Rock Hill overcomes deficit to advance to wrestling dual state final

scopeland@heraldonline.comFebruary 17, 2014 

The Rock Hill Bearcats won the final three events and claimed a come-from-behind 32-23 victory over the Hillcrest Rams in the Class AAAA Upper State wrestling finals Monday night at Rock Hill High School.

The win sends Rock Hill against the Summerville Green Wave for the state title at 6 p.m. Wednesday at White Knoll High School in Lexington.

“Getting this far is our goal every year,” said Rock Hill head coach Cain Beard. “We have worked hard for this. We got a great effort tonight from top to bottom. Wednesday will be a battle between two old rivals.”

Summerville beat Rock Hill in the state title match in Beard’s first year in 2008 at Rock Hill.

“I am looking forward to Wednesday,” said Beard. “Summerville is well-coached, and I look for another close match against a very good team.”

Monday night’s win over Hillcrest was in dramatic fashion. Hillcrest led 23-16 with just three events remaining. The Bearcats dominated in all three.

Cameron Bell took only 1:22 to record a pin over Connor Bost in the 220-pound weight class and the Bearcats were down only 23-22.

Travis Strait won a 14-6 major decision over Amari Houston at 285, and Rock Hill led 26-23. When Rock Hill’s Devon Faile pinned Hampton Johnson at the 1:32 mark in the 106-pound weight class, the Bearcats were headed to the state finals.

“We knew it was going to be close,” said Beard. “In the last 11 years, either Rock Hill or Hillcrest has represented the Upper State in the finals 10 times.”

Logan Sexton gave Rock Hill a 3-0 lead when the match opened at 113. Payton Lance of Hillcrest tied it, before Noah Mead put the Bearcats up 6-3 in the 126 classification. Jeremy Higgins tied it for the Rams at 6-6.

Grant Snyder and John Michael Sweenie both claimed major decisions for Hillcrest, and the Rams were up 14-6. Rock Hill Kris Hughes won a decision at 152, and Hillcrest led 14-9 at the midway point in the match.

Cody Childers answered for Rock Hill with a major decision and Hillcrest’s lead was cut to 14-13. The Rams’ Isaiah Sayegh extended the Rams’ lead to 17-13 with a decision at 170.

Rock Hill’s Stephen Chesney answered for the Bearcats with a decision, and the Rams’ lead was cut to 17-16. Landon Sayegh won at 195 by a disqualification to give Hillcrest a 23-16 margin heading to the final three events.

“I thought that we did a good job in the middle of the match by slowing it down,” said Beard. “We did not give up a pin in that stretch, and after our back-and-forth start, that is what we needed.”

Despite trailing 23-16 with three events remaining, Beard was confident that his team could pull it off.

“Bell’s quick pin was huge for us,” said Beard. “I knew that we were in good shape going to the last three, because I felt like that we had a chance to get three pins, and we got two.”

Rock Hill 32, Hillcrest 23

106 - Devon Faile (RH) pinned Hampton Johnson (1:32), 113 - Logan Sexton (RH) dec. Nathan Roberts 6-1, 120 - Payton Lance (H) dec. Nick Steinberg 6-2, 126 - Noah Mead (RH) dec. Sean Horgan 8-3, 132 - Jeremy Higgins (H) dec. Tyler Wilkins 4-0, 138 - Grant Snyder (H) maj. dec. Christen Moore 14-4, 145 - John Michael Sweenie (H) maj. dec. Babe Rigby 10-1, 152 - Kris Hughes (RH) dec. Asa Kelly 11-5, 160 - Cody Childers (RH) maj. dec. Bailey Beamish 15-4, 170 - Isaiah Sayegh (H) dec. Ben Demarest 4-0, 182 - Stephen Chesney (RH) dec. Nygel Witherspoon 12-7, 195 - Landon Sayegh (H) disqualification win, 220 - Cameron Bell (RH) pinned Connor Bost (1:22), 285 - Travis Strait (RH) maj. dec. Amari Houston 14-6.

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