DOVER — The Polytech High wrestling team made its case on Friday night.
Now the Panthers will wait to see if its enough to make the Division I dual meet state tournament.
Polytech downed Dover 42-22 in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest Friday which was the regular season finale for both teams. Polytech finished the year at 8-4 overall (2-4 Henlopen North) while Dover ended up at 5-5 (1-5 North).
The Panthers won their final seven dual meets of the season after dropping four of their first five matches. The defending Division I state dual runner-ups will find out if they made the tournament on Sunday when the six-team field will be announced around noon.
“Of course I’m biased, but I would say the stats say we belong and we’ve wrestled our way into the tournament based on the last half of the season,” said Polytech coach Eric Buckson. “I’ll leave it up to the committee but I think we make a very strong argument.”
The state duals are scheduled for Tuesday at Smyrna High.
Polytech trailed 16-15 halfway through Friday nights dual before a run of four consecutive pins from 152 pounds to 182 clinched it for the Panthers. Derrick DiNuova started the pin parade with one in 2:48 at 152. Jaden McCove followed at 160 with another in 3:24 before Avery Mayan needed just 1:15 for the pin at 170.
Vince Tascione capped off the four-straight pinfalls at 182 with another in the first round (1:23). Austin Price (106) and Spenser Hahn (113) also recorded pins for Polytech.
Buckson pointed out Dinova’s pin at 152 as one of the turning points of the match but also credited Jankiel Drane’s match at 126 pounds. Drane earned a 7-0 decision against Dover’s Taqee Williams, who beat Drane via major-decision three weeks ago at a tournament in Middletown.
“This was the match to put us in the state tournament,” Drane said. “It was a lot of motivation and we had a big crowd in the stands which really motivated me to try even harder.”
Justin Land also had a victory by decision for the Panthers at 195 pounds.
“I love these kids,” Buckson said. “They work everyday. When we started off bad, they could have said, ‘Coach we’re just not feeling it.’ But they refused. We have a motto on our wall that says ‘We get better everyday.’ I think that is a huge part of why we are where we are right now.”
Polytech has won five matches in the last six days, thanks to a pair of tri-meets (Saturday and Wednesday) where the Panthers earned victories in both their matches.
“We’ve definitely evolved from the beginning of the season,” Drane said. “We’ve been grinding it out every day and just getting better.”