The Indian River Indians varsity wrestling team received an early Christmas present, sweeping Concord High and Sanford School in an up-state tri-meet on Dec. 20 to propel the Indians’ regular-season record to 3-0.
Indian River coasted past Concord easily, 58-24, but was given a tough test against the then-No. 9 Sanford squad. However, the No. 10 Indians rose to the challenge.
Pascual Delphino, Mike Magaha and Torin Smith all wrestled up a weight class and earned victories. Sean Cummings (135 pounds) gutted out a 9-1 first-period deficit to earn a 12-11 decision, and Darjuan Pitts (125 pounds) and Bo Wilkinson each secured decisions in tough match-ups, according to head coach Jeff Windish. Then, Perry Townsend (215 pounds) was able to finish them off with a match-clinching pin in second-to-last match for the 34-33 win over Sanford.
With only a 28-27 advantage heading into the final two matches against Sanford, Windish contemplated swapping Townsend with heavyweight Zach Rector but opted instead to stick with Townsend for a chance to put the match out of reach.
\“I had a decision to make whether to move Perry to heavyweight and let Zach wrestle at 215 or to leave Perry at 215. But we opted to go with Perry instead. Once he got the pin, it made it impossible for them to win,” Windish explained.
Indian River hadn’t wrestled Sanford School in a few seasons, but they have had an opportunity to watch them perform in the Battle at the Beach and War on the Shore tournaments.
“We haven’t wrestled them the past couple years, but we have seen them wrestle in the last couple of tournaments and we wrestled right with them,” Windish said. “They’ve never been a wrestling school. They’ve really always been known as basketball school. But their head coach has done a really good job building their program up with some tough kids.”
“This was a really big win for us and one which could have dual-meet implications,” Windish said. “It doesn’t guarantee us anything, but it does us an early favorite. So this was a must-win.”
“Sanford was a really close match but we came away winning both (matches), so overall we had a good night,” he continued.
The Indians will resume competition on Dec. 29 at the Delone Catholic Tournament in McSherrystown, Pa., just outside of Hanover, for their third of four tournaments this year.
The tournament was originally scheduled for two days but will now only run on Friday, Dec. 29.
Indian River is one of 16 teams competing at the tournament and it should give the Indians enough match experience as they head into conference competition upon coming back from the Christmas break.
“There’s usually some a pretty good mix of Pennsylvania schools (at the Delone Catholic tournament) and it’s a good opportunity for our guys to wrestle outside of Delaware,” Windish said.
The Indians will then head straight into the meat of their conference schedule with an away match at Laurel on Jan. 3 and a home match against Delmar on Jan. 5. Then they’re at Milford on Jan. 6 before rounding things out with a home match against the Southern Conference Champion Smyrna Eagles on Jan. 10.