Columbia’s fledgling wresting program tested highly competitive waters last weekend at the Palmetto State Classic tournament at Irmo. The third-year Capitals finished with 32 team points and finished 12th in the 14-team field as the only Class 2A entry.
“I told my guys that this will be the toughest competition they see all season,” said coach Joe Lovier. “There were so many great wrestlers and programs in this tournament, and I wanted my kids to experience something like this to use it as a motivator for them for the rest of the season.”
The Capitals had some true highlights, including a fourth-place finish by Trey Leonard at 171 pounds. Leonard finished with a 3-2 PSC record, losing a tough 9-7 decision to Fort Dorchester’s Keyson Flores in the consolation bracket final. He pulled within 6-5 of Flores with a reversal with 53 seconds left in the match, but had to let his foe up to shoot for a takedown. In the end Flores fended off the bid, and clinched the win with a takedown of his own with 29 seconds to go. Leonard pinned his way to the semifinals, planting Chapin’s Trey Pinelli just one minute into the first-round bout and dispatched Adam Strothers of Dutch Fork in 3:52 in the quarterfinals. After being pinned in the semifinals by eventual champion Josh Tuck of Rock Hill, Leonard reach the consolation finals with a sound 17-4 decision over Max Fowler of Lugoff-Elgin.
Christian Reed (125) and Jerry Johnson (189) both went 3-2, but came up just short of reaching the consolation finals. Both were pinned in the consolation semifinals. Reed pinned Irmo’s Senquan Alls in the first round, pinned Wando’s Conner Domermuth and scored a 12-6 decision vs. Ridge View’s Lane Hinson in the consolation bracket. Johnson opened with a 39-second pin of Lugoff-Elgin’s Wesley Frederick, and added decisions against Rock Hill’s Richard Lee (10-0) and Fort Dorchester’s Evan Thompson in the conslation bracket befre being eliminated.
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The only other Capital to post a win at the tournament was Devonne Montgomery at 130.