Top-ranked Lexington and No. 4 Lugoff-Elgin will host four-team mini-tournaments on Saturday as the Class 4A state wrestling playoffs begin.
Lexington (26-2) takes on Midlands rival Irmo (17-19) in a first-round match at 11 a.m. Goose Creek takes on Sumter in the other first-round match. The winners clash at 12:30 p.m. for the right to move on to the quarterfinals on Monday.
Lexington is the defending Lower State champion. Individually, Jackson Myers, Andy Szalwinski, Cody Bonham, Russell Taylor, Walker Barfield, Brandon Shepherd, Caleb Brack, Dacus Fenchel and Nate Meagher tuned up recently for the postseason by earning region championships.
T.J. Dudley, who closed out the regular season with a 58-0 record at 195 pounds, is the Irmo leader, but Louis Biles (50-7 at 113), Brandon Corley (40-2 at 170) and Tom Rinehart (37-17 at 220) have also enjoyed outstanding seasons.
Region 4 champion Lugoff-Elgin (19-6) will square off against Spartanburg at 11 a.m. Dorman takes on Woodmont in the other first-round outing. The first-round winners meet at 12:45 p.m. for the right to advance to the third round on Monday.
Brandon Noel (41-6 at 106), Chris Jackson (46-7 at 113), Harrison Kruger (38-11 at 145), Corey Edenfield (25-12 at 160), Zach Connell (32-3 at 182), Wade Branham (34-15 at 195), Allen Jenerette (39-2 at 220) and Joey Counts (27-11 at 285) have been the Demons standouts to date.
White Knoll, Dutch Fork, Spring Valley and Richland Northeast will also be in action on Saturday.
No. 3 White Knoll (20-5) and Spring Valley travel to Stratford. The Timberwolves face Beaufort in the first round, while the Region 7 champion host Knights are heavily favored over 8-8 Spring Valley.
Dutch Fork (15-17) takes on Clover at Hillcrest, while the host, defending state champion Rams face Westside in the other first round bout.
Richland Northeast (12-14) draws Region 6 champion Carolina Forest in the first round.
The Class 2A state playoffs also begin on Saturday at two sites – Powdersville High (Upper State) and Hanahan (Lower State). The full-day events will determine the two teams that will wrestle for the classification title on Feb. 11 at Dreher.
Seventh-ranked Columbia (17-5) and No. 8 Gilbert (14-9) are in the Upper State field. The Capitals draw a first-round bye and will take on either Cheraw or Pendleton in the second round. Gilbert, though ranked higher by scmat.com, is the lower seed in the bracket.
Swansea and Pelion are off to Hanahan for the Lower State gathering. Swansea (17-7), the No. 2 seed in the tournament, draws a first round bye and will swing into action against either Pelion or North Charleston.