LAURENS — Fort Mill and Rock Hill wrestlers lead a contingency of 18 area wrestlers that qualified for the 4A individual state championships next weekend at the Anderson Civic Center.
The Jackets and Bearcats had five wrestlers each to qualify for the two-day tourney next week. The top four finishers at each weight class qualify for the state tournament.
South Pointe was next with the most qualifiers with three, while Clover and Nation Ford each had two qualify. Lancaster had one wrestler qualify.
Northwestern and York, which had eight wrestlers each qualify for the Upper State tournament, didn’t have any qualify for the state tourney.
The Bearcats, fresh off a state dual title, brought 14 Upper State qualifiers into the tournament, but had some problems beforehand with two wrestlers choosing not to wrestle and still more missing their qualifying weight for their weight class, thus getting eliminated before they could even wrestle.
“It’s the lowest number we have taken (to states) in a while,” said Bearcats coach Cain Beard. “We are still taking five kids and anything after Wednesday (in winning the state title) is icing on the cake.”
Fort Mill won the most Upper State titles of any local team with three as AJ Leitten won at 106 pounds, followed by Jake Strong at 126 pounds and BJ Hurst at 195 pounds.
Jackets coach Chris Brock said he knew the tournament would be a challenge to some of his kids. Fort Mill brought 10 kids into the tournament.
“I knew three of them would have a hard time and we had a couple of them on the edge,” Brock said. “But we are sending five guys off a team that wasn’t totally complete all year long.”
Rock Hill had four wrestlers make the finals, with Cameron Bell at 220-pounds and Travis Strait at heavyweight winning titles.
South Pointe had an Upper State winner in Mike Miller at 132 pounds and Lancaster had an Upper State winner at 182 pounds in Quinshawn Evans.
Stallions coach Eddie Cook said he felt like more kids could have qualified for his team.
“I thought a couple more would get in,” Cook said. “We had some young kids do some rookie stuff, but those things can be fixed.”
Nation Ford’s Collin Godbout and Michael Allen both qualified from a team that made the playoffs for the first time in school history this year. Both Allen and Godbout, along with Houston Vandiver, who just missed qualifying, led the Falcons all season on the mat.
“Our guys showed up and were ready to wrestle,” said Falcons coach Leon Boulware. “I hate to see some of the seniors go out. Houston busted his butt all year. I am proud of the effort that was there.”
4A State Qualifiers (local qualifiers in bold)
Key: Boiling Springs (BS), Byrnes (Byr), Clover (C), Dorman (D), Fort Mill (FM), Gaffney (Gaf), Greenwood (Gwd), Hillcrest (H), Lancaster (L), Laurens (Lau), Mauldin (Mau), Nation Ford (NF), Riverside (R), Rock Hill (RH), South Pointe (SP), TL Hanna (TLH), Wade Hampton (WH), Westside (Wst).
106: 1. AJ Leitten (FM), 2. Arthur Hofer (BS), 3. Josh Aquino (D), 4. Jordan Thompson (TLH). 113: 1. Zack Clary (Gaf), 2. Logan Sexton (RH), 3. Ernest Grigorchuck (BS), 4. Nathan Roberts (H). 120: 1. Austin Chandler (Gaf), 2. Collin Godbout (NF), 3. Eddie Byrams (FM), 4. Alex Spencer (Byr). 126: 1. Jake Strong (FM), 2. Sean Horgan (H), 3. Addison Christopher (Byr.), 4. Jacob Shewalter (D). 132: 1. Mike Miller (SP), 2. Jeremy Higgins (H), 3. Tyler Wilkins (RH), 4. Jharee Kerns (C). 138: 1. Grant Snyder (H), 2. Jonathan Contreras (BS), 3. Michael Allen (NF), 4. Antravious Page (SP). 145: 1. Cole Mangum (BS), 2. John Michael Sweeney (H), 3. Dalton Simpson (D), 4. Jack Debbout (FM). 152: 1. Charlie Connor (Byr), 2. Kris Hughes (RH), 3. Ryan Victory (WH), 4. Steven Crowder (Gwd). 160: 1. Thomas Mabry (Gaf), 2. Jackson Boyd (R), 3. Mieklo Sekely (D), 4. Deiontre Hill (Byr). 170: 1. Christian Maroni (D), 2. Ricky Blackman (SP), 3. Isaiah Sayegh (H), 4. Dionel Plascencia (WH). 182: 1. Quinshawn Evans (L), 2. Ryan Hughes (Lau), 3. Steven Schultz (Mau), 4. Nygel Witherspoon (H). 195: 1. BJ Hurst (FM), 2. Scott Roudabush (BS), 3. Landon Sayegh (H), 4. Austin Crocker (Lau). 220: 1. Cameron Bell (RH), 2. Adarius Williams (Wst), 3. Zach Conrad (C), 4. Gavin Miebach (Mau). Hwt: 1. Travis Strait (RH), 2. Johnny Martinez (D), 3. Josh Smith (Mau), 4. Tylando Mattress (Wst).