Kent returns 6 from last year’s 7-9 wrestling team

WORTON — State qualifiers Scottie Ford and Ethan Clark head the list of six returnees for Kent County High School’s wrestling team. Each won more than 30 matches last year on the way to placing third in their respective weight class in the 1A East Region.

They have moved up in weight class, at least to start the season, with Ford at 138 pounds and Clark at 150.

Also back from last year’s 7-9 campaign are sophomore Noah Iacona (126), senior Brady Sutton (144), senior Liam Gallo (175) and senior Anthony Wilson (190).

The new additions are Rhy Ashley-Pinder (106), Landon Merritt (113), Nate Daly (120), Aidan Butler (150), Cody Cummings (157) and Avon Hubbard (285).

Some of the newcomers have off-season experience with Shore Elite Wrestling Club.

Daley is a sophomore; the others are freshmen.

Chris Yiannakis (Class of 1998) returns for the sixth year as head coach at his alma mater.

“It’s probably going to be a bumpy start to the team season until we can get some experience under the new members’ belts,” Yiannakis said.¬†“Once we get rolling, we should smooth it out.”

Right now the Trojans don’t have enough wrestlers to fill all 14 weight classes.

Kent has picked up some smaller Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference schools like Perryville and Havre de Grace and dropped some larger Bayside Conference schools like four-time defending Class 2A state champ Stephen Decatur.

“This should give us the opportunity to be more competitive,” Yiannakis said.

Individually, expectations are lofty for the middle of the lineup: Iacona (13-23), Ford (32-9), Sutton (27-14) and Clark (34-11).

Big things also are projected for Gallo and Wilson, who have been working extremely hard to make sure they put it all out there in their senior year.

Merritt, a second-generation KCHS wrestler, also should do well given his experience in Kent County’s junior league and¬†Shore Elite in the off-season.

In an email to The Evening Enterprise, Yiannakis said: “The returners are focused on polishing up their technique while the new guys are cramming in as much fundamentals as their minds and bodies can handle.”

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RIDGELY — Kent County opened its season Dec. 6 with a double-dual meet with Queen Anne’s at North Caroline.

With only six wrestlers, the maximum points the Trojans could have scored in either match was 36.

They scored 12 points against their border rivals from Queen Anne’s, courtesy of first-period pins by Scottie Ford (138 pounds) and Ethan Clark (150 pounds).

Against North Caroline, Kent totaled 15 points on first-period pins by Ford and Clark and a decision by Brady Sutton at 144 pounds. Clark’s pin came in 58 seconds.

In a post on the Kent County Wrestling Facebook page, coach Yiannakis said: “We saw a lot of what we have been working on and a good deal of missed opportunities. First one is always the sounding board. Now to double down on what works and change what doesn’t.”

The Trojans’ first-year guys wrestled junior varsity bouts in order for the coaches “to get a feel for their skill retention and level.”

“We were very impressed,” Yiannakis posted on Facebook. “It won’t be long before our numbers almost double.”

Avon Hubbard (285) won both of his matches by fall. Cody Cummings and Nate Daly each had one win and one loss.

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CAMBRIDGE — Sophomore Scottie Ford (138 pounds) and senior Brady Sutton (144 pounds) collectively went 9-0 at the Andy Perez Memorial Tournament, Dec. 8-9, at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School.

The tournament format was round-robin.

Due to injury and illness, the Trojans entered only four wrestlers in the varsity tournament.

Anthony Wilson (4-3) and Liam Gallo (1-3) placed fourth at 190 pounds and 175 pounds, respectively. Wilson was 3-1 on the first day with all three wins by pin.

Kent was eighth among nine schools.

In the junior varsity tournament, Nate Daley (2-2) and Avon Hubbard (3-2) placed third at 120 and 285, respectively.

Cody Cummings (144 pounds) and and Aidan Butler (150 pounds) each had one win in four matches to finish fourth in their respective weight class.

Rhy Ashley-Pinder placed fifth at 106.

In an email to The Evening Enterprise, coach Yiannakis said: “We were happy with what we saw. Varsity performed very well, and JV showed us they had picked up a good deal in the short time since the beginning of the season.”

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