Rock Hill coach Cain Beard displayed his personal championship wrestling ring to his wrestlers, who immediately erupted into a huge roar following a convincing 60-9 playoff victory over Boiling Springs on Thursday.
The jewelry display served as even more motivation for the Bearcats, who remain on target for their state championship goal following the duals victory over the Bulldogs in the second round of the Class AAAA state duals tournament.
"The last two years, it came down to one week," Beard said in reference to the Bearcats finishing as state runner-up the previous two seasons. "I just wanted to show them that we are working for the ring."
Rock Hill, 23-2 overall, displayed its hunger for state championship gold on the mat by outmaneuvering a scrappy Boiling Springs squad.
J.T. Charette set the tone in the opening match with an impressive 15-0 majority decision over Zack Nelson at 130 pounds.
Richard Durham (135) and Chad Beck (140) continued the Bearcats' dominance with wins by majority decision and pinfall, respectively, for a 16-0 Rock Hill lead.
The biggest roar from the home crowd occurred in the 145-pound matchup, which featured Chase Ballard.
The Bearcats senior got a tough challenge from Bulldogs ace Chuck Fyte, but used a third-period reversal and escape in the closing seconds to preserve a 13-8 victory.
The match was briefly interrupted with an announcement that Ballard had reached a milestone with the 100th victory over his career.
"I knew that I was going to win; however, I did not even know about it," Ballard said in reacting to milestone.
Boiling Springs did get on the board as Patrick Yib outpointed Dominique Jenkins, 7-1, in the 152-pound contest.
The 160-pound match had the most drama as Rock Hill's Alan Hanson and Mike Clevenger went into overtime with a 5-5 deadlock. Nearly 15 seconds into the 1-minute extra session, Hanson scored a two-point takedown to secure the victory.
That could well serve as a microcosm of the overall matchup as Boiling Springs provided tough competition, even though the final score would indicate otherwise.
"When you get to this round of the playoffs, it is going to be very tough; in fact, as we get deeper and deeper into the playoffs, we can expect this because every team is good," Beard said.
"Boiling Springs came here to win; that is why we saw every match as competitive."
A Radd Robbin pin in the 215-pound match accounted for the only other Boiling Springs points. Otherwise, the Bearcats piled up points in the remaining seven contests.
Rock Hill, ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA, will now challenge Dorman, which defeated Fort Mill on Thursday.