High School Sports

Demons put finishing touch on grand campaign

Lugoff-Elgin capped a grand wrestling campaign with a best-in-class performance at the season-ending state tournament last weekend in Rock Hill.

The Demons, who won their first Class 3A state championship in seven years during the official dual match playoffs, ruled the traditional state tournament field as well with a first-place total of 92 points, 10.5 points ahead of runner-up West-Oak. Chapin was third with 63.5 points.

Six of the seven L-E entries produced place finishes with medals.

The highlight was the state-championship performance by sophomore Alonzo Grant at 140 pounds. Grant, who finished with a 42-11 season record, edged Chester’s Dominick Davis 7-5 in the title bout, avenging a loss to his Region 4-3A rival in the Upper State final the week before state. Grant’s gold-medal run was the 46th in school history. Only four other schools have more individual state title wins on the books – Summerville, Rock Hill, Swansea and Eastside.

The biggest disappointment was a bitter 7-6 loss by Will Connell in the 171 final to Eastside’s Mateo Rojas in a rematch of last year’s 171-pound championship match. Connell finished with a 31-4 season record, and should have plenty of motivation in his senior season.

Seniors Stephen Boneparte and Max Fowler came away with silver medals. Boneparte, a fourth-place Upper State qualifier, reached the 160 finals on the basis of two 3-2 decisions before falling 10-1 to West-Oak’s John Hunnicutt. It was the second state medal for Boneparte, who earned a bronze at 160 a year ago. Fowler secured his first state medal in his last try, but suffered a tough 7-5 loss to defending 189 champion Jack Duane of Hilton Head.

Boneparte closed with a 31-8 season record, Fowler at 46-5.

Tony Murphy (125) and Theo Sheppard (215) emerged as consolation champions and bronze medals. Murphy and Sheppard followed remarkably similar tournament paths. Murphy rebounded from a 4-2 semifinal setback with two major decisions consolation bracket. He mastered Austin Such of Riverside 11-1 in the bronze medal match to finish the season with a 41-11 record. Sheppard (40-10) bounced back from a tough 4-2 semifinal loss to go 2-0 in the consolation bracket, securing third place with a wild 14-12 win over Berea’s Davion Gambrell.

Senior Will Myers failed to place, but he did go win one state match to close his career with a 29-17 report card.