High School Wrestling

Bluffton wrestlers refocus, claim title at Seahawk Duals

ccox@islandpacket.comDecember 29, 2013 

Members of the Bluffton High School wrestling team celebrate with their trophy after winning the Seahawk Duals on Saturday at Hilton Head Island High School.

PHOTO BY ED MEYERINK

The Bluffton wrestling team scoured the halls of Hilton Head Island High School on Friday afternoon, hoping to find a quiet place to assess and reset.

Coach John Hollman wasn't happy with his Bobcats' performance following a 45-24 loss to an Aynor team they had defeated earlier in the season. Such showings weren't going to be allowed a day later, he reminded them.

"As a coach, my job is to challenge them and make sure I'm always bringing out the best in them," Hollman said. "(Don't) be happy with mediocrity."

The Bobcats listened. Led by a trio of wrestlers, Bluffton cruised past its four Saturday opponents to claim the school's first championship in the Seahawk Duals.

"From that moment on," Hollman said, "we stepped on the gas, turned it on, and we wrestled like Bluffton wrestling stands for."

Captain Mike Meyerink, a three-time state qualifier, rallied his teammates through his efforts on the mat. The 170-pounder joined Bluffton teammates Levi Joly (113) and Talon Seitz (138) in going 8-0 over the weekend, and all three standouts won each of their matches via pin.

"During that (Aynor) match, we wrestled sluggish," Meyerink said. "We weren't really outgoing. We weren't wanting to be there. After that heart-to-heart ... we realized we need to be able to pump the team up and show that it's not all about your skill."

No team came close to matching the Bobcats on day two. Lovett (Ga.), which finished runner-up, left the mat with a 45-26 setback to the Bobcats to finish 7-1. The Lions claimed second place with a 37-33 win over North Paulding (Ga.), which also went 7-1.

The host Seahawks responded from an 0-4 showing on Friday with a 2-2 finish a day later, which included a 51-21 win over nearby Whale Branch Early College High School.

Brock Massey (132) and Martin Duane (182) both finished the weekend 8-0 for Hilton Head High.

"We wrestled better, not just in wins and losses, but just the effort," coach Mike Newton said. "Yesterday, we lost matches not because we were losing to better wrestlers. We lost because a lack of toughness, and that's what was really irritating."

The Warriors finished the weekend 0-8, though heavyweight Max Ford did finish unbeaten.

Battery Creek split its four matches for the second straight day to wrap up a 4-4 showing. Brian LaBean (145) led the Dolphins with an 8-0 weekend. He helped Battery Creek earn an impressive 37-36 win over fourth-ranked Aynor, as the Dolphins led from the outset.

Battery Creek did take a 44-27 loss to Bluffton, though there was no shame in that. No one stopped Bluffton on this day, thanks in part to the rejuvenated effort that came from their Friday pow-wow.

"Everyone was (ticked) about that loss yesterday," Meyerink said. "Our coach said if we finish strong here and go 4-0, we had a chance to win. That little goal right there gave us all the electricity."

2013 Seahawk Duals

Saturday's results, at Hilton Head Island High

North Paulding (Ga.) 66, Bishop England 14

Lovett (Ga.) 42, Aynor 36

Bluffton 72, Whale Branch 12

St. James 41, Battery Creek 27

Hilton Head High 44, Bishop England 33

St. James 63, Whale Branch 12

Bluffton 45, Lovett 26

North Paulding 45, Aynor 32

Lovett 50, Hilton Head High 18

Bluffton 46, St. James 25

Battery Creek 37, Aynor 36

Bishop England 36, Whale Branch 33

North Paulding 62, Hilton Head High 18

Bluffton 44, Battery Creek 27

Lovett 60, Bishop England 9

Aynor 66, Whale Branch 16

Hilton Head High 51, Whale Branch 21

Lovett 37, North Paulding 33

Battery Creek 51, Bishop England 22

Aynor-St. James, double-forfeit

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