Cordingley comes through as Chichester tops AP

UPPER CHICHESTER >> No one had to tell Chichester’s Dylan Cordingley that the match was in his hands as he stepped on the mat to face Academy Park’s Shemar Hannibal at 152 pounds Wednesday night.

The senior had a clear view of the scoreboard.

Academy Park’s Mohammed Kaba, right, works over Marquell Hudnell of Chichester on the way to a pin. Chi got the win on the day, 36-30. (Digital First Media/Anne Neborak)

Academy Park had won three straight matches to cut what had been a 15-point lead to three. Another win by the Knights and the momentum Chi gained early in the match would have been gone.

Cordingley came through with a pin to propel the Eagles to a hard-fought 36-30 victory over the Knights that kept Chi alive in the Del Val League championship hunt.

And he wasn’t the only senior to come through on senior night. J.P. Richardson came up with a huge win by fall at 182 pounds to seal the victory.

“These guys were clutch,” Chichester coach Jim Beletti said. “We knew it was going to be a tight match so every point matter and these guys really came through.”

That’s the way it’s been all year for Chi. Despite injuries to the likes of Chris and Tommy Smarkola, and D.J. McMaster, the Eagles just keep plugging along.

“Every time we put someone into the lineup, that person comes through,” Beletti said.

Cordingley is not one of those replacements. He’s been a fixture in the varsity lineup all season, but he has come through in a big way for the Eagles. He had three wins last season as a varsity wrestler. He’s 20-6 this season with 16 of those victories by fall.

Although his latest pin came in 1 minute, 23 seconds, it was a struggle. Cordingley only had a 2-0 lead before he caught Hannibal, who was wrestling for the first time in several weeks.

Academy Park’s Samika Kroma, right, tries to turn Chichester’s Craig Baldwin Wednesday. Kroma scored a win, but the Eagles claimed a 36-30 victory. (Digital First Media/Anne Neborak)

“Once I got my hand over his head and locked in the cradle, I knew he was done,” Cordingley said.

“Shemar hasn’t been able to go for four weeks and there’s no substitute for wrestling,” Academy Park coach John Basile said. “But (Cordingley) did a great job. He caught Shemar in the cradle. That’s wrestling.”

And that is why Basile managed to face even though the Knights came out on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

“I can’t be displeased,” Basile said. “The kids gave a great effort. We were in it and the 152-pound match was the difference.”

Cordingley’s win gave the Eagles a 24-15 lead. Jovani Perez extended the advantage to 30-15 when he pinned Ryan Taylor in 26 seconds at 160 pounds. Max Fitzgerald gave the Knights some home when he pinned Noah Harvey in just before the buzzer sounded to end the first period of their 170-pound match.

Richardson, though, quickly dashed those hopes. He decked Utensee Nankay 20 seconds into the second period of their 182-pound bout to put the match out of reach and keep Chichester’s goal of winning the Del Val League title alive.

“It would mean so much to win it,” Richardson said. “We could have won it last year, but things did not go our way. This year we have one of the best teams we’ve had in years.”

Achieving that objective will not be easy. The Eagles still have to face Glen Mills, which beat Academy Park last week, and Interboro, which shared the league title with AP last season.

“The great thing about this team is that it really does take it one match at a time,” Beletti said. “They don’t look past anyone. “They’re really focused. They just keep pushing forward.”

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