Championship quests by Chapin senior stars Stuart Hope and Nate Polly figures to be the dominant Midland storyline at the Class 3A state wrestling tournament this weekend at Civic Center of Anderson.
Hope and Polly are looking to lead a potent Chapin bonanza at the season finale. The Eagles have eight qualifiers and should make a serious run at first place in the team standings.
Hope, who sports a 47-1 record, is ranked No. 1 at 119 points by scmat.com. He is looking to become only the third three-time state champion is school history, joining Jason Hazard (1995-97) and Jeremy Mosley (1997-98, 2000) at the top of the program pyramid.
Polly, 48-3 at ranked No. 1 at 135, is looking to close out an outstanding career with a fourth consecutive state place finish and a second straight title. Polly picked up a gold medal at 130 pounds last season.
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The rest of the Chapin contingent includes juniors Chase Owens (45-4 at 140, Cody Brundage (30-7 at 145), Scott Swindell (41-7 at 152), Devin Lawrence (32-9 at 171), Brandon Owens (26-10 at 215) and heavyweight Adam Taylor.
Chase Owens, Brundage and Swindell were fourth-place finishers at state last year.
Improving Dreher will have six wrestlers on hand – sophomore Derrick Frazier (43-7 at 112), Sheldon Melvin - Dreher (25-6 at 125), freshman William Bloch (44-7 at 130), sophomore Chris Bloch (39-15 at 135) and Chris Green (34-12 at 215).
Lower Richland’s Ediberto Vergara (119), Brookland Cayce’s Travis Roberts and Airport’s Antoine Kelly (28-5 at 171) round out the list of area qualifiers.