The River Bluff wrestling team clinched its first trip to the state championship in dramatic fashion.
Samuel Emery recorded a first-period pin to lift the fourth-year program to the state finals. After a one-point team deduction for unsportsmanlike conduct after the match, River Bluff finished with a 26-25 victory over Ashley Ridge on Wednesday in the Class 5A Lower State championship.
The Gators will face powerhouse Rock Hill for the championship on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Dreher High School. Rock Hill is going for its 18th state championship.
“Unbelievable wrestling match tonight,” River Bluff coach Evan Moxie said. “Ashley Ridge was incredible. Those guys are very good, very tough. It was exactly what I thought it would be. They were the defending Lower State champions and it took everything we had to beat that crowd.”
Robert Cameron earned a win for Ashley Ridge at 132 to give the Swamp Foxes a 7-6 lead but River Bluff picked up a technical fall at 138, a majority decision at 145 and wins at 152 and 160 to open a 21-7 lead. Those extra team points proved pivotal at the end.
Class 2A Cheraw edges North Central
North Central’s bid for its first state championship appearance came up short with a loss to Cheraw in the Class 2A Upper State championship.
Cheraw will wrestle for the state title at 11 a.m.
The (Charleston) Post and Courier contributed to this report.