By Mike McClure

The Woodbridge varsity wrestling team clinched its first Henlopen South title in school history with a 49-22 home win over Indian River on Jan. 29. The team, ranked second, was scheduled to host seventh seeded Archmere on Wednesday in the first round of the state dual meet tournament, with the semifinals and finals to take place on Saturday in Smyrna.

“It feels good. The kids have worked hard this year. I hope they just take it in stride,” said Woodbridge head coach Shane Marvel. “Hopefully we can make a run (in the state dual meet tournament).”

“It’s a great feeling. We’ve worked hard for it. We’ve put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in,” senior Michael Hutchison.

“We’re focussed on winning that state title. We’ve really got a lot to prove,” added senior Hunter Young.

For the first time, the state dual meet tournament is being split into two days, starting on Wednesday with the first round. The Raiders earned a first round home meet with the division championship.

It’s a great deal for us,” Young said of the home meet. “We have a great fan base. We’re really trying to put wrestling on the map for Woodbridge.”

“We may win the first round, but we’re not going to linger on that match,” added Hutchison.

Due to a lack of participation, Woodbridge dropped its wrestling program 10 years ago. Former coach Jenna Day helped build the foundation for the current program.

“The credit goes to the kids, they out in the work. I just tried to guide them along the way,” Marvel said. “I’ve had a lot of people contact me over the last few weeks. I think everybody realized how far this program has come.”

This is the third straight year that the Raiders have qualified for the state dual meet tournament. They reached the semifinals last year.

“It’s (hosting the first round of the state dual meet tournament) exciting. We had a great crowd for the conference championship against Indian River. It was a great atmosphere for our kids to be involved with,” said Marvel.

The Raiders are looking to get healthy going into the state dual meet tournament. “Hopefully we’ll be right there in the mix of things,” Marvel said.

“The most important thing is to get healthy and stay focussed. We want catch out second wind and get guys back who are injured. We want to prove that we’re the best in the state,” added Young.

If Woodbridge is going to win the state title, it will probably have to go through Caravel. The Bucs beat the Raiders, 49-21, on Feb. 5 and earned a 46-25 victory against Woodbridge on Jan. 25 at the Legacy Duals.

“Caravel’s tough but if we wrestle to our ability there’s no reason why we can’t beat them,” Marvel said.