Louis Wilson and the Columbia Capitals headlined the Midlands story lines at the season-ending wrestling state tournament this past weekend in Anderson.
Wilson capped a 140-win career by defeating Kaleb Taylor of Chesnee for the Class 2A 160-pound championship. It was the first gold medal for Wilson, who had runner-up honors in his sophomore and junior seasons.
“Louis had the first takedown and was pretty much in control all the way,” Columbia coach Joe Lovier said. “He finally achieved the goal he’s had since he started with us as a seventh-grader.”
The only thing Wilson failed to do was finish with an undefeated senior season. An injury default loss to Taylor in the Upper State 160 title match was the only blemish is 43 outings.
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“Louis was ahead 4-1 with about a minute and a half to go when he twisted his knee,” said Lovier. “That scared him because he’s never been injured. If it was at state, he would have wrestled through it, but I didn’t want to take any chances, so we ended it there.”
Wilson’s long-awaited rise to glory was just part of the Capitals story.
Senior Kimone Shaw capped a 47-2 season with a 12-7 decision over Daquan Smith of Aynor, who was ranked No. 1 at 170 pounds by scmat.com. Smith had the first takedown, but Shaw took the lead with a five-point move – a reversal with back points – late in the first quarter.
Also, Columbia senior Khalil Collins (39-8) was a surprise second-place finisher at 106, and junior Cory Brown (38-7) was the consolation champ (third place) at heavyweight.
Columbia set program records with two state champions, three state finalists and four state place winners, all of which led to a third-place finish in the Class 2A team standings.
Other Midlands performances of note:
• Newberry senior Davon Powell claimed 113 honors in 2A for his third consecutive gold medal. His previous two titles came at 106. He is the 27th wrestler from a Midlands school to win at least three state championships.
• Dutch Fork senior Aaron Burton rang up his Midlands-high 58th win (in 59 outings) in the Class 4A 106-pound championship match against Josh Aquino of Dorman. Teammate Parker Grizzle (54-10) placed third at 145 for his fourth consecutive place finish.
• Rian Burris of White Knoll emerged as a state champion at 138 pounds in 4A.
• Returning champions Austin Palmer of White Knoll (152) and Evan Carrigan of Westwood (126) were silver medallists.
• Michael Manning of Lexington (182), Javier Moreno of Richland Northeast (126), Chris Wadsworth of Newberry (220) and Colt Bedenbaugh of Pelion (285) were state runners-up in their respective weights.