Grapplers from 106 schools from across the region converged on the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware Saturday to compete in the 2013 Beast of the East Wrestling Tournament.
Four wrestlers from Delaware proved that they are among the best in the region by advancing to the quarterfinals of the tournament, winning multiple events on day one of the two-day showcase.
“It feels pretty good. It’s the first time I’ve reached the second day through the championship bracket,” said Caesar Rodney heavyweight Zach Parker. “I’m pretty happy about that.”
Parker, a sixth seed at 285 pounds, won his first match of the day in the second round when he earned a pin in 1:47. Parker advanced to the quarterfinals when he scored his second pinfall victory on the evening, winning his third-round match in 1:05.
Parker, who nearly made the quarterfinals last year at 220 pounds, will face third-seeded Jacob Pinkston of J.W. Robinson (Va.) in the quarterfinals.
“The competition is definitely getting tougher. I need to focus. I needed to scout my opponents so I at least have an idea of what they’re going to do,” Parker said. “I need to have a good warm-up so I’m not flat on my feet.”
Cape Henlopen’s Thomas Ott won three matches at 220 pounds to join Parker in the quarterfinals. Ott won his first round match via pinfall and followed by winning a 5-1 decision in the second round.
Ott, seeded sixth, clinched his second straight trip to the quarterfinals when he won 10-1 majority decision.
“There’s a lot of training for this. It’s a big tournament on our schedule, and I’ve been looking forward to this. I’ll come back and be ready for the quarterfinals,” Ott said. “I was in the quarters last year and lost. Hopefully, I learn from it and make it into the semis.”
After winning the Beast of the East at 113 pounds last year, Smyrna’s Brent Fleetwood will make his third straight quarterfinal appearance after winning two matches.
Seeded first at 120 pounds, Fleetwood faces familiar opponents despite moving up a weight class, so he knows what to expect from most of them.
“There’s not really much of a difference. Most of the same guys I’ve wrestled last year are in the same bracket as me,” Fleetwood said.
Completing the quartet of Delaware wrestlers in the quarterfinals is Sussex Central’s Clay Conway, wrestling at 182 pounds. Conway is the eighth seed and had to win three matches to advance, including a 10-8 decision in the third round.
Caesar Rodney’s Micah Hight, a three-time state champion who lost in last year’s Beast quarterfinals at 120, did not compete Saturday.