Against some of the top competition in the state of Delaware, the Polytech Panthers wrestling squad held their own at the Delcastle Invitational posting two top finishers over the weekend.
The Panthers have been busy gearing up for their first dual meet of the season against rival Caesar Rodney this Wednesday, participating in an invitational each weekend since the season opened.
First, the Panthers were victorious in their own tournament to start the season before a top-five finish at the Milford Invitational and a solid showing at the Wetzel Classic in Pennsylvania a week ago.
Over the weekend, the Panthers took to the mat alongside 17 other schools including Sussex Tech, Cape Henlopen, Sussex Central, Milford, and Salesianum. Sussex Tech was able to hold on for the first-place finish overall after leading the event after day one. The Ravens, led by nine top-3 finishers over the weekend were followed closely by Salesianum who finished just a half-point behind Tech. Cape Henlopen finished in third, while the Panthers followed with 169 overall points to finish in fourth.
The tournament was originally scheduled to have 20 overall teams, but Lake Forest had to cancel plans to compete due to bus troubles and William Penn stayed out due to the inclement weather.
Kody Stevens and Andy Schmeusser took home first place honors for the Panthers in their respective weight classes Sunday at Delcastle.
Coming into the tournament, Stevens was the number one seed and proved it by defeated Milford’s Jarek Lugo by a 12-3 Major Decision taking first-place at 106lbs.
Schmeusser ran through the competition at 125lbs defeating Drew Davia of St. Mark’s by an 8-4 decision in the championship round.
“Individually, Kody and Andy stand out because they combine natural ability with hard work,” said Polytech Head Coach Eric Buckson. “Both wrestlers step on the mat with the belief that they are going to compete for six minutes.”
Overall, the Panthers boasted six top-five finishers among the 14 weight classes last weekend. Along with first-place finishers Stevens (120lbs) and Schmeusser (126lbs), Polytech had a number of strong performances at Delcastle.
Spenser Hahn made a mad dash toward the top of the rankings before falling to Milford’s Alex Creasey by a 6-0 decision at 106lbs claiming second-place. Mark Mullnack defeated Sussex Central’s Kevin Knocks, and Cape Henlopen’s Aaron Mattioni before falling to Bubba Mancini of Salesianum to also take second-place at 195lbs.
Josh Myers (182lbs) took fourth place, Austin Rains (170lbs) placed fifth, Justin Land (220lbs) finished sixth, and Josh Price (132lbs) claimed seventh place to round out the Panthers’ top finishers.
Now, heading into their first dual-meet of the season the Panthers feel confident about their performance so far this season, but no a tough test against CR is ahead.
“I think as a team we’re wrestling tough considering we are a young and inexperienced in spots,” said Buckson. “CR is an outstanding program and I have no doubts they will contend for another title this year. We have to earn the right to join in that conversation and that may take a while. “
“Wrestling is a demanding sport and success is not always defined by who scores the most points,” said Buckson. “On Wednesday night, we will compete in every weight class and win as many periods as possible. After that, shake hands and get back to work on Thursday at practice.”