Columbia High will have the highest Midlands profile at the Class 2A traditional state tournament this weekend at Rock Hill.
But while the Capitals will have four men in the running for state championships, Mid-Carolina junior B.J. Gibbs has the best shot at earning a gold medal at the season finale.
Gibbs, who enters with a 34-0 record at 285 pounds, was a state runner-up last season at 215 in program’s inaugural varsity season. He enters state ranked No. 1 by scmat.com, fresh from a 3-0 performance on the way to the Upper State title at last weekend’s qualifier.
“He is hungry for the gold,” said M-C coach Kyle Cannon.
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Senior Trey Leonard leads Columbia’s record qualifying group at 171 pounds. The Capitals leader is looking for his second straight place finish at state. He finished fourth at the same weight a year ago. First-time qualifiers Mikael Nelson (112), Randy Medina (119) and Nate Harper (130) join Leonard at state.
Gilbert seniors Austin Amick (36-9 at 130) and Drew Neff (36-4 at 160) have one last shot at earning state place finishes. Amick is a three-time qualifier, but has yet to make the final four cut. Neff qualified last season at 152 but did not place. They are the only Indians qualifiers this season.
Senior Chris Settle is Pelion’s lone qualifier. Settle made the cut by taking runner-up honors at last weekend’s Lower State qualifying tournament at 171 pounds.