Second-ranked Lexington beat Beaufort 36-26 on Monday to advance to the Class 4A state wrestling semifinals for the fifth time since 2006.
The Wildcats (26-2) will play host to Summerville in the Lower State championship match on Wednesday.
“I’ve been generally happy with the way we’ve wrestled this season, but tonight we were a little flat,” Lexington coach Derek Strobel said. “It was good for us to be in a close, kind of frustrating, match like this because we came out of it with a win when we weren’t quite at our best. Hopefully, this will help us to refocus and get ready for Wednesday.”
Beaufort, which scored its first state wrestling playoff success on Saturday with two wins at Conway, jumped to a 20-9 lead with four wins in the first five bouts, including an upset win by Codrian Smalls over defending state champion Nate Meagher at 220.
But the two-time defending Lower State champion Wildcats surged to victory with a run of six straight wins beginning with a pin at 113 pounds by junior star Jackson Myers.
“We’ve come to depend on those guys in the lower (weights) through the middle to pull us through a lot of matches, and that was the case tonight,” Strobel said. “Give credit to Beaufort because they wrestled the exact match they had to wrestle in order to keep it close. Starting the match at 160 gave them the advantage because those upper weights are the strength of their lineup, and they took advantage.”
Beaufort’s bonus six points on Smalls’ pin gave the Eagles hope of pulling off a major upset.
“Nate just made a mistake and got caught,” Strobel said. “I’m glad it happened here because it didn’t really cost us. We’ve had guys pick up the slack like this all season.”
Myers, the defending state champ at 113, started the decisive Lexington surge by pinning William Spann for the second time in two meetings, this time in 3:41.
The fun continued with a major decision by Andy Szalwinski (11-1), regular decisions by Blake Risinger and Trev Comstock and a technical fall decision (18-2) by Brandon Shephard. The clinching points came at 145, where Walker Barfield was declared the winner by injury default.
Beaufort’s final points came when Lexington forfeited at 152 with the outcome assured.
Fourth-ranked Summerville defeated White Knoll 41-24 on Monday. The teams have not clashed in the playoffs since the Green Wave defeated the Wildcats in the 2006 state title match.