Indians qualify six for DIAA state wrestling championship tourney

Indian River’s Will Keller works a takedown on Delaware Military Academy’s Dominic Sama during their 182-pound match last week in the DIAA Division II Dual Meet State Championships. Keller came up short in the 11-7 setback to Sama as the Indians lost to DMA, 42-17.

When it comes to wrestling, the postseason is a grind — not only physically, but perhaps more so mentally.

The Indian River High School wrestling team sent a full contingent to the Henlopen Athletic Conference individual wrestling championships at Milford High School last weekend and came away with six state qualifiers.

Those “Super Six” will take their shots on the mats this weekend at Cape Henlopen High School, starting Friday afternoon and hoping to continue grinding on Saturday for a chance on the medal stand Saturday evening.

“I think we had a pretty solid tournament,” IR head coach Jeff Windish said of his team’s efforts last week. “We qualified six to the state tournament and have an alternate as well. Qualifying half the team is respectable, but we, of course, always want to take more.”

Seniors Ta’Jon Knight and Ramond Turner both finished third, at 132 pounds and 285 pounds, respectively, as did junior Ian Shaubach at 120.

Knight (39-9 on the season) cruised to a 9-0 major decision in his third-place match against Woodbridge’s Gavin Manning. Turner, the lone returning state medalist for IR, picked up his third-place finish with an overtime 2-0 decision. The win improved Turner’s record to 38-5 overall.

Shaubach (38-9) clinched his third-place finish with a 6-2 decision over Laurel’s Cody Drummond.

Senior Cristian Galindo-Lopez qualified for the state tournament with his fifth-place finish at 113. He defeated Joshua Wright of Cape Henlopen by a 12-7 decision. Sophomore T.J. Burke worked his way into the state tournament with a sixth-place finish at 220. He was pinned by Dover’s Qualeak Bumbrey to fall just outside the Top 5.

Jose Perez, a senior for the Indians, was pinned by Smyrna’s Tyler Downward in their seventh-place match but still managed to qualify for the state tournament.

“Ramond lost in a really close match to the No. 1 seed, and with a different call at the end of the period, he wins that match,” Windish assessed. “Ian lost a close match to the No. 2 seed and definitely showed he can compete with anyone. Cristian, Ta’Jon, Jose and T.J. all battled in their consolation rounds and punched their tickets to the state tournament.”

Senior Will Keller came up just short of his bid to be the seventh IR wrestler to make the state tournament, falling to Sussex Central’s Kody Lankford. Keller has been named as an alternate, in the event someone has to bail out from the tournament before action gets under way on Friday.

Smyrna won the overall team title with their 221.5 points, followed by Milford (184.5), Cape Henlopen (179), Sussex Central (178) and Caesar Rodney (137).

Indians wrestlers get

state tourney seeding

Turner earned himself the third seed in the state tournament at 285, and will start his quest of another state medal against Dante Green from William Penn (12-10), who is the 14th seed.

Knight, the fifth seed in the 132 bracket, will open up his state tournament with a match against Newark Charter’s Sam DiTomasso (32-11), the bracket’s 12th seed.

Like Knight, Shaubach has earned a fifth seed, in the 120 bracket. He will square off with the 12th seed, St. Andrew’s Theo Taylor (23-7) in the opener.

With the seventh seed at 220, Burke (28-14) will face off with Delcastle’s Davoy Higgins (15-13), who is the bracket’s 10th seed.

Galindo-Lopez (32-13) was tabbed at the 10th seed in the 113 bracket. He is set to lock up with the seventh seed Ainsley Doyle (24-7) of Hodgson.

Perez (11-23) is the 16th seed in the 195 bracket and will have a very tough task in his opener against top-seed Azeem Bell (31-3) from Brandywine.

Windish wrapped things up simply, stating, “We’ll clean some things up this week, and go into Friday with the expectation to place everyone in the top six.”

The top six all will earn themselves state medals.

Tickets for the tourney will be available on-site one hour prior to session start times. The Friday night session begins at 4 p.m., with individual tickets costing $5. Saturday’s action gets under way at 10:30 a.m. with Session Two, and tickets will cost $6. Session three is the finals, and is slated for a 5:30 p.m. start. Tickets will cost $7 per person.

Staff Reporter

Jason has been in journalism for 20 years. He moved to Coastal Delaware in August 2017 with his wife, Jessica, and their daughters, Kylie, 17, and Grace, 12. He has a passion for high-school sports and especially values the relationships that builds.