Mission accomplished. That was the best way to describe the performances by Chapin junior stars Stuart Hope and Nate Polly last weekend at the Class 3A state wrestling tournament.
Hope and Polly entered as favorites to win state championships in their respective weight classes and delivered. Hope went 3-0 to claim 112-pound honors and complete what coach Scott Harmon believes is the first undefeated, state championship season in school history (55-0). Polly, meanwhile, went 3-0 to claim gold at 130 pounds for his first state championship in three tries and finish with a 47-4 season record.
“I was very happy that Stuart could finish a perfect season and repeat as state champion, and I am also proud of Nate for winning the title after a great runner-up finish last season,” said Harmon.
“I am equally proud of our three sophomores who placed fourth in their first state tournament appearance and I’m looking forward to big things from them next season. I thought we wrestled well throughout the weekend- our veterans were calm and relaxed and our rookies handled the situation well.”
Hope, who now sports a 124-21 career record, secured his second state gold medal by dispatching Region 4-3A rival Terence Gore of Chester 6-1 in the finals. Polly reserved his first spot atop the winner’s stand with a tight 4-2 win over Randall Greeneof North Myrtle Beach.
Hope is the eighth man in program annals to win multiple state championships and has a chance next season to become Chapin’s third three-time state winner, joining the exclusive club established by former Eagle stars Jason Hazzard (1995-97) and Jeremy Mosley (1997-98, 2000).
As a team, the Eagles performed well. Five of Chapin’s six entries placed, and the team finished third in the tournament standings with 63.5 points.
Sophomores Chase Owens (135), Cody Brundage (145) and Scott Swindell (152) all went 2-2 and came away with fourth-place finishes. Owens closed with a 51-5 season record, Brundage at 32-8 and Swindell at 54-5.
Senior Cory Cromer (189) was the only Eagle qualifier that failed to place, victimized by a disputed call in the consolation semifinals.