It was a little easier this time, relatively speaking, but a lot more nerve racking because there was more on the line.
Chapin’s long road trip to face Belton-Honea Path in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state wrestling playoffs netted the Eagles a 33-21 win and a spot in the Upper State championship match on Wednesday against top-ranked, Region 4-3A archrival Lugoff-Elgin. The third-ranked Eagles (33-2) wrestled BHP to a 30-30 draw during the regular season and won by criteria decision, but delivered when it mattered the most last night.
Chapin opened the match with decisions by Scott Swindell (152 pounds) and Seth Stevens (160) for a quick 6-0 lead. After a 3-1 loss by Devin Lawrence at 171, the Eagles rolled off three straight wins to build the lead to 18-3. The run started with a pin at 189 by Corey Cromer, followed by a tight 3-2 win by Brandon Owens at 215 and a 5-1 decision by Adam Taylor at 285.
The host Bears never quite recovered from Chapin’s opening moves. BHP closed within six points two times, but the Eagles answered with momentum-sapping pins on both occasions. Nate Polly’s fall at 130 built the Chapin lead back to 27-15, and Cody Brundage’s pin at 145 closed out the match and avoided having the outcome come down to criteria once again.
Chapin has reached the Final Four the fourth time in six years at the Class 3A level, but has not advanced to the state championship match since 2005.
Wednesday’s showdown at Lugoff-Elgin starts at 7 p.m.