ANDERSON — Despite having a well represented local contingency, only Fort Mill’s Nick Leitten and Chester’s Meleke Stewart came away with individual state championships at the Anderson Civic Center during the individual state wrestling tournament.
Leitten, a senior, capped off an undefeated season by winning the 145-pound individual state title, beating Rock Hill’s Bishop Ashley in a 3-1 decision. Leitten finished the year at 54-0.
“Nick is a tough kid and works hard,” said Fort Mill coach Chris Brock. “He is a talented kid. This is a tough event. We were fortunate to put two in the finals.”
The match-up between Leitten and Ashley was the fourth one of the year, with Leitten taking all four, in very close fashion each time.
Leitten got a take down in the first period to go up 2-0, but Ashley got an escape to get on the board while still in the first period. Leitten added an escape in the second period and it was all the scoring that would be done in the match.
For Chester, junior Meleke Stewart beat Eastside’s John Thorpe 8-2 at 160-pounds in the 3A state tournament. For Stewart, it was the end of a long journey, as he had to fight back from a broken hand earlier in the season just to be able to compete. Chester had three wrestlers place.
“I am extremely happy for what my guys have done,” said Chester coach Joe Conlan.
Stewart came back just in time for the Cyclones Region tournament and didn’t lose the rest of the season, finishing 18-2 on the year.
Locally, both Fort Mill and York had two wrestlers make the finals at the 4A level. Rock Hill and South Pointe each had one as well. Chester also had two finalists at the 3A level.
The other Cyclone finalist was sophomore Temaris Dixon, who lost by pin fall in the third period to Georgetown’s Jalil Smith at 220-pounds. Chester also had senior Brandon Taylor finish third in the 3A tournament at 126-pounds by beating Swansea’s Dylan Crossland 16-8.
Rock Hill brought the most local wrestlers to the two-day state tournament that started Friday evening, but had just three wrestlers place. Ashley was second at 145-pounds and junior Cameron Bell finished third by beating Laurens’ Austin Crocker 13-6, at 195-pounds. Senior Robert Mills was pinned in the third period by Byrnes’ Cody Simpson to finished fourth at 152-pounds.
“To get nine in here is an accomplishment,” said Rock Hill coach Cain Beard. “It was the luck of the draw. We had a couple kids get upset. I have six of the guys coming back next year so that is huge.”
Fort Mill junior Tyler Turner fell in the 120-pound finals in overtime to Lexington’s Andrew Szalwinski 5-3. The Jackets also had junior Eddie Byrams finish third at 113-pounds by beating Fort Dorchester’s Tyre Wright 3-0.
South Pointe had just one finalist in junior Mike Miller, who lost to Stratford’s Nicholas Young 7-2. The Stallions also had senior Cameron Pike finish fourth, losing his third place match by injury default to Boiling Springs’ Spencer Thomas.
York had two finalists in senior Robert Cunningham at 126-pounds and senior heavyweight Beau Nunn. Cunningham lost to Summerville’s Gavin Perkins 11-3 and Nunn lost to White Knoll’s Patton Gossett by pin fall in the first period.
“I felt pretty good about three out of our six wrestlers we brought,” said York coach Todd Hershberger. “This was the third year in a row we had someone in the finals.”
York also had senior Rainey Moore to finish third at 160-pounds by pinning Wade Hampton’s Dionel Plasencia in the second period.
Indian Land, who brought five wrestlers to the 2A tournament, had three wrestlers finish third: freshman Dalen Byerley at 113-pounds, junior Devin Curtsinger at 138-pounds and senior Dylan Deese at 182-pounds.
Nation Ford senior Josh Driscoll finished third at 220-pounds by beating Beaufort’s Kentrell Seabrook 3-1 in overtime. Driscoll was the only Falcons wrestler to qualify for the tournament.
2013 State wrestling tournament local placers
113:1) Jackson Myers, Lexington; 2) Levi Joly, Bluffton; 3) Eddie Byrams, Fort Mill; 4) Tyre Wright, Fort Dorchester.
120:1) Andrew Szalwinski, Lexington; 2) Tyler Turner, Fort Mill; 3) Hector Contreras, Dorman; 4) Chris Jackson, Lugoff-Elgin.
126:1) Gavin Perkins, Summerville; 2) Robert Cunningham, York; 3) Joey Antoine, Westside; 4) Ben Crutchfield, Wando.
132:1) Nicholas Young, Stratford; 2) Mike Miller, South Pointe; 3) Grant Snyder, Hillcrest; 4) Parker Grizzle, Dutch Fork.
138:1) Austin Farmer, Bluffton; 2) Brandon Shepherd, Lexington; 3) Spencer Thomas, Boiling Springs; 4) Cameron Pike, South Pointe.
145: 1) Nick Leitten, Fort Mill; 2) Bishop Ashley, Rock Hill; 3) Walker Barfield, Lexington; 4) Charlie Conner, Byrnes.
152:1) Will Thomas, Dorman; 2) Chad Wood, Summerville; 3) Cody Simpson, Byrnes; 4) Robert Mills, Rock Hill.
160:1) Thomas Mabry, Gaffney; 2) Trey Arant, Beaufort; 3) Rainey Moore, York; 4) Dionel Plasencia, Wade Hampton.
195:1) Clint Wright, Beaufort; 2) Chris Ford, Conway; 3) Cameron Bell, Rock Hill; 4) Austin Crocker, Laurens.
220:1) Nate Meagher, Lexington; 2) Allen Jenerette, Lugoff-Elgin; 3) Josh Driscoll, Nation Ford; 4) Kentrell Seabrook, Beaufort.
Hwt:1) Patton Gossett, White Knoll; 2) Beau Nunn, York; 3) Nathan O’Connor, Sumter; 4) Tyler Wilson, Beaufort.
126:1) Cole Anderson, Eastside; 2) Brady Whiteside, Palmetto; 3) Brandon Taylor, Chester; 4) Dylan Crossland, Swansea.
160 :1) Meleke Stewart, Chester; 2) John Thorpe, Eastside; 3) Zorrie Green, Stall; 4) Alex King, Berkeley.
220:1) Jalil Smith, Georgetown; 2) Temaris Dixon, Chester; 3) Kyle Burton, Socastee; 4) Jacob Garibay, Hanahan.
113:1) Daquan Chappell, Central; 2) Josh Jones, Landrum; 3) Dalen Byerley, Indian Land; 4) Ben Lingefelt, Pendleton.
126:1) Josh McDermett, Academic Magnet; 2) Lan Hiers, Bamberg-Ehrhardt; 3) Alex Oaks, Abbeville; 4) Taylor Pendleton, Indian Land.
138:1) Jacob Hopper, Newberry; 2) Dakota Stewart, Liberty; 3) Devin Curtsinger, Indian Land; 4) Brian LaBean, Battery Creek.
182:1) Mark Moody, Bamberg-Ehrhardt; 2) Leonard Brown, Baptist Hill; 3) Dylan Deese, Indian Land; 4) Tanner Chambers, Liberty.