Talon Seitz pressed his knees to the mat and pushed his legs as far out of reach as his balance would allow.
The Bluffton High School wrestler was content to work from his knees to combat Ashley Ridge senior Christian Cuttino, whose double-leg takedown Seitz knew to avoid.
The wrestlers have a history, most notably Cuttino's victory at the 2013 Lower State individual tournament that kept the then-freshman Seitz from the state tournament.
Seitz has seemed to gain ground since then. He beat Cuttino in overtime for third place at the Seahawk Slam and again for the Region 8-AAAA title at 138 pounds.
But Seitz's costly loss remained fresh as he wrestled his way through his bracket Saturday at the Lower State individual tournament at Beaufort High School.
He stayed sprawled much of the match, went up a point with an escape to start the third period and stalled as tactfully as possible to claim the 5-4 decision and Lower State title at 138.
Setiz embraced Cuttino before the pair had risen from the mat. The wrestlers might face off again at the state tournament, which starts Friday at the Anderson Civic Center.
Cuttino might deserve to win the state title, Seitz said. He's a senior and has worked hard, he said.
"If we were in the finals, and he wins state, I would not be upset at all," said Seitz, who pushed his school-record wins total to 62. "But I wanted to win this whole year. I had to have this."
Beaufort High senior Kentrell Seabrook also won a Lower State title with a 9-3 decision at 220 over Wando's Hunter Allen.
Advancing was the primary goal.
The Eagles will send four wrestlers to Anderson. James Sharp finished runner-up at 113 and Will Spann in second at 120.
For Bluffton, seniors Levi Joly at 113 and Michael Meyerink at 160 became four-time state qualifiers.
Seabrook bobbed along to rapper Meek Mill in his headphones as he prepared for his match with Allen. Seabrook won his first three matches by pin to reach the final, and nearly had Allen pinned in the first and last periods before settling for the decision.
The senior wrestled at heavyweight much of the team season. He told coach Bill Damude he wanted to wrestle at 220 by season's end, even though he had reached the No. 2 ranking at 285.
Seabrook had cut enough weight in time for the region tournament and now wants to ensure he is in shape for a chance at a state title. He plans to run five miles a day this week.
"The guys I have to wrestle are strong and fast and really good," Seabrook said, as he held a large printout of his winning 220 bracket.
His teammate Spann just missed a win at 120 when Fort Dorchester's Tyre Wright took him down with a second remaining for a 3-1 decision. Ashley Ridge's Ben Whitney shocked Sharp with a first-period pin.
But the end result for Beaufort High and Bluffton coaches was this: the names they thought should advance to next week did.
"They're going next weekend to wrestle at state," Damude said. "Whatever needs to be corrected can be corrected this week at practice."
Class 4-A Lower State individual wrestling tournament
Saturday at Beaufort High School
Note: State individual tournament at Anderson Civic Center Feb. 28 and March 1
Beaufort High: Kentrell Seabrook (Lower State champion, 220), Jake Sharp (Runner-up, 113), Will Spann (Runner-up, 220), Mitchell Nestler (Fourth place, 195)
Bluffton: Talon Seitz (Lower State champion, 138), Levi Joly (Third place, 113), Michael Meyerink (Third place, 160)