Bluffton off to strong start at Seahawk Duals

ccox@islandpacket.comDecember 28, 2013 

A 3-1 showing on the opening day of the Seahawk Duals wasn’t enough to put a smile on the face of John Hollman.

“There’s a ‘1’ there,” he said. “That’s why.”

The Bobcats coach lamented his team’s effort Friday, which in turn resulted in a 45-24 loss to an Aynor team that Bluffton beat by four earlier this season at the North Myrtle Beach Duals.

“We didn’t wrestle in typical Bluffton fashion, the way we sometimes do,” Hollman said.

Nevertheless, his Bobcats righted the ship over their last two matches, which included a 47-23 win over rival Hilton Head Island High, to carry momentum into Saturday’s final four matches.

The Bobcats broke a 23-all tie with the Seahawks by taking each of the final five weight classes, including pins by Evan Placke (145 pounds), Tommy Heslin (152) and Mike Meyerink (170). Meyerink and Placke joined Talon Seitz at 138 and Levi Joly at 113 as the Bobcats’ four unbeaten wrestlers on the afternoon.

Their success in the final match kept Hilton Head High winless after day one.

Whale Branch Early College High School and Bishop England also went without a win.

The Seahawks, who have just one senior on their 33-man roster, fell to 2-7. However, Matt Levy (126), Brock Massey (132) and Martin Duane (182) all went 4-0 for Hilton Head High.

“We’re extremely young, but extremely talented at the freshman level,” coach Mike Newton said. “We know there’s going to be growing pains, and we understand that. Everything we do is to get ready for our five region matches in January.”

Only Aynor and Lovett (Ga.) finished the afternoon unbeaten.

The Blue Jackets coupled their big win over the Bobcats with shellackings of Hilton Head High and Bishop England.

The Atlanta-based Lions capped their afternoon in thrilling fashion.

Lovett trailed Battery Creek by 12 entering the final three weight classes but earned pins in each to pull out a 42-36 win, capping off a 3-0 day in the process.

The final two pins came via brothers Brooks and Elliot Layson, who were late additions to the roster this season after the school’s football season ended with a state championship run.

“We had a lot of guys wrestling today with limited conditioning,” coach Billy Maldonado said. “With that in mind, we did really well. We had some leaders come through in the last match.

“We had two guys come through at the end with pins that really got us going.”

The sophomores’ performances were enough to stave off a short-manned Battery Creek team that finished 2-2. Coach Nathan Day said the Dolphins were without several players due to injury and other reasons.

Brian LeBean (145) and Cooper Kaminsky (195) both went unbeaten for the Dolphins, who finished the afternoon with victories over Hilton Head High and Whale Branch.

“A lot of the kids that were here did good,” Day said.

The Bobcats, meanwhile, will turn their attention to a challenging Saturday slate which features unbeaten Lovett, Battery Creek and 2-2 St. James. Added effort could be what makes the difference if Bluffton hopes to take the title, Hollman said.

“In individual tournaments I allow them to worry just about them,” he said. “ ... (But) when we get in a team tournament, it ain’t all about you anymore. It’s about the name on your shirt.”

2013 Seahawk Duals

Friday, at Hilton Head Island High

St. James 51, Hilton Head High 30

Bluffton 54, Bishop England 19

North Paulding (Ga.) 39, Battery Creek 24

Lovett (Ga.) 63, Whale Branch 9

Battery Creek 50, Hilton Head High 29

North Paulding (Ga.) 66, Whale Branch 16

St. James 51, Bishop England 15

Aynor 45, Bluffton 24

Aynor 54, Hilton Head High 26

Bluffton 45, North Paulding (Ga.) 35

Lovett (Ga.) 42, St. James 30

Battery Creek 54, Whale Branch 34

Bluffton 47, Hilton Head High 23

Lovett (Ga.) 42, Battery Creek 36

North Paulding (Ga.) 36, St. James 33

Aynor 66, Bishop England 12

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