen Conference wrestlers earning No. 1 seeds in the state tournament include: at 106, Austin Guerierri (Cape); 120, Malachi Stratton (SC); 126, Trevor Copes (CR); 132, Evan Cordrey (SC); 144, Nick Walker (Cape); and 150, Stanley Pete (Laurel).  


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