The Caesar Rodney Riders won their first Division I wrestling title since 2012, surviving the No. 1 Smyrna Eagles this past weekend.
CR and Smyrna traded wins early on, until late wins by Michael Primo, Cameron Hayes, Ben Anderson and Jackson Dean put the Riders in the driver’s seat with just two matchups to go.
Dean’s pinfall win at 145 put the Eagles in must-pin situations in the final two matches. First up was Greg Baum who earned a pinfall win over CR’s Riley Tracy, setting up a nerve-wracking final match.
With the title on the line, Mikel Abdullah held off Smyrna’s JT Davis, falling to the Eagle standout by decision, 7-2, but avoiding a pinfall loss to give the Riders their ninth title since 1993.
CR defeated Blue Hen Flight A Champions St. Georges Tech, 46-21, powered by pinfall victories from Abdullah, Sam Ervin and Cameron Hayes in the opening round.
In the semifinals, the Riders battled it out with Salesianum, winning 38-25. Abdullah, Hicks, Brenden Holder, Kevin Hudson, Patrick Wisniewski, Primo and Dean all came away with decision wins, while Hayes and Anderson had pinfall wins to help send CR to the finals.
As the No. 1 seed, Smyrna received an opening round bye before knocking off Sussex Central, 46-11, in a rematch of last year’s DI final. JT Davis, Tony Wuest, Hunter Moyer and Jaxson Al-Chokhacky all had pinfall wins over Sallies, while Dakota Kerr, Josh Dailey, Brent Young, Joey Natarcola, Drew Mayhall, Ryan Kelley and Logan Kosky all had decision victories.