The Grand Strand will be well represented at next weekend’s state wrestling individual tournament at the Anderson Civic Center.
Thirty wrestlers will have a chance of fulfilling their dreams of winning a state wrestling championship. Of those 30, 10 won Lower State championships on Saturday.
Myrtle Beach had the most champions with three, while Aynor and Socastee each had two. Waccamaw, Loris and North Myrtle Beach all had one.
“We are real happy with the tournament,” Seahawks coach Mike Jiorle said.
Daniel Miller (145), Joseph Desjardins (152) and Amir Oukada (285) all brought titles back to Myrtle Beach. Miller and Desjardins, who is now 37-0, were the top seeds in their class but Oukada surprised his class at the No. 6 seed.
“It means a lot,” Jiorle said of his champions and Oukada. “Amir has come a long way from his freshman year. He just keeps improving.”
The Seahawks had two others advance: Nick Silvestri (132, second) and Jonathan Iseman (113, third). Silvestri was the No. 6 and pinned his way to the semifinals. He then won a 5-4 decision to make it to the championship.
“Nick wrestled a real nice tournament,” Jiorle said. “He did everything he had to do to make it to the finals. He just ran into a real good kid there in the finals.”
Mikel Nelson and Kyle Burton won the 120-pound and 220-pound weight classes for the Braves. Joining Nelson and Burton in the state finals will be Justin Knipper (106, second), Cameron Amann (132, fourth), Tommy Lazaroff (160, third) and Zac Mor (182, second).
“Its exciting to advance to the state finals as individuals,” Socastee coach Jeff Gibbins said. “We’re fired up. We say congratulations to our champions, and to our third and fourth placers, we say it was a good qualifying tournament.”
Burton’s win was an exhausting one as it took three overtimes until he was crowned. There were no points scored in the first period. In the second and third, Burton and Hanahan’s Jacob Garibay each scored an escape point. The pattern continued, with Burton and Garibay each nabbing an escape point in the first and second overtimes. But Burton rode Garibay out in the third overtime for the win.
“We trained for overtime the week leading up,” Gibbins said.
The Chiefs’ Eric Baker won the 182-pound crown and will joined by teammates Tyler Stump (126, fourth), Alex Lewis (132, third), Hampton Harmon (170, third) and Raesean Diggs (285, fourth) in Anderson.
St. James had two wrestlers advance in Alex Nielsen (120, fourth) and De’Eante Salaam (170, second). Georgetown also had two wrestlers in Dustin Pack (138, fourth) and Jalil Smith (220, third). In all, Region 7 will have 20 wrestlers in Anderson next weekend.
“This year was a really competitive with all the teams in the region,” Jiorle said. “It really showed in the Lower State tournament with so many region guys advancing.”
Added Gibbins: “Our region had a great showing. It just goes to show how competitive it is. It is a competitive area for wrestling in the state. The coaching has really gone up. Its amazing how the year has changed.”
Aynor and Waccamaw saw the most wrestlers advance to the state tournament next weekend with four apiece.
The Blue Jackets’ Andrews Scruggs (132) and Landon Lawson (113) each were Lower State champions at their weight classes. Teammates Hunter Johnson (106) and DQ Nash (220) finished third and fourth, respectively.
John Van Slooten (145) won the third Lower State championship of his career for the Warriors. Arman Singh (126, fourth), Travis Pierce (220, third) and Hunter Brininger (285, fourth) will also be joining Van Slooten for Waccamaw.
Loris had sophomore Taquan Long take first at 170 pounds and junior Xavius Williams place third at 120 pounds.