The 2014 Individual Wrestling State Championships will be held this weekend at the Anderson Civic Center in Anderson, with competition in all four classifications.
The action will begin on Friday night with the first round featuring the top four seeds from both the upper and lower state finals. The final two rounds will be staged on Saturday.
York, Chester and Lancaster county schools will have 26 wrestlers competing in the weekend event. Indian Land’s Warriors compete in the Class AA-A division and will take the most wrestlers of any school in the area with six.
Rock Hill’s Bearcats and Fort Mill’s Yellow Jackets are in Class AAAA and have placed five wrestlers each in the championship weekend. South Pointe’s Stallions, who are in Class AAAA, will have three, while Nation Ford’s Falcons and Clover’s Blue Eagles, both in Class AAAA, will have two each.
The Chester Cyclones will send two to the Class AAA title rounds, while Lancaster’s Bruins, who are in Class AAAA, will have one in the event.
Rock Hill will send Upper State Champions Cameron Bell (220) and Travis Strait (285) to lead the effort. Logan Sexton (113) and Kris Hughes (152) also represent the Bearcats after finishing second in the Upper State. Tyler Wilkins (132) is the fifth Rock Hill wrestler. He was third last weekend.
“I think all five of them will do fine,” said Rock Hill coach Cain Beard. “They will have to wrestle well, but they all have a chance. After winnng the dual title, anything we get this weekend will be icing on the cake.”
Fort Mill is led by three Upper State champions. A.J. Liitten (106), Jake Strong (126), and B.J. Hurst (195) all claimed titles last weekend. They will be joined by Eddie Byrums (120) and Jack Debbout (145). They finished third and fourth, respectively, last weekend.
“On an individual basis, we have some excellent wrestlers,” said Fort Mill coach Chris Brock. “We took 10 to the Upper State last week, and five advanced. That is a tribute to the hard work they have put in this year.”
South Pointe will be led by Mike Miller at 132. He is undefeated and ranked number one after claiming the Upper State crown last weekend. Joining him will be Ricky Blackman (170) and Antravious Page (138). They were second and fourth respectively last weekend.
“All three have wrestled well this year,” said South Pointe coach Eddie Cook. “I look for all three of them to turn in outstanding performances.”
Nation Ford will send Collin Godbout (120) and Michael Allen (138). Godbout was second, while Allen finished third in the Upper State finals.
Clover will be represented by Zach Conrad (220) and Jharee Kerns (132). Conrad claimed third place last weekend, while Kerns was fourth.
Lancaster has one wrestler in the weekend event. Quinshawn Evans (182) is competing after claiming the Upper State title last Saturday to remain unbeaten.
The Chester Cyclones have a pair of wrestlers in the weekend event. Defending state champion Meleke Stewart (170) and Temaris Dixon (220) are both coming in after winning the Upper State title in convincing fashion.
“Both were outstanding in the Upper State” said Chester coach Joe Conlan. “I look for both of them to do well this weekend.”
Both Stewart and Dixon won in the Upper State by recording pins in less than 20 seconds in the final round.
Being a defending state champion has made Stewart, who is unbeaten, work even harder during his senior campaign. If he wins this weekend, he will be the first-ever two time state champion in Chester history.
“I have more confidence this year,” said Stewart. “At the same time I know that everyone will do their best against me, and I have to be ready every time I wrestle.”
Getting a quick pin in the Upper State finals was a confidence booster for Dixon.
“I have worked hard this year to improve and prepare myself for this weekend,” said Dixon. “I was a runner-up last year, and I am ranked number one going into the finals.”
Indian Land will be represented by three Upper State champions. Dalen Byerley (120), Devin Cutsinger (145), and Eric Komorous (182) are all ranked No. 1.
George Morris (152) finished second last weekend, while Davis Ovecka (170) and Will Van Hoose (195) were fourth in the Upper State finals.