NEWARK—Several local wrestlers shined during the opening day of the 24th Annual Beast of the East Wrestling Tournament Saturday at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center.
By the end of the third round of the tournament, four Delaware grapplers escaped the day undefeated to advance to the quarterfinals held Sunday morning in Smyrna’s Chase Archangelo and Tony Wuest, Salesianum’s Joe Miller and A.I. DuPont’s Jay’Juan Jones.
Archangelo, who reached the quarterfinals at 145 pounds thanks to a 10-2 majority decision over Saucon Valley’s (Pa.) Jason Joones, says he has felt strong throughout the tournament and wants to keep some of the awards in the state.
“I felt really confident on my feet. It’s where’s I’ve been mostly scoring on. I’m not going to make any predictions or anything, but hopefully I medal and represent Delaware proud, I want to bring home some hardware for Delaware,” Archangelo, who is the sixth seed, said.
Archangelo started his match with Jones by taking a 5-0 lead by the end of the first round and followed that up by scoring two points in the second round to make it 7-0, and he increased his lead to 10-0 before Jones scored two points late in the match.
Archangelo’s Eagle teammate Wuest earned a berth in the quarterfinals at 195 pounds when he defeated Miles Lee of South Philadelphia (Pa.) via a pinfall in 3:53, and he has already surpassed his expectations with his performance on the first day.
“I came in not expecting anything big, just expecting mat time, see where I stand in the country. It was just a good experience for me,” Wuest said. “It’s something new for me this tournament. For something this big, I’ve had nothing this strong, so it’s nice. I like the feeling.”
Moments after Wuest’s victory, Miller joined him in the 195-pound quarterfinals thanks to an 11-3 majority decision over Robert Henesy of Poquoson (Va.) High School.
Miller controlled the match from the start, jumping out to an early 5-2 lead after the first round and cruising from there to get victory, and he says the way he’s been practicing helped him prepare for that match.
“I’ve been working really hard in the wrestling room. I have good coaching, good instruction. I was able to look back in my corner and get good advice throughout the match,” Miller said. “It was really about conditioning. I had that gas tank. My technique was there, and I was able to capitalize off of his mistakes.”
Miller’s strong effort on the first day has given him some redemption after not doing as well as he wanted to in last year’s tournament, and he was already mentally preparing for his quarterfinal match minutes after defeating Henesy.
“It feels good. It’s my second time here. Last time, I wasn’t able to accomplish what I wanted to. I want to accomplish a win, and I want to move on,” Miller said. “I feel a little more comfortable. I have a big match tomorrow, so I have to go home, keep on making those adjustments and mentally prepare for tomorrow.”
If the sixth-seeded Miller and tenth-seeded Wuest win their quarterfinal matches, they will meet in the semifinals for an all-Delaware match up.
Jones became the fourth Delaware wrestler to earn a berth in the quarterfinals after he pinned Good Counsel High School’s (Md.) Jalen Lea 1:37 into his round-of-16 match at 285 pounds, and that was Jones’s third victory via pin on the day. The first two came in 21 seconds and 2:46.
Even though Jones is happy with the way he’s wrestled over the first two days, he knows there is still much more to do if he wants to earn a medal.
“It feels good, but I’m not done yet. I have to keep going and try to get more wins to get to the finals.” Jones said. “I felt good. I felt dominant. I got three straight pins with nothing going to the third period.”
Blair Academy (NJ) leads the overall standings with 107 points, leading second place Bethlehem Catholic (Pa.) by three points. Cape Henlopen is the top Delaware school in 26th place with 47 points, just one point ahead of 29th place Sussex Central.