Caesar Rodney’s Zack Parker was one of several Delaware wrestlers who stood out and earned a podium finish at the 2013 Beast of the East Wrestling Tournament Sunday at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.
Parker was seeded sixth at 285 pounds, and he outperformed his seed by finishing with a 7-2 record over two days en route to a fourth-place finish. His run came a week after Parker finished fourth at the prestigious Walsh Ironman in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
“I think I did surprise myself. It was the same way at the Ironman as well, where I was seeded ninth and finished fourth,” Parker said. “It’s nice being the underdog and coming out and doing better than you’re seeded.”
Parker’s day started out well when he earned a pinfall victory over Jacob Pinkston of J.W. Robinson High School (Va.) in the quarterfinals. But his dream of a tournament title ended when St. Joseph’s (N.J.) Kevin Wilkens beat him in a 5-2 decision in the semifinals.
Parker responded in the consolation semifinals by winning a 5-2 decision to advance to the third-place match. But Parker could not overcome a size disadvantage and lost a 3-2 decision to Jake Scanlan of Wyoming Seminary (Pa.).
“I think I need to get stronger, personally. The two guys I lost two were huge. I was having a hard time, and they were able to score on me,” Parker said. “Maybe once I get bigger and stronger, I’ll be able to take guys down.”
Smyrna’s Brent Fleetwood, the tournament’s top seed at 120 pounds, had a chance to win his second Beast of the East title but settled for second place after falling to third-seeded Scott Parker of Pennridge (Pa.) in a 5-1 decision in the finals.
Early in the first period, Scott Parker took control of the match with a takedown, but Fleetwood escaped to make it 2-1. Later in the period, Scott Parker completed the same maneuver that worked for him earlier to take a 4-1 lead.
“I felt good going out, but he hit that real fast split. I kind of took my eye off of him. I didn’t fight it as well as I wanted to and got [taken] down. I got out and back my feet,” Fleetwood said. “He took the same shot. I guess I didn’t learn. I guess I couldn’t fight it.”
Fleetwood started the second period in top position, but Scott Parker escaped to increase his lead to 5-1. The pair remained in neutral position for the rest of the period.
In the third period, Fleetwood never escaped Scott Parker’s grasp. Fleetwood has mixed emotions about his run through the tournament.
“It is a great experience. This is the Beast. I think I had a lot of people who were pulling for me. It’s upsetting that I couldn’t get the job all the way done,” Fleetwood said. “To make it to the finals, it’s a bittersweet taste.”
Caesar Rodney’s Micah Hight, the three-time defending state champion, was expected to contend with Fleetwood at 120 pounds but had to withdraw due to an injury sustained in practice this past week.
Three other Delawareans finished on the podium. Sussex Central’s Clay Conway earned seventh place at 182 pounds, Willie Davis from Woodbridge grabbed a seventh-place finish at 145 pounds and Cape Henlopen’s Thomas Ott finished in eighth place at 220 pounds.
Blair Academy (N.J.) won the overall tournament title with 272 points to repeat as champions. Smyrna was the highest-finishing Delaware school with a 23rd place finish.