Last year’s DIAA state wrestling tournament had a storybook ending for Indian River High School.
D.J. Singleterry capped his senior season as a state champion in the 215-pound weight class and Andy Bokinsky defied the odds and a 4-0 deficit to pin Caesar Rodney’s top-ranked Dan Rigby with 4:32 left in the match for the championship.
Bokinsky won four matches by way of four straight pins, which included an overtime pin versus Smyrna’s second-ranked Brian Fletcher to get the final and the only pin of the championship round, defeating Caesar Rodney’s Dan Rigby.
Bokinsky finished the season 30-4, but three of his losses were at the hands of Fletcher and Rigby. Fletcher beat Bokinsky twice — once at the 2005 Delmarva Classic and at that year’s conference final.
The stage was set for Bokinsky to repeat — he’d run the table (three straight wins) to get into the finals against Caravel’s sophomore Vinnie Ranauto — except this time he wasn’t the underdog.
Bokinsky wrestled and lost to Luke Robertus, not Ranauto, in a regular season match up in a 40-30 loss to Caravel earlier this season.
Ranauto got off first, scoring two points on a shot that secured Bokinsky’s right foot, but Bokinsty tied the match two escapes later. Ranauto nearly scored another shot on Bokinsky at the end of the second period, but Bokinsky held him off.
Bokinsky held top position in the third period, and a Ranauto escape sealed the match. Ranauto played it safe and fended off Bokinsky’s best attempts to work him into position to score.
“Andy wrestled well from the first match to the last, and he knows it,” said head coach Jeff Windish. “He just didn’t get the opportunities to score in the last minute. Anyone who saw the last match could tell you that. If we wrestled that match again, I’m confident that there would be a different outcome.”
Mike Magaha (103), like Ranauto, is also a sophomore and made the championship round, but lost 13-2 to Caesar Rodney’s Chris Keech (34-6). Magaha also lost to Keech 17-4 in the conference tournament last week.
“This was a better match, but I just did what I had to do,” said Keech. “I wanted to keep pressure on him and made sure I used my hips when he shot.”
Windish said that their game plan for Keech was to shoot for scores. Magaha finished on only one of six shots, but Windish still holds his slim-weight in high regard.
“I’m pleased with Mikey’s performance in that match,” Windish said. “The score wasn’t indicative of how close the match was, and Mikey had more action in this match than the last. He did everything we practiced, and if we had gotten a couple more ... maybe there would’ve been a different result.”
Of the eight Indians wrestlers taken to the state tournament, five placed, including P.J. Barch, who finished fourth (119), Dominique Morris placed fourth (140) and Perry Townsend improved his position from last year and grabbed fifth place (189).
Barch, Morris and Townsend all accumulated 30 wins or more (32-7, 31-9 and 33-10 respectively), which bodes well for the future of this team.
Windish mentioned that Magaha has the potential to move up to the 112-125 weight classes next year, and raved about the Morris’s dominating performance over Smyrna’s Ryan Agan (26-10).
Agan pinned Morris 3-2 in a dual-meet with Smyrna earlier this season, so it was good for the coach to see him rebound.
“Dominique didn’t just win — he took him apart. It’s the only way to say it,” Windish said of Morris’s 16-3 state tournament win. “This win was redemption for his earlier loss, and he sent a message of what he’s capable of.”
Townsend wrestled through a shoulder injury to go on to win three of five matches to conclude his season.
Barch wrestled a wide-open weight class and could’ve won the state championship, according to Windish.
“The top five kids could’ve won the state championship,” he said. “He’s not the fourth best wrestler of his class in the state. He’s certainly capable of being number 1.”
With so many returning wrestlers and a formula for success already in place and in use by many of these state tournament wrestlers, Indian River’s wrestling program will have more than an ample opportunity to repeat its success of the past two seasons.