High School Sports

Preview: Lugoff-Elgin wrestling

Ohio native Evan Moxie is the new head wrestling coach at Lugoff-Elgin, taking over an established, highly successful program that once more has lofty expectations.

L-E loses only four starters from a team that went 19-4 year ago, including Justin McClester, who closed out a stellar career by winning his first state title (125 pounds).

“We have a very experienced, very talented team, and we are looking forward to making a deep run in the playoffs,” said Moxie.

The Demons should have plenty of motivation this season after suffering a first-round playoff exit at the hands of upstart Riverside. It was the first time since 1996 that L-E was sent packing in the first round. The returning standouts include state champion Will Connell and state qualifiers Stephen Boneparte, Alonzo Grant, Will Myers and Max Fowler.

Connell went 42-7 last season and won the 171-pound state title as a sophomore. He could be at 171 again or even at 160 this season.

Boneparte (24-15) had a great run at the state tournament – finishing third at 160 after finishing fourth at the Upper State qualifier. He could be at 160 or 171 this time around.Grant, Myers and Fowler all went 1-2 at state and did not place. Grant will move up to either 140 or 145 this season. Myers will jump to 145 or 152 after being at 140 last season. Fowler could stay at 189 again, or maybe move up to 215.

Sophomore T.J. Branham, junior Tony Murphy, sophomore Zack Connell and senior Jonathan McManus are the other returning starters in tow. Branham and Murphy were big winners in the lower weights, but failed to advance to state. Zack Connell, Will’s younger brother, had more than 25 wins last season at 145. McManus is back at heavyweight.

Freshmen Harrison Kruger (140), Derrick Miller (160) and Allen Jenerette (189) are newcomers to watch.