Defending Division I dual-meet state champion Smyrna had a lot riding on the performances of its underclassmen in an nonconference wrestling showdown with defending Division II dual-meet state champion St. Georges on Wednesday night.
Those underclassmen were up to the challenge, helping the Eagles win 12 of 14 matches in 60-10 home victory over the Hawks.
“I think they handled it pretty good,” Smyrna senior Brent Fleetwood said. “I know the two guys before me were freshman, Nate [Bryant] and [Chase] Archangelo went out there, won their matches and went to work.”
The Eagles, ranked No. 1 among Division I schools, had six freshmen earn match victories, with four coming from pins. Elijah Hutchinson scored the first victory by Smyrna’s freshmen with a pinfall victory at 152 pounds, and Joshua Hutchinson followed with a 10-8 decision over JT Tharp at 160 pounds.
Marquelle Bennett was the third freshman to score a victory for Eagles when he scored a pin at 195 pounds, and Jerren Carter continued the strong freshman effort when he edged Kyle Graden, 3-2, with a late takedown at 220 pounds.
Archangelo and Byrant finished off the night for Smyrna’s freshmen, pinning their opponents at 106 and 113 pounds respectively. Elijah Hutchinson felt like the freshmen were ready for the moment because of the time they have put in the school’s development program.
“I was excited, anxious to wrestle in front of the home crowd. I know it’s a big feat to come here and wrestle at varsity,” Elijah Hutchinson said.
“I feel like all of the freshmen earned their spots. We have been wrestling together since we were younger.”
In addition to the freshmen’s winning output, Smyrna received six match victories from the upperclassmen. Othneil Edmond won the first match of the night with a 7-1 decision at 126 pounds, and Tyler Carney followed that getting a pin in 5:11 at 132 pounds.
Smyrna’s Austin Flowers won the third match of the night at 138 pounds via pinfall. Kalen Wilson won his match against Dominic Susi in a 4-2 decision at 145 pounds, and Terren Carter gave the Eagles six points when he won in a forfeit at 285 pounds. Fleetwood won the final match of the night at 120 pounds with a pin.
St. Georges, ranked No. 1 among Division II schools, earned two wins, with Michael Albanese winning a 14-6 majority decision at 170 pounds and Rocco Hladney winning with a pin at 182 pounds.