Chapin knew what it was up against in the Class 4A state wrestling championship against Eastside.
The Eagles would have to put together their best match of the season to have a chance to knock off the defending state champions. That didn’t happen as Eastside used the strength of eight pins to earn the school’s 12th state wrestling title with a 59-11 victory Saturday at Dreher High.
“I told these guys at the beginning of the year they could wrestle for the state championship,” Chapin coach Ken Wilson said. “But coming here today, we knew we almost had to wrestle perfectly. I said this before and I still believe it, Eastside is the best team in the state regardless of classification.”
Chapin (20-5) fell behind 9-0 after Eastside recorded a decision and pin in the 126 and 132-pound weight classes. Taylor Cabe got the Eagles on the board with a technical fall over Chance Pride in the 138-pound class before Eastside took control.
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Eastside (38-11) got consecutive pins from Alex Brown and Caleb Carillo to push the lead to 21-5. Top-ranked Ian Rodgers won a 20-12 major decision at 160 before Jack Beehler and David Maholtz recorded two more pins to give Eastside a 37-5.
“We had to win some of those matches and we were getting pinned. That’s hard to overcome,” Wilson said.
Cole Haile kept Chapin alive with a 12-8 win at 195 before Eastside’s Deshawn Sullivan scored a 13-3 major decision over Nick Edenfield at 220 to clinch the match.
“It never gets old,” Eastside coach Jack Kosmicki said. “Each year is a new group, so it’s special each time. It’s always the first and only state championship for that particular team. We wrestled well today, but it wasn’t our best effort of the playoffs. Every mistake we made was a small one that we recovered from.”
Hank Manos remained undefeated for Chapin with a 7-2 victory in the 285-pound class. The junior knew it wasn’t the Eagles’ best day, but that doesn’t take away from what they accomplished.
“We can still take away that we’re the Lower State champions,” Manos said. “We battled odds all year. We practice harder than any team in this state, but unfortunately today our performance wasn’t good enough.”
Cabe, Haile and Manos had the three wins for Chapin. Those three will have a chance at individual state titles in the coming weeks.
“Those guys have been leaders all year, and they went out and showed why,” Wilson said. “Even though we didn’t wrestle well as a team, it was nice to see them do well.”
Eastside didn’t suffer a loss by pin during the entire playoffs. Having a team with several underclassmen, they could be a force over the next few years.
“We had a goal of not getting pinned during the playoffs,” Kosmicki said. “That’s very difficult. You do that and your odds of winning increase dramatically. That’s special.”
106: Tucker Allen (EA) p. Justin West; 113: Jordan White (EA) p. Alex Stubbs; 120: Ben Maholtz (EA) p. Dylan Whitcomb; 126: Cruise Baker (EA) d. Mitch O'Connor 5-0; 132: Ryan Augustine (EA) p, Jack Norris; 138: Taylor Cabe (CH) tech fall Chance Pride 16-1; 145: Alex Brown (EA) p. Cole Hodges; 152: Caleb Carillo (EA) p. Kyle Nichols;160: Ian Rodgers (EA) maj dec. Shawn Haile 20-12; 170: Jack Beehler (EA) p. Hunter Dixon; 182: David Maholtz (EA) p. Jake Watson; 195: Cole Haile (CH) d. Chase Barnes 12-8; 220: Deshawn Sullivan (EA) maj dec Nick Edenfield 13-3; 285: Hank Manos (CH) d. Eduardo Esparza 7-2.