A little rewinding is in order as far as the individuals' high school wrestling state tournament is set up this year.
In past seasons, each of the state's eight Class AAAA regions held tournaments, with the top four wrestlers in each of the 14 weight divisions advancing to the Upper State.
The top four there made it to the state tournament, which is still the same. This year, schools were told they could have region tournaments if they wished to do so, but the results would have no bearing on which wrestlers advanced to the Upper State. Instead, every team in each region will be allowed to compete on Feb. 15 and 16 at Hillcrest High School.
Region 3-AAAA elected to have its tournament, held Saturday at Fort Mill High School. The winners in each weight class were named region champions for the year, but not all of the top wrestlers competed.
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Fort Mill voted as a team to sit out, and Yellow Jackets coach Chris Brock said several other coaches decided to hold a few kids out. Three of Brock's backups asked to wrestle and were added to the bout sheets.
"Every team was selective in which wrestlers were submitted,'' Brock said. "Our guys, and I told them how I felt, decided to put all of our efforts into Monday's duals match.
"We have a bunch of kids who felt they should concentrate on being successful Monday. I don't agree that our region tournaments have been made less important, but we've lost three kids this year, and we need all of them in our next match.''
Fort Mill, Region 3-AAAA's team champion, travels to No. 1 Hillcrest in the third round of the state duals on Monday.
With the region tournaments not being a factor on the Upper State and Lower State tournaments, a new seeding process has been put in place.
• Wrestlers will be seeded by overall records, with returning state championships and if a wrestler placed last year taken into consideration.
• In case of similar records percentage-wise, head-to-head matches during the season.
• If a tie still exists, other tiebreakers are in place.
But try and tell those who did compete Saturday that the region tournament is losing its importance. Every wrestler had one goal -- becoming a region champion.
On a vote by the coaches, Clover's Zack Neubert, the 160-pound champ, and Northwestern's Jared Williams, the champ at 125 pounds, were chosen Co-Region 3-AAAA wrestlers of the year. Brock was named coach of the year.
"That's what we are here for,'' Neubert said. "It was a very special day for me because not only did I win a championship, so did my brother, Avery, a freshman.''
Avery Neubert was involved in one of the most exciting matches of the day, beating Rock Hill's Reggie Jeffcoat 3-1 in overtime at 140 pounds. The match ended 1-1 in regulation, forcing a one-minute overtime. Neubert appeared to score a takedown, but it was ruled he was out of bounds. He took Jeffcoat down again, this time in bounds, and picked up the winning two points.
"I couldn't get tired and had to suck it up,'' Avery Neubert said. "My brother told me before we started today to look at each match like it's all or nothing because I'm just a freshman. He said to do it, that I had nothing to lose.''
Rock Hill, the region's second-place team, led the way with six titles. South Pointe finished with four. Clover had three and the other went to Northwestern's Williams.
Josh Tuck, Rock Hill's 152, slipped past York's Ryan Montgomery for his title.
"I haven't won a tournament all year, and it was getting in my head,'' Tuck said. "I needed this because it gives me confidence. Things have been going well and I beat the state's No. 2 wrestler, Greenwood's Matt Carroll, earlier this week. I should move up.''
Rock Hill travels to Lexington on Monday night for a third-round match in the state duals. If Fort Mill and Rock Hill win, they wrestle each other for the Upper State title Wednesday at Fort Mill.
South Pointe's Jake Mitchell, the defending state champion at 112 pounds, picked up the Stallions' first win in the second match of the championship round.
Starting with Jeff Sturgis at 189, South Pointe won the last three matches. Donnie Grase won at 215 and Ra'mone Truesdale at heavyweight.