Hammond got a couple of victories in the lighter weight classes Saturday, but with the exception of some forfeits, Cardinal Newman dominated the afternoon and claimed its fourth consecutive SCISA state championship.
Wrestling at the Cardinals’ home gym, Cardinal Newman scored victories in the 106-, 120-, 138-, 160-, 170- and 175-pound weight classes. John Maddock (106), Luke Petit (120), Aidan Hartel (138), Buckee O’Malley (160), Andrew Morrison (170), and Delson Coward (175) recorded pins.
“This one was really good for us,” Cardinal Newman coach Bryan Bush said. “We had a lot of new guys this year who stepped up really big time for us. I couldn’t ask more from the kids.”
Earlier in the day, Cardinal Newman beat Ben Lippen 72-6 to move to the state title match.
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“The two matches they’ve wrestled today were some of the best they’ve ever performed,” Bush said. “To see the progression from where they started to where they are now, it’s huge. This is the best group of kids, fantastic kids.”
Hammond’s Mark Brown defeated Maddock at 112, and Logan Sheppard pinned Luke Appleton in the 126 match, which helped to give the Skyhawks a 10-6 edge.
The Skyhawks succumbed to a forfeit at 132. With Hartel’s pin of Zavier Harrison, Cardinal Newman held an 18-10 advantage.
O’Malley’s pin of Cooper Holbrook in the 160 match gave the Cardinals a 30-16 lead. With that match, and with Hammond forfeits at 182 and 220, Cardinal Newman essentially sealed a victory.
O’Malley who typically wrestles at 152, was asked to take the 160 match. The four-year wrestler jumped at the chance.
“We wrestled Hammond last week, and won and got really good momentum,” O’Malley said. “We won 160 last week, and I knew in my head that we were going to win it this week. That was our break last week, too. When we won at 160, there was no stopping us.”
Hammond’s Jameson Phillips pinned Emmanuel Cunningham at 145, which was the only other victory for Hammond, besides a Cardinal Newman forfeit in the heavyweight class.
“We knew we needed some matches to flip for us from the regular season,” Hammond coach Austin Hood said. “We’re real young and a couple of things went our way, but they’re a tough team from top to bottom. They wrestled their ‘A’ game and we knew it was going to be tough to make up those 15 or 20 points they had on us.”
Seeing his team step up to fill weight class gaps encouraged Bush.
“We can’t fill every weight class,” Bush said. “We’ve got some smaller kids who are similar, so we can bump them around. That’s what we mean when we ask for them to step up for us, and take some chances. They stepped up big for us today.”
Earlier in the day, Heathwood Hall claimed third place in the state with a 54-6 win over Orangeburg Prep.