The Caesar Rodney Riders wrestling squad continued their strong work on the mat last season to earn Dover Post “Team of the Year” honors.
As a team, the Riders improved their overall record last season going 9-3 after an 8-4 finish the previous season. Individually, the Riders had several standouts among a young group of upstarts who are just beginning to make their mark across the state.
With a great mix of seniors and up-and-coming underclassmen, the Riders marched through the Henlopen Conference. CR defeated Cape Henlopen, Polytech, Milford, Sussex Tech, Sussex Central and Dover on the way to their 9-3 record.
Their only conference loss was in late January to the Smyrna Eagles, the team’s top competition for a conference title. And, as fate would have it, the Riders and Eagles entered the Henlopen Conference Championship as the two frontrunners for the title.
Unfortunately, the Riders finished just short of a conference title, finishing behind the Eagles by just 57.5 points to claim second-place.
Next up for the Riders was the Individual State Tournament, where they were able to flex their muscle.
CR took home 3 state titles, Zach Parker (285lbs), Micah Hight (120lbs) and Tony Scarfo (132lbs).
Senior Max Wilt finished second at 152lbs, while juniors Seth Brosius and Brandon Scott were top 6 finishers in their weight classes.
For Hight, it was his third consecutive state title representing the Riders. Along the way, Hight used some friendly competition against one of the state’s elite to motivate him last season.
Smyrna’s Brent Fleetwood and Hight have been friendly rivals over the past few seasons as both of dominated their respective weight classes. At last year’s states, Hight watched Fleetwood wrap up his third consecutive state title. With his weight class coming up later in the event, Hight used his rivals’ success as motivation.
“I feel like I just had to keep pushing,” said Hight after claiming his third consecutive state title. “We just motivate each other, he’s a great wrestler and we both feed off it.”
Hight will look for a fourth consecutive state title this winter when he begins his senior season. However, Hight isn’t the only returning Rider to keep an eye on.
Parker, Scarfo, Brosuis, and Scott, along with Hight, will make up a very formidable senior class for the Riders next season. With this solid group and contribution from some underclassmen, the Riders should once again challenge Smyrna for the Henlopen crown.
A lot of the team’s success has been due to Head Coach Dickie Howell, whose brother Kurt coaches the Smyrna Eagles.
Howell has helped mold the Rider wrestling squad into a well-oiled machine, putting every wrestler in the best position to succeed.
With the return of 3 First-Team All-State wrestlers, and a roster with another year of tutelage under Coach Howell, the Riders are primed for even more success.