After months of hard work and practicing, nine Wesleyan wrestlers made it all the way to the state finals. The same nine Wesleyan wrestlers that qualified for sectionals also qualified for state. In order to qualify for state, a wrestler needs to place in the top four at sectionals.
The nine wrestlers and their weight categories that competed at state were senior Callen Davidson-220, senior Chapman Pendery-195, junior George Bielan-182, senior Grant Marshall-170, junior Ben Connor-160, senior William Delk-152, sophomore Donald Conley-145, junior Matthew Brown-139 and sophomore Harrison Dearth-120.
The state meet was a two-day tournament in Macon, GA on Feb. 10 and 11.
The team performed well at the meet with a final team placement of 3rd. In addition to performing well as a team, there were also six individual winners.
Junior George Bielan placed 5th overall, senior Grant Marshall and senior Chapman Pendery both finished in 4th place and junior Ben Connor finished in 3rd place.
Senior William Delk and sophomore Harrison Dearth both finished in 1st place, making them individual state champions.
“Before the meet, I was nervous and excited because it was my last wrestling tournament ever,” said Delk. “I wanted to achieve my goal and was excited to do so, but this also brought some nerves.”
Delk has placed the past three years at state, but had yet to finish in 1st until now. Wrestling coach, Dennis Stromie said, “It is especially exciting that William won the championship because his brother won five years ago. The brothers have been a big part of the program.”
Delk also said, “The best part was right after my finals match, just soaking in the moment after putting in years of effort and practice into this goal.”
As for Dearth, he was the underdog in his final match. He had wrestled his opponent four times before and had lost to him all four times. He knew it would be difficult to win, but in the second period Dearth pinned his opponent.
“Once I was in the finals I knew I had nothing to lose, so I just wrestled my heart out and honestly surprised myself by pinning my opponent in the second period with 2 seconds left,” Dearth said. “Ever since that last match I’ve just been on cloud nine. I can’t stop smiling and I still can’t really believe I won it all and I’m a state champ.” Dearth will have much to live up to in his next two years of high school.
Junior Ben Connor said, “The best part of the weekend was watching my two teammates win state.”
The outcome of the wrestling season was one of Wesleyan’s best.
“We did better than we’ve done in many years. It’s really exciting to see the program rebuilt and do better than usual. The seniors have been the leaders rebuilding the program,” Stromie said.