COLUMBIA — It was a cat fight that really wasnt.
The Lexington Wildcats beat the Rock Hill Bearcats 36-21 to capture its first ever state dual wrestling championship Saturday afternoon at Dreher High School as they dominated in nearly all of the 13 matches they wrestled.
Rock Hill, who was looking for its first state duals title since 2009, won just four matches of the 13 wrestled and never led in the dual title championship.
Lexington, who was ranked second in the state coming in, and Rock Hill, who was ranked number one, had wrestled each other earlier in the year with the Bearcats coming out on top 28-22.
But this time, things were a lot different.
Where things started really benefited them, said Rock Hill coach Cain Beard. The matches down low (weight classes) got them a lot of bonus points. They had five straight matches that got them bonus points and by then we needed pins.
The key match of the championship was at 195-pounds and featured Rock Hills Cameron Bell, ranked second in the state, against Lexingtons Andrew Carnes, who is ranked fifth in the state at that weight class.
Lexington had a 27-21 lead and both teams needed a win. A pin by Rock Hill would have tied the match; anything else would have forced a decisive match at 220-pounds.
For the Wildcats, a win would clinch their first state dual title.
Both Carnes and Bell battled back and forth and took a scoreless tie into the third period. Carnes scored first with an escape to grab a 1-0 lead. He then proceeded to take Bell down, giving him two more points, as he held on for a 3-1 win after Bell got a point for a stalling call against Carnes.
That was an unbelievable match for Andrew, said Lexington coach Derek Strobel. I told our guys to force their style of wrestling and believe in our system and they did.
The championship started with the heavyweight division and Lexington jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after Joey Perrotta took the 2-0 win.
Rock Hill then bounced back at 106-pounds as the number two ranked wrestler in the state, Devon Faile, was able to tie the match at 3, grabbing a 6-1 win over Lexingtons Jared Elliott.
From there, Lexington won the next five matches to go up 24-3, and despite the Bearcats putting together a pretty good rally, the Wildcats were able to hold on for the win.
Lexington got a technical fall at 113-pounds as No. 1-ranked Jackson Myers beat eighth-ranked Logan Sexton 15-0. From there, the Wildcats got major decisions at 120, 126, 132 and 138 pounds to go up 24-3.
Rock Hill bounced back at 145-pounds, as the second ranked Bishop Ashley rushed Lexingtons Evan Rumley and quickly took him down for a pin fall in the first period.
However, the momentum quickly shifted back to Lexington at 152-pounds as the Wildcats Walker Barfield upset the fourth ranked Robert Mills, winning 6-0.
Rock Hill continued to fight back, getting three straight wins to make a match out of it.
At 160-pounds, the Bearcats Kris Hughes won a 7-5 decision and then Cody Childers made short work of his opponent at 170-pounds, pinning Levi Wright in the first period. Rock Hills Afton AJ Walker went the distance at 182-pounds against Dacus Fenchel, getting a 3-1 win, which set things up for the crucial match at 195-pounds.
After Bell lost at 195-pounds, Rock Hill forfeited at 220-pounds, giving the states number one wrestler in that weight class, Nate Meagher, the easy victory.
Lexington 36, Rock Hill 21
Draw: Heavyweight (285 pounds). 285: Joey Perrotta (L) dec. Travis Strait (RH), 2-0; 106: Devon Faile (RH) dec. Jared Elliott (L), 6-1; 113: Jackson Myers (L) tech. fall Logan Sexton (RH), 15-0; 120: Andrew Szalwinski (L) major dec. Nick Steinberg (RH), 14-2; 126: Blake Risinger (L) major dec. Noah Mead (RH), 11-3; 132: Trev Comstock (L) major dec. Christian Moore (RH), 10-2; 138: Brandon Shepherd (L) major dec. Sam Swoope (RH), 10-0; 145: Bishop Ashley (RH) pinned Evan Rumley (L), 1st period; 152: Walker Barfield (L) dec. Robert Mills (RH), 6-0; 160: Kris Hughes (RH) dec. Alex Mayrides (L), 7-5; 170: Cody Childers (RH) pinned Levi Wright (L), 1st period; 182: Afton AJ Walker (RH) dec. Dacus Fenchel (L), 3-1; 195: Andrew Carnes (L) dec. Cameron Bell (RH), 3-1; 220: Nate Meagher (L) forfeit win.
Records: Lexington 28-2, Rock Hill 32-2.