Blythewood came away with its biggest haul of state wrestling invitations at the Class 4A Upper State qualifying tournament Saturday at Hillcrest.
Three Bengals made the state cut for the season finale this weekend at Lexington – sophomore Keith Harding (29-2 at 145) and juniors Tom Arnett (22-6 at 125) and Joey Starnes (12-6 at 285).
Blythewood’s previous state qualifiers were Josh Fulmer (2007) and Brett Mulalley (2006). Ironically, both advanced at 171 pounds. The goal this season is to finally get Blythewood on the board at state. Neither Fulmer nor Mulalley managed to win a match in their only 3A appearances.
Harding, who lost to top-ranked Giazzi Segarra of Dorman in the Upper State title bout, is ranked fifth by scmat.com and has a great chance to become Blythewood’s first state place finisher. Harding draws Stratford senior Cody Gathers in the first round on Friday.
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Arnett and Starnes, who got off to a late start this season, both were fourth-place finishers in the Upper State. Arnett opens against Lower State champion Hampton Motley of Lexington, while Starnes’ state debut comes against Lower State champion Marshall Williams of Dutch Fork, who is ranked No. 2.