The Rock Hill Bearcats won the annual Bearcat Invitational Wrestling Tournament which unfolded over the weekend at Rock Hill High School.
The Bearcats finished with a team total of 214.5 points. Lake Norman (N.C.) finished second with a team score of 181.50. Lugoff-Elgin (158.5), the Indian Land Warriors (150), and the Northwestern Trojans (139) completed the top five in the field of 28 teams.
Clover’s Blue Eagles were ninth with 117.5 points, while the Chester Cyclones placed 13th with 96 points. The York Cougars scored 92.5 points and placed 15th, while South Pointe’s Stallions (85.5) placed 16th. The Nation Ford Falcons (28.5) finished 22nd.
Northwestern and Lake Norman had the most first place finishes with two each, but Rock Hill, which had only one first place finish, led the way with seven finishes in the top three of their respective weight classes. Northwestern and Lake Norman both had four wrestlers place in the top three.
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“This was an individual tournament, and I was pleased with the way we wrestled this weekend,” said Rock Hill coach Cain Beard. “We are a relatively young team. We are improving and beginning to get some confidence.”
The veteran coach also feels like the tournament capped off a very successful early part of the season.
“We have had a good season thus far, and we did well during the holiday break,” Beard said. “Hopefully, this will get us ready for the regular season in the region. That is going to be very challenging.”
The Bearcats’ only wrestler to win first place was Bailey Wilkins. He claimed the top spot in the 126-pound weight class. Wilkins defeated Luke Brown of Clover 3-0 in the championship match. The win boosted the sophomore’s record on the year to 45-3.
Northwestern led the way among local teams with two individual titles, while Indian Land, Clover, and York each claimed one championship.
Northwestern’s Mison Mickle won in the 160-pound division. He defeated Bryan Zeledon of Weddington (N.C.) by a score of 7-5. That improved his record to 4-10.
The Trojans’ Derrick Covington took home the top prize at 145 pounds after he scored a 5-2 win over South Pointe’s Morgan Belk. That kept his record perfect at 27-0.
Indian Land’s Kyle Daley won the 152-pound title. He scored a pin over Chauldry Evans of Chester. That victory upped his record to 27-4.
Clover’s Ryan Jones claimed the title at 138 with a 3-0 win over Xavier Deese of Indian Land. Jones improved to 25-7 with the win.
York’s Kaleem Heard claimed the championship in the 106-pound division. He defeated Chris Compton of Byrnes 15-6. That victory improved his record to 34-2.
Indian Land had one other runner-up – Austin Ross at 113.
Danny Love of Rock Hill finished second in the 120-pound division, while Luke Brown of Clover was second in the 126-pound division. South Pointe’s Morgan Belk was runner-up in the 145 pound classification. Chauldry Evans of Chester finished second at 152 and Christian Steele of Northwestern was runner-up in the 195-pound division.
Rock Hill’s key to winning the event was its five third-place finishes.
Justin Beck won the consolation round with a pin in the 113 pound class; Andrew Simpson claimed third place in the 132-classification; and Michael Ramirez won in the 138-pound class. Noah Reynolds claimed an injury default victory in the 160-pound division and Brandon Mills completed the third place winners for the Bearcats in the 182-pound weight group.
Northwestern’s Kadarius Davis finished third at 152 while Christopher Turner of Chester won the consolation round in the 285-pound weight group.
Four area wrestlers finished fourth in the two-day event. York had two, while Northwestern and Indian Land had one each.
Luke Rumfelt of York was fourth in the 113-pound group, and teammate Tanner Culbertson was fourth at 120 pounds. Gavin Mahony of Northwestern finished fourth in the 182-pound division, while Indian Land’s Alfred Cortex was fourth at 195.