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Dramatic finish, historic champs highlight DIAA wrestling


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LEWES - The historic match had a historic finish.

Smyrna senior Joey Natarcola lifted Nick Hall off his feet seconds into overtime, then dropped the Caravel junior for the takedown to win the first state final ever between two-time state champions, a fitting finale to the 65th DIAA Individual Wrestling Championships on Wednesday night at Cape Henlopen High School.

“He started off a couple of inches off the ground, and I’m thinking, ‘I want to finish this. I want to get it done with,’” Natarcola said. “So I mustered all my strength, picked him up, put him back down to the mat and got two [points].”

The 6-4 decision made Natarcola the fourth three-time state champion crowned during the finals, pushing the all-time total of three-timers to 39. It also ended Hall’s chance of joining the list of just 10 four-time DIAA champs.

“Nick Hall is an amazing opponent,” Natarcola said. “I’ve traveled all over the country with the kid. I’ve seen him since he was probably in the fifth or sixth grade. So to have the opportunity to have my last wrestling match against him and to end the way it did, it’s an amazing feeling.”

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Hall will get another shot at a third crown next season. But this was it for Natarcola, who was also voted the meet’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

“To be the best in the tournament, you have to beat the best at the tournament,” Natarcola said. “So you figure Nick Hall is among the best of the best in the state of Delaware, maybe even across the nation. You’ve got to win somehow. You’ve got to figure it out.”

Smyrna’s Gabe Giampietro and Caravel’s Alex Poore also won their third state titles as juniors, keeping them on track for the rare four-peat. Caesar Rodney senior Kevin Hudson also won his third straight heavyweight championship.

“It’s just one more step closer to the ultimate goal,” Giampietro said. “All I have left is one more to go. Getting this and securing the third one feels really good. It’s a lot of relief.”

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Giampietro maintained his intensity throughout an 8-0 major decision over Milford’s Trevor Copes at 113 pounds.

“I block out everything, good or bad,” he said. “When I’m out on the mat, I clear my head and focus on who’s in front of me. I treat every match like it’s the national finals.”

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Poore got an early takedown, then scrapped through a defensive battle to edge Cape Henlopen sophomore Charles Fritchman 3-2 at 152 pounds.

“It’s a milestone of where I need to be, but the goal is four,” Poore said. “I’m just not going to stop until I get that.”

Top-level heavyweight matches are usually close, and Hudson got all he wanted from Cape Henlopen junior Lucas Ruppert before winning a 5-3 decision in a battle of All-State football linemen.

“I’ve got to stay aggressive the whole match,” Hudson said. “… I knew he was going to shoot. I knew he was going to come after me, and I knew I was going to have to handle it and stay there and fight back.”

Poore’s cousin, Caravel sophomore Luke Poore, got halfway to his four-title goal with a 5-0 decision over Milford’s Corey Messick at 120.

He was one of four wrestlers who became two-time champions, along with Milford junior Jack Thode (126) and Caravel seniors Ethan Gray (138) and Danny Stradley (195).

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There were six first-time winners, led by Caravel’s Eddie Radecki, who came into the tournament unseeded at 106 pounds. That didn’t stop him from becoming the first eighth-grader in DIAA history to snag a wrestling title.

“I got everybody good that I could have wrestled,” Radecki said after a 2-0 decision over top-seeded Chris Gandolfo of Salesianum, a senior. “This is insane. I wrestled a lot of tough guys who very much could have been right here instead of me.”

William Penn senior Nasir Dreuitt capped a career of constant improvement with his first state title at 220.

Dreuitt wrestled on the Colonials’ junior varsity as a freshman. He finished sixth at the state meet as a sophomore and fourth as a junior before finally reaching the top of the podium with a 12-3 major decision over Sanford’s Jason Lamey.

“I never stopped wrestling over the summer,” Dreuitt said. “When I was on JV, I’d wrestle with people like state champs and stuff, just to get better. Even though I was getting whupped, I’d just wrestle with them to get better.”

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Milford senior Trent Grant (132), Cape Henlopen sophomore Luke Bender (145), Sanford sophomore Justin Griffith (170) and Sussex Central junior Josh Negron (182) also earned their first titles.

Coronavirus safety concerns kept the DIAA Dual Team championships from being held this season, so team titles were decided by points scored by each wrestler in this meet.

Caravel dominated Division II – and everybody else. The Buccaneers had five state champions and three more finalists and finished with 309 points. Delaware Military Academy was a distant second with 107.5, followed by Lake Forest and Laurel.

Cape Henlopen earned the school’s first Division I wrestling title with 228 points, followed by Salesianum, Milford and Caesar Rodney. Minutes after posing for a jubilant photo, the Vikings piled into a school bus outside and received a noisy escort through town from the local fire department.

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The tournament was spaced over three days instead of the usual two, to increase social distancing. Extensive planning, mask-wearing and cooperation from all involved convinced the Delaware Division of Public Health that wrestling could be conducted safely, leaving many athletes thankful for their opportunities.

“I was just really glad to have a season this year,” Hudson said. “I keep saying it. I’m glad that through COVID and through everything me and my teammates and everybody else in this gym have gone through … I’m glad to be able to compete this season.”

Contact Brad Myers at bmyers@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ

DIAA Individual Wrestling Championships

At Cape Henlopen High School

Wednesday’s results

Championship matches

106 pounds - Eddie Radecki, Caravel, dec. Chris Gandolfo, Salesianum, 2-0

113 – Gabe Giampietro, Smyrna, maj. dec. Trevor Copes, Milford, 8-0

120 – Luke Poore, Caravel, dec. Corey Messick, Milford, 5-0

126 – Jack Thode, Milford, dec. Dylan Knight, Caravel, UTB 2-1

132 – Trent Grant, Milford, dec. Danny Sinclair, William Penn, 13-11

138 – Ethan Gray, Carave,l dec. Mason Ankrom,  Sussex Central, 5-3

145 – Luke Bender, Cape Henlopen, maj. dec. Jonathan Carrion, St. Georges, 12-1

152 – Alex Poore, Caravel, dec. Charles Fritchman, Cape Henlopen, 3-2

160 – Joey Natarcola, Smyrna, dec. Nick Hall, Caravel, SV-1, 6-4

170 – Justin Griffith, Sanford, pinned Matthew Duarte, Caravel, 5:56

182 – Josh Negron, Sussex Central, dec. Dalton Deevey, Cape Henlopen, 5-0

195 – Danny Stradley, Caravel, dec. Jackson Handlin, Cape Henlopen, 14-7

220 – Nasir Dreuitt, William Penn, maj. dec. Jason Lamey, Sanford, 12-3

285 – Kevin Hudson, Caesar Rodney, dec. Lucas Ruppert, Cape Henlopen, 5-3

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Third-place matches

106 pounds – Rapuano, Delc, maj. dec. Cruz, Mid, 9-1; 113 – Ratledge, LF, maj. dec. Meadows, SG, 11-2; 120 – Engelmann, Sal, dec. Drummond, Lau, 3-2; 126 – Girard, Sal, dec. Savage, SC, 5-1; 132 – King, Car, pinned Wells, Smy, 4:03; 138 – Frederick, CH, tech. fall A. Ahmad-Statts, LF, 19-4; 145 – O’Brien, Sal, dec. Antonio, Car, 3-1; 152 – Spence, Sal, pinned Makoujy, WF, 2:28; 160 – A. Copes, Mil, dec. Kammerer, CH, SV-1 11-9; 170 – DiTomasso, NC, pinned Lesniczak, Smy, 2:06; 182 – Agresti, Sal, dec. Conner, CR, 3-1; 195 – Sama, DMA, pinned Nelson, CR, 3:31; 220 – Taylor, CH, dec. Palmer, SM, 3-2; 285 – Burke, IR, pinned Wells, Delm, 2:16.

Fifth-place matches

106 pounds – Murray, WP, pinned Miller, Smy, :48; 113 – Ioannoni, Car, tech. fall Delcollo, DMA, 15-0; 120 – King, SC, dec. Wright, CH, 1-0; 126 – Cataldi, CR, dec. Heesh, Poly, 6-0; 132 – Kist, Sal, pinned Garcia, CH, 3:43; 138 – Briscoe, Mil, dec. Bush, CR, SV-1 4-2; 145 – Kemp, Delm, pinned Simpson, DMA, 5:41; 152 – Eddinger, Hod, by forfeit over O’Hara, Mil; 160 – Froelich, Sal, dec. Novack, DMA, 6-1; 170 – Elphick, CH, dec. Lucian, TH, 5-1; 182 – August, DMA, pinned Timmons, Mid, 1:31; 195 – Davis, Lau, by forfeit over Miller, Sal; 220 – Dyer, CR, dec. Wong, SC, UTB 3-2; 285 – Drumgo, Car, by forfeit over Kwoka, Sal.

Seventh-place matches

106 pounds – Cooke, Wood, dec. Murray, SC, 6-4; 113 – Pena, AI, dec. Bennett, CR, 13-9; 120 – Shaubach, IR, dec. Smith, CR, 5-1; 126 – Williams, DMA, pinned Ruff, ST, 4:10; 132 – Weaver, Lau, dec. Sachetti, RLCA, 3-0; 138 – Webb, Wood, dec. Hudson, Smy, 2-0; 145 – Harvey, CR, pinned Lane, WP, 2:37; 152 – Brindza, WP, dec. Masten, Poly, 9-5; 160 – Williams, Wood, dec. Vickers, SC, 4-1; 170 – Cannon, SC, pinned Moaney, DMA, 3:31; 182 – Jones, NC, dec. Long, Poly, 12-5; 195 – Cook, WP, dec. Mejia, Mil, 2-1; 220 – Hall, Car, pinned Ridgeway, Dov, 2:27; 285 – Layfield, ST, pinned Twyman, WP, 2:02.

Team standings

DIVISION I

1. Cape Henlopen 228, 2. Salesianum 206, 3. Milford 190.5, 4. Caesar Rodney 187, 5. Smyrna 167, 6. Sussex Central 155, 7. William Penn 130.5, 8. St. Georges 58, 9. Polytech 53.5, 10. Middletown 43.5, 11. Charter of Wilmington 39, 12. Delcastle 34, 13. Sussex Tech 30, 14. Hodgson 27, 15. Appoquinimink 23.

DIVISION II

1. Caravel 309, 2. DMA 107.5, 3. Lake Forest 81.5, 4. Laurel 62.5, 5. Newark Charter 60, 6. Woodbridge 59, 7. Sanford 56.5, 8. Tower Hill 46, 9. St. Mark’s 41, 10. Delmar 38, 11. Archmere 37, 11. Indian River 37, 13. Wilmington Friends 30, 14. Seaford 27, 15. A.I. du Pont 24.