It was a banner day for Beaufort County wrestling Saturday in Anderson, as each of the five area high schools that qualified wrestlers for the individual state championships came home with one champion from the Anderson Civic Center.
The parade of local champions was led by Beaufort High School's Clint Wright, who pinned two more opponents on the tournament's second day -- including a 47-second victory in the finals over Conway's Chris Ford -- to capture the Class 4-A 195-pound title. Wright, who pinned his first-round opponent on Friday, was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Class 4-A meet. He finished the season 53-3.
"Pinning all three guys at the state tournament -- that's saying something," Beaufort High coach Bill Damude said.
The Eagles finished second in team points behind Lexington. Beaufort High had six of its nine state qualifiers finish in the top four at their respective weights, including 160-pounder Trey Arant, who dropped a decision in the finals to finish second.
"We had a great first round," Damude said. "In the consolation finals, we didn't wrestle as well as I would have liked."
"Other than that, I thought we did a good job, placing six out of nine."
Bluffton also claimed a championship in 4-A, as Austin Farmer avenged a loss in the Lower State tournament to Lexington's Brandon Shepherd, pinning him for the 138-pound state title.
"It really hasn't hit me fully yet," Farmer said. "... but knowing my name will be on the wall at Bluffton High School forever is something special."
Farmer placed at state all four years of his high school career.
"Austin made the most of it," Bluffton coach John Hollman said. "He continued the natural progression ... and finished as the most decorated wrestler ever at Bluffton."
Another four-time placewinner from the area also closed out his career with a state title, as Hilton Head Island High School's Label Lewis became a two-time state champ with his major decision over Emerald's Cody Pirkle in the Class 3-A 132-pound final.
He is the first Hilton Head High wrestler to ever win 60 matches in a season -- finishing 60-2 -- and is also the school's first four-time placer. He won a state championship as a sophomore at a lower weight class. The Seahawks have claimed seven individual state champs in the last seven years.
"The best that I've ever coached," Hilton Head High coach Mike Newton said of Lewis. "And probably the most enjoyable to be around, too. Going to be sad to see him go."
Whale Branch Early College High School picked up its first state champion, as heavyweight Max Ford defeated a much larger Eric Gallman of Newberry, 5-3, in the finals of the Class 2-A/1-A tournament. Making Ford's state title run even more impressive is the fact the junior wrestled all season long with a torn labrum, going 43-7.
"He has more heart than any young man I've ever met in my life," Whale Branch coach Travis Wynn said.
"He just refused to quit. He never wanted to come out of match," Wynn said.
Battery Creek also had a champion in the 2-A/1-A meet, as junior Isaiah Sloan defeated North Central's Daniel Whitmore -- a defending champ -- in the finals at 195 pounds. Sloan's initial season on the mats ends with a 55-10 record.
"He's gotten better and better throughout the year," Battery Creek coach Nathan Day said. "This is his first year of wrestling, so he's caught on pretty quick."
The Dolphins nearly came away with two state champions, but 160-pounder DeAndre Johnson was taken down with one second left in his title matchup with Ninety-Six's Eddie Emery -- a defending state champ -- to lose, 4-2.
Individual State Wrestling Championships
106: Jake Sharp, 4th place -- lost to Zach Clary (Gaffney), 10-2; maj. dec. Albert Ednilao (Cane Bay), 11-0; lost to Alex Roberts (Hillcrest), 7-6
113: William Spann -- lost to Levi Joly (Bluffton), 4-2; lost to Tyre Wright (Fort Dorchester), 8-2
145: Forrest Kimbrell -- pinned by Walker Barfield (Lexington), third period
152: Michael Holmes -- pinned by Cole Gregory (Clover), third period
160: Trey Arant, 2nd place -- maj. dec. Anthony Collins (Summerville), 13-4; lost to Thomas Mabry (Gaffney), 10-6
182: Codrian Smalls, 4th place -- lost to Jerelle Hannah (Lugoff-Elgin), 6-4; pinned Ryan Hughes (Laurens), second period; lost to Matt Rudy (Cane Bay), 3-2
195: Clint Wright, 1st place -- pinned Cameron Bell (Rock Hill), third period; pinned Chris Ford (Conway), first period
220: Kentrell Seabrook, 4th place -- lost to Nate Meagher (Lexington), 3-1; pinned Jacob Hines (Dorman), second period; lost to Josh Driscoll (Nation Ford), 3-1 OT
285: Tyler Wilson, 4th place -- pinned Zack Dulcie (Fort Mill), second period; dec. Joey Perrotta (Lexington), 1-0; lost to Nathan O'Connor (Sumter), 4-2
113: Levi Joly, 2nd place -- dec. William Spann (Beaufort), 4-2; lost to Jackson Myers (Lexington), 6-0
138: Austin Farmer, 1st place -- maj. dec. Cameron Pike (South Pointe), 18-8; pinned Brandon Shepherd (Lexington)
152: Mike Meyerink -- pinned by Will Thomas (Dorman), first period; lost to Cody Simpson (Byrnes), 12-6
Hilton Head Island
106: Matt Levy -- lost to Ethan Pendleton (Union County), 10-3
113: Tyler Fick -- lost to Bryson Pressley (Travelers Rest), 16-1
126: Brock Massey -- lost to Parker Peeples (Belton-Honea Path), 5-4
132: Label Lewis, 1st place -- dec. William Cody Ferguson (Greenville), 6-0; maj. dec. Cody Pirkle (Emerald), 13-5
152: Trevon Rawls -- pinned by Rashad McRae (Airport), second period
195: JC Graham -- pinned by Richard Davis (Airport), first period
106: Joseph Cuevas -- pinned by Anthony Zovich (Carolina), third period; pinned by Hunter Johnson (Aynor), second period
138: Brian Labean, 4th place -- maj. dec. D.J. Fling (Columbia), 12-2; pinned Donnie Davis (Marion), first period; lost to Devin Curtsinger (Indian Land), 4-2
160: DeAndre Johnson, 2nd place -- tech. fall Damion Cantrell (Landrum), 20-5; lost to Eddie Emery (Ninety-Six), 4-2
195: Isaiah Sloan, 1st place -- maj. dec. Ben Glace (Abbeville), 15-7; dec. Daniel Whitmore (North Central), 4-2
285: Jonathan Wright -- lost to Avery Thompson (Abbeville), 5-4
113: Chris Conn -- pinned Andrew Collins (Bishop England), first period; lost to Ben Lingefelt (Pendleton), 8-6
126: Javon Gardner -- pinned by Brandon Pilgrim (Liberty), second period
170: Mark Rivers -- pinned by Josh Mullens (Buford), third period
182: Juan Allen -- pinned by Tanner Chambers (Liberty), first period
195: Trey Nelson -- pinned by Jared Fowler (Chesnee), second period
285: Max Ford, 1st place -- pinned Morris Williams (Keenan), second period; dec. Eric Gallman (Newberry), 5-3