MIDDLETOWN – William Penn’s wrestling machine was stalling out – until Will Assmann came to the rescue.
Colonials coach Marvin Dooley was hoping the junior could avoid getting pinned in his 126-pound match on Wednesday night. Assmann did much more than that, scoring an 11-3 major decision over David Ellis to stoke his teammates to a 46-25, Blue Hen Flight A clinching victory over Middletown.
Fifth-ranked William Penn (8-0, 7-0 Flight A) had won 27 straight conference titles – interrupted by a four-year stretch competing as an independent – until Middletown ended the Colonials’ reign on its home mat two years ago. Charter of Wilmington took the crown last year, but now William Penn has it back.
“Two years ago when we lost it, they used to always ask me, ‘How fun is it winning Flight A when you’ve won it so many times?’” Dooley said. “But when you don’t have it, you miss it. This team, we’ve talked all year about one brick at a time. We just got the last brick.”
The Colonials thought they had an edge in the higher weights, and they took full advantage. Luis Rodriguez started the night with a thrilling, 8-7 decision over the Cavaliers’ Louis Savino at 170. Then Nick Lane (182), Messiah El (195), Myles Goodson-Tatum (220) and Charlie Hope (285) followed with pins to stake William Penn to a 27-0 lead.
“I thought up top, we did what we had to do,” Dooley said.
But when the lineup turned over to the lighter weights, Middletown (4-4, 4-1) made a charge. Jaxson Al-Chokhachy earned a 6-3 decision at 106, and Hunter Hamil (113) and Willem Carl (120) earned pins to pull the Cavaliers within 27-15.
Middletown was expecting to creep even closer, but Assmann regained the momentum for the Colonials.
“The match was won at 126,” Dooley said. “Will Assmann won the match for us.
“His job was really not to get pinned. We trained him all week about staying off your back, and he majored it. He wrestled super.”
Assmann led 1-0 after one period, then built a 9-1 advantage in the second period before finishing it off to score four huge points for his team.
“I had that mindset going out there, not getting pinned, staying tough,” Assmann said. “It just led to me dominating the match, and I’m happy to get the win for my team.
“I believed in myself going into the match, and it paid off. Some of my teammates said it turned the tide of the whole match. It’s just so good to get the conference title back.”
William Penn’s Noah Ogbin won by forfeit at 132. Middletown’s Dante Immediato scored a major decision at 138, only to see the Colonials’ Ryan Juarez-Robertson answer with a 7-2 decision at 145. Middletown’s Brian Schneider (152) and William Penn’s Joseph Bedwell (160) scored pins to finish the match.
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