Coach Jeff Gibbins and the Socastee wrestling team set a goal at the beginning of the year that they wanted to control their own destiny going to Region VII-AAA duals.
It’s safe to say that the Braves are well on their way after a 39-35 win over Myrtle Beach on Friday night. The win gave Socastee at 3-0 region record.
“The last couple of years, we’ve been in position to win the region,” Socastee coach Jeff Gibbins said. “We’ve kind of screwed up here and there, missed weight and had injuries come our way. We’ve really depended on other teams to win or upset somebody for us to make the team duals.
“This year, our No.1 priority was to create our own destiny. The kids have really bought into that.”
With the match starting out as a forfeit win for the Braves, the Seahawks picked up a decision from Amir Oukada to cut their deficit in half at 6-3.
It was all Socastee over the next three matches.
Justin Knipper (106), Jordan Hodge (113) and Mikel Nelson (120) all picked up pins to push Socastee’s lead to 24-3.
The biggest of the pins was Hodge’s.
He was wrestling against Myrtle Beach’s Jonathan Iseman and the pair battled the entire first period. At the end of the period, Hodge held a 5-4 lead. In the second, Iseman had Hodge on his back and scored near-fall points. However, Iseman was too high and Hodge reversed him onto his back and turned it into the winning pin with 49 seconds left in the period.
“I just went in with a plan,” Hodge said. “I pretty much knew what he was going to do. I just wanted to stay away from what he wanted to do to me. He almost got me there for a second, but I worked my way out.”
The Seahawks fought back, though.
Diego Garcia got things rolling for Myrtle Beach with a pin at 126. After a Cameron Amann decision for Socastee, the Seahawks’ Alex Mauricro (138) had a pin, Daniel Miller followed with a technical fall and Joseph Desjardins won via pin. The rally brought Myrtle Beach to within a 27-26 deficit.
“We kind of felt like we needed to be up a little bit more at that point,” Seahawks coach Mike Jiorle said about the 152-pound match. “It was a little tough there at the end.”
Socastee rebounded as Tommy Lazaroff picked up a pin in 46 seconds at 160 to go back ahead by seven.
“It felt great,” Lazaroff said of the win. “He was giving me a lot of forward momentum, so I threw him and just stuck him there in the first period.”
Zach Mor finished off the wins for the Braves at 182 when he picked up an even quicker pin than Lazaroff’s. Mor got Jetlir Belegu down to the mat, where he finished off his opponent in just 22 seconds.
“The kids battled it out,” Gibbins said of his team’s win. “Its a game of fighting off your back and not getting pinned. We were able to do that tonight and we came out of here with a 4-point win.”
Myrtle Beach attempted to rally, but came up short. Following Lazaroff’s win, Zachery Seymour picked up a decision to keep the Seahawks within four, but in the end it wasn’t enough.
“As a team, I don’t think we wrestled our best today,” Jiorle said. “I got to go back and look at and as a coach … I got to do a better job of preparing them. Socastee wrestled a good match and they came ready to go.”