White Knoll passed its first major test of the season under first-year coach Kevin Emily last weekend, finishing 11th out of 27 teams at the elite Southern Slam tournament hosted by Class 3A powerhouse Eastside.
“I think we have a chance to be a pretty decent team this season with a mix of veterans and some good freshmen,” said Emily, who grew up in the wrestling hotbed state of Iowa.
“I thought we preformed pretty well (last week), and if we keep working as hard as we have been so far I see us continuing to get better as the season goes along.”
The Timberwolves standouts at the South Slam were senior vets Brandon Proveaux and Skylar Walker, sophomore Phillip Austin and freshman Chris Jeffries.
Proveaux, a two-time state qualifier, went 5-1 at 215 pounds on the way to a third place finish. He was tripped up in 5-4 semifinal loss, but storm back for two wins to claim consolation honors with a first-period pin in the third-place bout. Walker also advanced to the semifinals (at 130) only to lose a 5-4 decision. He ended up having to settle for fourth place, finishing with a tournament 4-2 record.
Proveaux had a 36-12 record last season, while Walker finished at 36-14.
Austin and Jeffries both rebounded from opening losses to finish in sixth place at their respective weights. Austin was 4-3 at 170, Jeffries 3-3 at 103.
The biggest surprise was a 2-2 showing by senior Shane Lee, who went 45-10 and finished third at 125 pounds at state last season. It was, Emily said, the first time Lee ever failed to place at a varsity tournament during his career.
All but one White Knoll entry had at least one win during the demanding, two-day event in Taylors. Junior Chad Lee went 3-2 at 140, freshman Kevin Epting went 3-2 at 119, while senior Jeff Spradley (189) and heavyweight Chris Sayers both finished 2-2.
The Timberwolves travel to North Myrtle Beach this weekend for the Outback Streakhouse tournament.