DALEVILLE — The official nickname for Daleville’s sports teams is the Broncos, but the school’s wrestling team has adopted an even more aggressive animal as its unofficial mascot.
Utilizing the team’s “shark mentality,” the team won convincingly Wednesday 45-15 over the visiting Richmond Red Devils.
Junior Dawson Brooks epitomized the attitude in the meet’s opening match. The Daleville 132-pounder pounced on Richmond’s Caelyb Sides and won by fall with 44.2 seconds remaining in the first period.
“I’m going to go out and eat. I’m going to go out and attack. I’m going to win,” Brooks said. “That’s what it means to me. I’m going to battle and devour everybody I wrestle. And even if I don’t, they’re going to know who I am.”
Although the Broncos later won three matches by forfeit — Brandon Kinnick at 145 pounds, Reazon Davenport at 152 pounds and Ashton McGrew at 160 pounds — and the odds were in their favor, setting the early tone for the other matches was important to Brooks.
“I’m one of the older guys on the team. It’s good to lead by example with some of the guys who are younger,” he said. “When they see somebody doing good, they’re going to follow you.”
Daleville coach Dalton Baysinger said the approach was based on an analogy for life from former NBA player Walter Bond. In addition to being aggressive, being a shark means always moving in the right direction.
“If a shark stops swimming, they die. If they swim backwards, they die,” Baysinger said. “Be a shark. Move forward.”
The second match featured a mild upset at Jake Necessary of Richmond edged Daleville’s Julius Gerencser in a 4-3 decision. Necessary entered the match ranked No. 24 in the state but was able to hold off No. 5 Gerencser.
Baysinger said he is not worried about the 2021 state finalist. When the tournament begins in just over two weeks, he will be ready.
“He’ll be ready when that time comes,” Baysinger said. “This match won’t define him, and he knows that.”
Daleville’s Tyler Burris scored a hard-fought 5-2 victory at 170 pounds over Richmond’s Kevin Handley before Christopher Walters — in a scoreless match — broke through for a win by fall over Richmond’s Eli Smith with 1:44 remaining in the final period.
“Chris is a great kid,” Baysinger said of the sophomore. “You know no matter what, you’re going to get tough from Chris, and you can appreciate that as a coach.”
Another Bronco with high postseason expectations is Jackson Ingenito at 195 pounds. The No. 24-ranked senior made quick work of Richmond’s Seth Cull-Glomb, winning by fall just 48 seconds into the match.
Ayden Ramirez scored the final Broncos’ win in the last match, pinning Richmond’s Gavin McFarland with 26 seconds left in the opening period.
Richmond’s only other contested win came at 285 pounds where Timothy Long pinned Daleville’s Franklin Gormely in 25 seconds. Daniel Brown took the 220-pound win for Richmond by default.
The Broncos will be at home for their next dual Friday night against Purdue Polytechnic before wrapping up the regular season the following Saturday in the Mid-Eastern Conference championships.