Cardinal Newman and Hammond have dominated SCISA wrestling since the sport debuted in 2005.
Hammond claimed the first four championships with Cardinal Newman in the runner-up position. Since 2009, the roles have reversed. The Cardinals beat the Skyhawks in the dual match playoff finale for the third year in a row in late January, and CN dominated the traditional state tournament – securing seven of the 14 individual weight class titles.
“We are only losing two seniors and have a solid core of talent coming back so I am really looking forward to next season,” said Cardinal coach Eric Goff, whose team finished with a 21-3 mark in duals competition.
“This year's junior class has been with us for a while and I am excited to see what they can do their senior season. I also have a group or younger guys that are really itching to get on the mat. We are going to do a little more regional competition next year, as well. We went to the clinch gear prep slam in Atlanta this year and saw a lot of competition from all over the country there. I think it was great for our guys and I would like to do a little more of that next year.”
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Cardinal Newman’s champions included junior Cole McCarter (27-6 record, 112 pounds), junior Joseph Womack (20-12, 125), Craig Clyburn (10-2, 130), sophomore Matthew Wilson (10-4, 140), Nick Palevich (24-4, 152), Kyle Maitland (22-6, 160) and junior Jake Wilson (CN 20-8, 171).
Eighth-grader Bernie Herbkersman (5-3, 103), sophomore Nathan Hayes (22-5, 125),junior Thomas Touma (20-10, 135), freshman Louis Williams (6-5, 145) and Pennington Nieri (20-8, 285) all finished in second place in their respective weight classes.
Juniors Taylor Patten (15-11, 189) and Billy Solomon (21-6, 215) came away with consolation titles and bronze medals.
McCarter finally struck gold after losing in the finals in 112 and 103 in his two previous state trips. Palevich, Maitland and Wilson, on the other hand won for the second year in a row.
Hayes, , Touma and Solomon weren’t so lucky, falling short this time after claiming titles a year ago.
Hammond produced four champions – eighth-grader Gantt Castles (103), junior Gervis Baker (125), senior Guy Castles and senior Joseph McDougall (215).
For Guy Castles and McDougall, the respective title runs capped successful careers. Guy Castles, who went 9-1 vs. SCISA competition this season, finished with four gold medals and one silver. McDougall, 8-0 vs. SCISA foes, bagged his three straight 215-pound title after earning a silver prize at 189 as a freshman.
Gantt Castles won at 103 for the second year in a row, and Baker is now 3-for-3 in title bouts since 2009.
Sophomores Matthew Kay (140) and Steven Mitchell (160), junior Joey DeAngelis (171) and freshman Calhoun McDougall (189) were Hammond’s state runner-ups.
The Skyhawks closed the season with a 14-6 dual match record, 8-2 in SCISA outings.
Other Midlands winners included Fripp Prioleau (135) and Harrison Pendarves (285) of Heathwood Hall and Uriah Stallinger (189) of Ben Lippen. Prioleau, a junior, became three-time champion and a four-time state place winner and was named the tournament MVP in the lower weights. Stillinger was named MOW for the upper weights. Pendarvis prevailed at heavyweight for the second year in a row after a second-place finish in 2009.
Ben Lippen’s haul also included silver medals by David Giles (119) and Sammy Joe White (215) and bronze awards by Brian Jackson-Patrick (112), Graham Temples (125), Levi Walters (135) and Corey Jackson-Patrick (152).