Mid-Carolina senior B.J. Gibbs and Gilbert freshman Madison Leitner made history at the Class 2A state wrestling tournament last weekend in Anderson.
Both wrestlers became their respective programs’ first state champions.
Gibbs, a two-time state runner-up, finally struck gold, going 3-0 at 285 pounds to finish his senior season with a 28-1 record. The march to glory top began with a 7-1 win over Edisto’s Robbie Fisk followed by a semifinal pin of Abbeville’s John Mudd. Gibbs nipped Kendrick Butler of Loris 5-3 in the title bout.
Gibbs finished second at 285 last season and was the 215 runner-up in the program’s inaugural season in 2009.
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Leitner, who entered state as the No. 5 overall seed, was dominant on the way to program’s first state gold strike. The Indians rookie pinned his way to the top – disposing of Academic Magnet’s John McDermett in 5:28, of Devin needs of Chesnee in 3:48 and of Alex Adams of Palmetto in 5:39 in the title bout.
Leitner finished with a 21-5 record.
Columbia, which experienced the joy of having a state championship for the first time last year, added a bit more in 2011. The Capitals produced another state champion and advanced two reps to the state finals for the first time.
Mikel Nelson capped a 28-3 sophomore campaign with a 3-0 run to the 119-pound championship. Nelson qualified but did not place a year ago. This time, he nipped Chesterfield’s Jared Maltby 3-1, Palmetto’s Brady Whiteside 4-2 and Brody Bertolini 4-3 on the way to the top.
Nate Harper joined Nelson in the finals, but was pinned in overtime by Player Long of Bamberg-Ehrhardt in the 140 finale.
Columbia also cracked the Top 10 in the unofficial team standings – finishing in ninth place with 39 points.
Randy Medina (1-2 at 125) and Anthony Thompson (1-2 at 145) also help the Capitals team score cause.
Eau Claire senior Alex Capell went 1-2 at 215 pounds.