The Cain Beard era at Rock Hill High School is off to a good start.
His Bearcats' wrestling team is 21-1, but on Saturday the first-year coach got an idea of how his team really stacks up against outside competition. Greenville's Eastside easily won the 26th version of the Bearcat Invitational, rolling to 260 points.
That part was pretty much a given considering the Eagles are the four-time defending champions in Class AAA and Jack Kosmicki has reloaded and has them in position to make another run at the title.
And even though Rock Hill was second, far behind with 195 points, the end result sat well with Beard, whose team was in a battle for the second spot with rival Fort Mill.
Going into the final four matches, Rock Hill led the Yellow Jackets by just 7.5 points. Fort Mill needed three pins and a Rock Hill loss to edge out the Bearcats. The verdict was decided in the 171-pound weight class, where Mike Medema dropped a 9-4 decision to Eastside's Weston Newton for the championship.
Fort Mill's Max Simons won fifth place at 189 and Cody Cunningham was fourth at 215 after being pinned by Marion's Zeb Rhodes.
Rock Hill's lone wrestler in the final four matches, Jody Helms, pinned South Pointe's Donnie Grase and won the 215-pound division.
"You never know how it will go once you get to the final rounds,'' Beard said. "It comes down to teams, individuals and head to head. We split two of those with Fort Mill.
"Fort Mill has a fine team. Both of us were missing some wrestlers. I hope everybody for both teams is back when we wrestle our region match. It will be well worth watching.''
Eastside walked away with four championships and became only the second team besides Rock Hill to win the event at least four times. Rock Hill has 18 titles.
"Anytime you win the Bearcat, it's a big deal,'' Kosmicki said. "Our guys wrestled well, but I wouldn't go as far as saying we can win the state title again.
"We'll find out where were are in a couple of weeks when we go to the Final Four tournament in Eastern Pennsylvania. Also coming are the No. 1, No. 8, No. 16 and No. 28 teams in the nation.''
Three other Herald-area wrestlers won titles -- Rock Hill's Weston Beck at 103; South Pointe's Jake Mitchell at 112 and Northwestern's Jared Williams at 130.
Williams wrestled up a weight class and said he's trying to decide whether to stay there or move back down to 125. He injured his shoulder in the championship, a 7-1 decision over Shelby, N.C.,'s Antwan Brown, who was 23-0 heading into the match.
"It fine now, just strained it a little,'' said Williams, who pushed his record to 23-1. "I knew he was a good wrestler and that he hadn't lost. I wanted to give him his first loss of the year.''
For Mitchell, Class AAAA's state champ at 112 last year as a freshman, it was a slightly different story. Mitchell missed Thursday night's home match against Clover with strep throat. He got out of bed to wrestle Friday's first rounds and had enough strength to carry on Saturday.
Mitchell won by pinning Northwestern's Chris Nguyen in the second round.
"I'm feeling fine now, and I'm well,'' Mitchell said. "The doctor gave me a shot, and I felt a lot better on Friday. When I show up, I come to wrestle as hard as I can and win.''
Rock Hill's "Battling Beck Brothers'' weren't able to pull of another hat trick as they did last weekend at Byrnes with their three championships. Weston was the only champ at 103; Seth, Weston's twin, was third at 112 and Chad was second at 135.
"I felt I had to get our team going with a championship,'' said Weston Beck, who pinned Marion, Va.,'s Michael Younts in the third round. "I'm only a freshman, but I'm trying to follow in the footsteps of my older brother, Travis, who was a state champion here, and Chad.
"I just wish all three of us could have won championships today. We tried hard to do it.''
Eastside's Eddie Coles (39-1) was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler by the coaches for weight classes 103-145. Coles won the title with a 7-0 decision in the 119 class over Fort Mill's John Green.
Byrnes' Jon Todd was picked Most Outstanding Wrestler for weight classes 152-Hwt. He pinned Eastside's David Dawkins in the 189 championship match.
1. Eastside (ES) 260; 2. Rock Hill (RH) 195; 3. Fort Mill (FM) 185.5; 4. Concord (CN) 148; 5. South Pointe (SP) 135; 6. Northwestern (N) 122; 7. Shelby, N.C. (SH) 116; 8. White Knoll (WK) 110; 9. Marion, Va. (M) 93; 10. Byrnes (BY) 81; 11. Brookland-Cayce (BC) 77; 12. Liberty (LB) 69; 13. Lugoff-Elgin (LE) 68; 14. Spartanburg (SP) 58; 15. Indian Land (IL) 55.5; 16. Lancaster (LN) 51; 17. Nation Ford (NF); 18. Darlington (DR) 14.
103 -- Weston Beck (RH) pin Michael Younts (M), 3rd. 112 -- Jake Mitchell (SP) pin Chris Nguyen (N), 2nd. 119 -- Eddie Coles (ES) dec. John Green (FM), 7-0. 125 -- Erik Fowlie (CN) dec. Shane Lee (WK), 7-6. 130 -- Jared Williams (N) dec. Antwan Brown (SH), 7-1 135 -- Chris Teague (ES) dec. Chad Beck (RH), 7-6. 140 -- Dallas Phillips (BC) dec. Reggie Jeffcoat (RH) 2-1. 145 -- C. Matheney (SH) dec. Austen Poynter (ES) 12-10. 152 -- Bryce Martin (ES) m. dec. Josh Tuck (RH), 10-0. 160 -- Mike Poppitti (CN) by forfeit Corbin Martin (ES). 171 -- Weston Newton (ES) dec. Mike Medema (FM), 9-4. 189 -- Jon Todd (BY) pin David Dawkins (ES) 2nd. 215 -- Jody Helms (RH) dec. Donnie Grase (SP), 6-4. Hwt. -- Aaron Counts (LE) dec. Casey Truesdale (LN), 8-4.
CONSOLATION (3RD PLACE)
103 -- Germain Truesdale (FM) dec. Justin Harwell (BC), 6-5. 112 -- Seth Beck (RH) dec. David Gegenheimer (LB), 5-0. 119 -- Jase Shoe (CN) pin Michael Mitchell (N), 3rd. 125 -- Will Baker (ES) dec. James Brotemarkle (FM) 4-2. 130 -- Robbie Day (WK) pin Gary Jurado (CN), 3 OTs. 135 -- Billy George (N) dec. Cody Melton (N), 7-5. 140 -- Thomas Harris (IL) dec. Matt Golob (ES), 4-2. 145 -- Chase Ballard (RH) dec. Thomas Mockridge (FM), 6-4. 152 -- Ryan Branham (BC) m. dec. Randy Edwards (SP), 14-1. 160 -- Thomas Speers (WK) dec. Harrison Pressley (SP), 5-2. 171 -- R. Taylor (SH) pin Jeremy Finger (CN), 2nd. 189 -- Chad Porter (BC) dec. Brandon Proveaux (WK), 3-2. 215 -- Zeb Rhodes (M) pin Cody Cunningham (FM), 3rd. Hwt. -- Ramone Truesdale (SP) m. dec. Justin Fantazier (M), 10-1.
103 -- Avery Merrifield (LB) m. dec. Sean Hira (SP), 11-3. 112 -- David Perkins (ES) pin Jimmy Gillum (BY), 1st. 119 -- Cole Brock (RH) dec. John Mohr (BY), 5-1. 125 -- Cody Parks (N) dec. Blake Tillman (LE), 7-3. 130 -- Andrew Jenkins (ES) dec. John Etell (FM), 6-2, 2 OTs. 135 -- Justin Scoggins (SP) dec. F. Soto (SH), 6-5. 140 -- H. Whisnant (SN) dec. Jonathan Miskelly (FM), 7-5. 145 -- Colt Gilliam (SP pin Dustin Branham (LE), 3rd. 152 -- John Murdock (SP) pin Demetrius Davis (WK), 3rd. 160 -- Mac Wells (FM) m. dec. D. Littlejohn (SH), 14-3. 171 -- Nick Groseclose (M) dec. Joseph Taylor (LB), 7-4. 189 -- Max Simons (FM) dec. Jeff Sturgis (SP), 6-2, 8-4. 215 -- A. Hamrick (SH) by forfeit Tyler Quilia (IL). Hwt. -- Bobby Jones (ES) dec. Dylan Bishop (BY), 4-3.