The Rock Hill Bearcats are rolling into the state playoffs this week after they crowned five champions at the Region 3 wrestling tournament Saturday.
On top of having region champs, they also qualified their entire team for the Upper State tournament Feb. 20-21 at Laurens.
“Having five region champs coming out of the tournament is good,” said Bearcats coach Cain Beard, who was voted Region 3 coach of the year at the tournament. “It puts them in the top four in seeding for the tournament.”
Winning region titles for the Bearcats was Logan Sexton (113), Babe Rigby (145), Juan Watkins (170), Stephen Chesney (195) and Josh English (220).
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Following Rock Hill with the most qualifications was York, which qualified 11 wrestlers and sent seven to the finals, but failed to have any win a region title.
“I feel pretty good about who we wrestled,” said York coach Todd Hershberger. “We got a few guys that can qualify (for state). But we need to fix a few things.”
Fort Mill had a successful tournament bringing 11 wrestlers and qualifying nine for the Upper State tournament, as well as crowing four region champions. Winning for Fort Mill was John Brotemarkle (106), AJ Leitten (126), Jake Strong (132) and Jack Debbout (152).
Jackets coach Chris Brock said he feels like all nine who he is taking to Laurens can do well.
“They can all qualify (for state),” he said. “They are all capable. For some of them, it will be harder than others. We usually have a good region tournament.”
Clover had three region champions in Jharee Kerns (138), Evan Johnson (160) and Zach Conrad (HWT) and qualified seven for Upper State. Conrad was voted Region 3 wrestler of the year at the tournament.
Both Northwestern and Gaffney each had a region winner. For the Trojans it was Kobe Tate at 182 pounds and for Gaffney it was Zach Clary at 120-pounds.
Northwestern, Gaffney and Nation Ford all qualified five wrestlers for the Upper State tournament.
The Trojans had just Tate in the finals, while Nation Ford had two in the finals in Dalen Byerley (132) and Jakob Gravley (152), both of which lost to Fort Mill wrestlers.
Nation Ford coach Leon Boulware said that he is confident in the five wrestlers he is taking to Laurens.
“The five we are taking can compete very well,” he said. “Overall, we found out how young we were this year.”