For a Delsea Regional High School wrestling team looking to prove it belongs back in the state finals, statements don’t get much louder than the one it made Friday night.
The Crusaders rolled to a 50-24 over West Deptford on the road, establishing the fact that the gap between Delsea and the rest of the field in Group II South is quite vast.
The Crusaders (2-0) built up a 42-6 lead before West Deptford (0-2) won a contested bout and the final bout split was 9-5 in favor of the Crusaders with eight of those victories being earned with bonus points.
“We want to finish what we’ve been trying to do for the last four years,” senior 145-pounder Dylan Recinto said. “Coach has been telling us (West Deptford) might be the team we’ll see in the South Jersey Group II finals. This is pretty big because we might see them again at the end.”
Recinto set the tone in the first bout of the night, building a nice lead on West Deptford’s Cameron Shields before decking him in 3 minutes, 33 seconds.
John Hennelly took a forfeit for career victory No. 99 at 152, then David Gresk and Victor DeFrance pinned for the Crusaders at 160 and 170, respectively.
It was still early, but the rout seemed to be on.
“(Momentum) builds the team’s confidence up high,” Gresk said. “The first pin sets everybody else off. After that, it builds up more and more and more.”
Senior Dylan Dobzanski pinned the Eagles’ Hunter Holstrum in 2:55 at 182, then, after the two sides exchanged forfeits, Bryan Dobzanski decked West Deptford’s Mark Fisher at heavyweight in 33 seconds in the bout that officially clinched the match.
“I think momentum is always key, especially in high school wrestling,” Delsea coach Greg Sawyer said. “There’s no doubt momentum is a factor in high school wrestling more than any other level.”
Momentum could help explain how Delsea made it look easy against a team many people picked to give the Crusaders a nice run for Group II South before the season.
“We expected to come in with our heads banging,” Gresk said. “We did our thing and we came out on top.”
Even after the match was well in hand, Delsea still managed to take a swing bout. Senior Rian Lamanteer, who transferred from Cumberland this season, closed out the night with a 3-0 decision over Christian Terinoni – a returning Region 8 qualifier — at 138.
“I knew he was good because I’ve seen him before, but I knew I could beat him,” Lamanteer. “I’ve been working all summer, been working hard in the room, and I had confidence in myself.”
Delsea did drop a couple close matches though. At 106, freshman John Hassett fell 3-2 to Dustin Zuzulock. The difference in the bout was a third-period escape by Zuzulock. At 113, Delsea sophomore Tom Carney fell 4-2 to Griffin Bonner.
Delsea seems poised to only get better as the season goes on. However, a win like the one over West Deptford says anything short of a state final appearance might be a disappointment.