FORT MILL -- Rock Hill wrestler Seth Beck is just a freshman, but after the Bearcats' 36-30 win over Fort Mill on Wednesday, he was a hero in the eyes of his teammates.
Beck scored an 11-0 major decision over Fort Mill's Colby Hice at 112 pounds, assuring the Bearcats of a trip to the Class AAAA state championship at 6 p.m. Saturday at Ridge View High School.
Rock Hill will wrestle Summerville, a 25-22 winner over Fort Dorchester in Wednesday's Lower State championship.
Beck was leaning against the wall in Fort Mill's gym after his victory, breathing hard and sweating, rewards for his victory. He was fine with that after he clinched the Upper State championship.
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"I had to win it, man,'' said Beck, who has two brothers in the Bearcats' starting lineup. "This is the best feeling in the world ... going to the state championship.
"Before I went out to wrestle, my brother Chad grabbed me. He said, 'Seth, we've got this if you win. You win. You've got to win.' It got me fired up.''
Going into the match, two others were left. To win, Rock Hill had to get any kind of points it could. Fort Mill trailed 32-18 and could win with a three-point decision and a pair of pins.
Beck made sure it wouldn't end that way, getting four points for his major decision. Up 36-18, Bearcats coach Cain Beard forfeited the final two matches, giving the Yellow Jackets their last 12 points.
Rock Hill (29-2) will be making its first trip to the championship since 2005. The Bearcats stopped Fort Mill (20-4) from getting to the title match for the third time since 2004.
"We have some guys hurt, but we don't make excuses,'' said Fort Mill coach Chris Brock, a former Bearcats wrestler and assistant coach under Jim Barnes. "One team came to wrestle and moved on. One team didn't. Rock Hill was the better team tonight by far.''
The match had several subplots. The Bearcats avenged a 32-26 loss to the Yellow Jackets that decided the Region 3-AAAA championship. And when the day unfolded, the state wrestling polls came out with Fort Mill at No. 1 after knocking off top-ranked Hillcrest in the third round.
Barnes was in the stands watching, along with South Pointe coach Eddie Cook, another former Bearcat wrestler, and Jerry Honeycutt, a former assistant coach at Rock Hill.
There were an estimated 1,000 fans who were loud, excited and saw an outstanding match.
"This was the best duals match I've ever been involved with,'' Beard said. "The difference was we won matches that we lost the last time wrestled.
"When Fort Mill got the pin at 189, we had to get something going. We got it from Jody Helms, Mark Watkins and Weston Beck.''
The entire match was intense, but the period Beard spoke of had the fans on their feet cheering every move on the mat. Some even threw a few barbs at the two referees.
It began at 171, where Fort Mill's Max Simons pinned Rock Hill's Corey Tretsky in the second round. Cody Cunningham followed with a first-round pin against Rock Hill's DeLeon Boulware and the Yellow Jackets went on top 18-14.
Enter Rock Hill's Helms, a senior built like a slab of granite. He wasted little time getting the lead back for Rock Hill, pinning Jordan Griffin in 30 seconds for a 20-18 win at 215 pounds.
In the heavyweight match, Watkins pinned Garrett Passatore. Then at the bottom of the order, Weston Beck stuck Germaine Truesdale to the mat for a 32-18 Bearcats lead.
Weston's win set up his twin brother, Seth, with a chance to end the match.
"They took the lead and we had to get something going,'' Helms said. "As a senior and one of our captains, I felt it had to be me. I got it started, but our other guys pitched in and really got it done.''