Wrestling has always been a physical, violent sport. It has always been associated with blood, sweat and tears. And it has always been predominantly perceived as a male sport.
Enter Socastee Junior Quin Gammon.
As is normally the case, talent is passed in the genes.
“My dad wrestled in high school,” said Gammon, who earned a pivotal victory in the Socastee wrestling team’s 40-36 victory over Hilton Head on Saturday in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs. “Wrestling has always been his favorite sport, so when he saw the opportunity for me and my brother to wrestle, we decided to try it out, and I’ve been wrestling ever since.”
She filled some big shoes Saturday.
Wrestling in place of Mikel Nelson – ranked No. 1 at 120 pounds by scmat.com – Gammon pinned the Seahawks’ Chance Bentzoni in 5:36, forcing the match in the Braves’ favor.
Now, the Braves, who had a first-round bye as the first two rounds were staged Saturday, move on to the third stage of the postseason.
“I had no idea [I would be wrestling today],” Gammon said. “I didn’t know until Coach [Jeff] Gibbins looked at me and said ‘You’re in,’ seconds before my match. I was getting warmed up just in case he needed me, and he called my name.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match, so I just kept my head in it,” Gammon added. “I was ready for him to shoot, I stayed ready on my feet, and I think that’s what helped me out. When I was down, I kept moving my hips, trying to force him into a bad position.”
Without perhaps their top wrestlers, the Braves found unity in rooting for one of their reserves.
“We’re more of a team whenever she’s on the mat because everybody wants to see her win,” Gibbins said. “It’s definitely an interesting dynamic, and it’s been a pleasure to coach her.”
Being the only female wrestler on the squad, Quin has learned to adapt and to be successful on the mat, posting an above-.500 record this season.
“The only disadvantage [in wrestling] is that the competition is [sometimes] stronger than me,” Gammon said, “so it’s made me more of a technical wrestler. I have to have perfect technique in order for my moves to work. It’s definitely made me work harder.”
Hard work has been the Braves’ ethos, but humility has been the attitude.
“To me, it’s kind of encouraging that, today we were filling out some stuff for some colleges, and one of my marquee wrestlers at 120 pounds (Nelson) doesn’t even know his own record,” Gibbins said. “He’s just in it for the team and everybody else. I decided to ask around, to find out if anybody else knew their individual records and there wasn’t really anybody certain what that number was.”
The only number the Braves are concerned with is team victories and, so far, they are 1-0 in the postseason. And Socastee will be home again Monday when it hosts a third-round match.
“They wrestled really well. They wrestled strong,” Gibbins said. “We’ve been preparing for this for the last couple of days; it was tough getting ready for it after our individual tournament on Wednesday, but the momentum of five region champs carried through to our team duals today.”
Not to mention a boost from a reserve who was more than ready when her named was called.
“I’m not quite sure [what my record is]. I’m not in the starting lineup, so they kind of just throw me in whenever they need me,” Gammon said.
And did they ever Saturday.• 106: Justin Knipper, SOCA, forf. 113: Jordan Hodge, SOCA, pinned Matt Levy, HIHE, 5:26. 120: Quin Gammon, SOCA, pinned Chance Bentzoni, HIHE, 5:37. 126: Mikel Nelson, SOCA, maj. dec. Brock Massey, HIHE, 11-3. 132: Koy Mai, SOCA, dec. Mark Entrup, HIHE, 3-0. 138: Label Lewis, HIHE, pinned Cameron Amann, SOCA, 2:31. 145: John Leggett, SOCA, dec. Hunter Massey, HIHE, 5-1. 152: Trevon Rawls, HIHE, forf. 160: Tommy Lazaroff, SOCA, pinned Aaron Facenda, HIHE, 2:31. 170: Martin Duane, HIHE, forf. 182: Zane Braden, HIHE, forf. 195: John Graham, HIHE, forf. 220: Kyle Burton, SOCA, pinned Dorsey Bradford, HIHE, 1:47. 285: Romario Lopez, HIHE, pinned Tevin Ferreiras, SOCA, 1:27.