Strong returning presence has IR wrestling expectations very high
Following a season in which they worked their way into the DIAA Division II state semifinals as a team, the Indian River High School wrestling program has its sights set on getting back there once again, and possibly taking it one step further.
Head coach Jeff Windish is back for his 16th season at the helm, coming off a 2018-2019 campaign that saw the Indians go 14-4 in dual meet matches, including a 5-1 mark in the Henlopen Conference South Division.
The Indians will be counting on eight returning wrestlers to lead the charges this year, including four state qualifiers. Seniors Ta’Jon Knight and Ramond Turner both were medalists last year, while classmate Chris Saylor qualified, along with junior Ian Shaubach.
Knight will likely man the 138-pound spot in the lineup, with Turner at 285, Shaubach at 120 and Saylor at 126. Knight is a two-time state medalist during his IR career, with a third-place finish at the state meet a year ago. Turner brought home a fourth-place medal.
Another pair of seniors, in the form of Cristian Galindo-Lopez and Will Keller, are also back in the fold for the Indians, at 113 and 160, respectively. Junior Colin Hudson (132) and sophomore T.J. Burke (220) will also be in the starting lineup as returning members.
“With the experience that this team has from last season, the expectations are very high,” Windish said of his outlook for the season. “Competing for a Southern Division title and a state title are definitely goals that this team has set for itself, starting on the first day of practice.
“From an individual standpoint, we are looking to qualify the majority of our team to the DIAA Individual State Championships and to compete for state medals. The bulk of the team has experienced a great deal of success over the last few seasons and knows the level of dedication that it will take to reach their goals.”
There is a quartet of key newcomers that Windish and the Indians are expecting to fill some holes in the lineup. Senior Aaron King will likely man the spot at 170, while juniors River Vickers (145) and Jalen Holland-Holloway (152), and sophomore Wesley Brockson (132) will be counted on as well.
The Indians had their first scrimmage of the season last Saturday, Nov. 23, with Sussex Tech and Cape Henlopen. They will open their 2019-2020 campaign at home with a visit from Henlopen Conference South Division rival Lake Forest on Wednesday, Dec. 11. They will then hit the road for the Delmar Wrestling Invitational on Dec. 13-14. They will host the Battle at the Beach tournament over the holiday break on Dec. 27-28.
By Jason Feather