Two Indian River juniors looking to take down titles

DAGSBORO — Success on the wrestling mat doesn’t just come when the winter sports season begins.

Much of it is earned, rather, through the work grapplers put in during the offseason.

Zeke Marcozzi is a contender for the 160-pound individual title. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

Zeke Marcozzi is a contender for the 160-pound individual title. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

At Indian River High School, a pair of third-year varsity wrestlers – Jared Arlett and Zeke Marcozzi – are hoping their offseason workouts payoff this wrestling season.

“Zeke has lofty goals and I have lofty goals for him,” Indian River head wrestling coach Jeff Windish said of Marcozzi, who has started the season wrestling in the 160-pound weight class. “We’re looking to get him exactly what he wants, and that’s to win a state title. He’s working the way he needs to right now.”

“Jared’s a junior, a returning state qualifier who peaked at the right time last year,” Windish added about Arlett. “He wrestled all offseason, was a finalist (in the 120-pound weight class) at the Milford tournament and beat all the Delaware kids he needed to beat on the way and just ran into a buzzsaw from Pennsylvania in the finals. I’m expecting big things from him this year too.”

For Marcozzi, aspirations of becoming an individual state champion really began to take hold after he qualified for the tournament his freshman season.

Marcozzi nearly achieved that goal for the first time during his sophomore season when as the No. 13 seed in the 160-pound class – a result of injury defaulting to sixth place in the Henlopen Conference championships – he placed third. Despite the high expectations last season’s success brought him coming into this year, Marcozzi said he doesn’t feel any added pressure.

“I don’t see it as pressure,” he said. “It’s just something else that motivates me to get better in the wrestling room and in the classroom. It makes me set the bar higher than last year. I learned (from last season) not to take losses as a loss but rather something to improve on. And when you have something really close, don’t let it go. Now that a lot of people know me, they know my shots so I have to make sure I do them right.”

Although Arlett didn’t go as deep into last season’s state tournament as Marcozzi, the 120-pounder still has eyes on him this season. Those stares likely increased after his showing in the Milford Invitational two weeks ago.

Jared Arlett is seeking a state title in the 120-pound weight class. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

Jared Arlett is seeking a state title in the 120-pound weight class. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

“At the Milford tournament I saw a lot of good competition, but there were some kids I didn’t get to wrestle,” he said. “No one there would be out of my league though.

“Expectations don’t make you do things any differently,” he continued. “I just keep doing what I do best and go out there and try to dominate. This year I hope to go the state finals, make it to the championships and hopefully come out on top.”

Both wrestlers recently took part in Indian River High’s own Battle at the Beach tournament. Results, which were not available at press time, can be found at sussexcountypost.com.

IR, which suffered a dual-meet loss to Delmar in its season opener, will be back on the mat Jan. 6 at home versus Laurel.

From the Sussex County Sports Desk

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