Knights wrestlers expecting strong season

GEORGETOWN — Sussex Central has been noticeably absent from the most recent two state dual-meet wrestling tournaments.

This year’s Golden Knights don’t intend on being left out a third consecutive time.

Sussex Central expects to have one of the state's better wrestling teams this season. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

Sussex Central expects to have one of the state’s better wrestling teams this season. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

“I’m planning to go a long way with them this year,” said head coach Phil Shultie, who has been at Sussex Central for four decades. “Overall I think we’re going to be very competitive. With Smyrna, I don’t know, but everybody else.”

While still a young group, the Knights return multiple starters from last season’s team that many feel should have been invited to the state duals.

“I’ve got a lot of guys back,” Shultie said. “And we have some good freshmen out this year. Where they are, we’re solid, but hopefully we get them some experience this year.”

Leading the way is senior Justin Bennett, a state-placer who figures to this season compete for an individual title somewhere in the middleweights.

“My main goal right now is to place in the Beast of the East (Dec. 19-21 at the University of Delaware), win as many tournaments as possible, win in conferences instead of taking second and then go to states and win that also,” said Bennett, who is between 145 and 152. “As a senior, it would be pretty incredible to get back into the duals because my freshman year was the last time I was actually in it. I have a lot of faith in these guys, I know we can do it if we keep everybody healthy and strong.”

Bennett is well known around wrestling circles, but one Central grappler who is looking to make a name for himself this season is junior Max Tolson.

Stepping into the starting lineup toward the end of last season, Tolson wrestled his way to a surprising third place finish in the Henlopen Conference Championships in the 138-pound weight class.

“I just want to build off the momentum I gained last year,” Tolson said. “If I worked hard in practice, I knew I had the potential. Now I have to keep doing what I do, practice hard and go through the fundamentals.

“Last year I thought we should’ve got a spot in the state duals,” he added. “This year I think we can be top three in the state.”

Sussex Central has a pair of dual-meets scheduled for next week, as the Knights open the season with rival Sussex Tech on Dec. 16 and are at Middletown two days later.

Prior to those meets, Central will wrestle in this weekend’s Milford Invitational tournament.

“There will be some good matches at Milford,” Bennett said. “My goal is to just go out, have fun and win.”


From the Sussex County Sports Desk

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