High School Sports

Hilton Head wrestlers own region title once again

They don't talk about region titles. Their expectations are much greater, their sights set toward a more distant goal.

But attaining lofty goals requires a team to reach milestones along the way. And for the fourth time in five years, the Hilton Head High wrestling team reached a pretty good one.

The Seahawks defeated visiting Battery Creek 42-24 on Wednesday night to clinch the Region 7-AAA championship -- their fourth region title in the past five seasons.

And although that may not have been on their list of objectives to start the year, the Seahawks certainly considered it satisfying to re-claim the region title a year after it went to rival Bluffton High School.

"It's something we wanted to do to get our pride back," Seahawks wrestler Nick Bautista admitted.

They earned it back soundly. The Seahawks won nine of 14 matches and never truly had to sweat against the streaking Dolphins, whose only lead came early in the match after getting back-to-back pins from their big guns, Bear Childers (215 pounds) and David Ratliff (285).

Battery Creek's Chris Bockelman followed with a decision at 103, but the Seahawks answered quickly and emphatically by winning seven of the next eight matches, capped by an impressive third-period pin from Seth Anthony against Maurice Lamb at 152.

Nick Tennison (112), Label Lewis (119), Matt Johns (125), Chris Ordonez (135), Campbell Miller (140), Aaron Facenda (145), Chad Dimmock (171) and Bautista (189) added wins for the Seahawks, who earned the right to host the first round of the Class 3-A playoffs Feb. 3. The Seahawks have won the Class 3-A Lower State title each of the past three seasons.

"We wrestled perfectly today -- we couldn't have done anything better than we did," said Bautista, who is ranked No. 1 in Class 3-A at 189 pounds. "We won all the matches we needed to win, got all the bonus points we needed to win, and got all the close matches to go our way."

Johns started that trend with a major decision against athletic Josh Green at 125. Seahawks coach Mike Newton said he labeled the match as one of several potential swing bouts, nearly all of which swung in the Seahawks' favor.

Johns, ranked third at 125, scored an early takedown against Green and twice scored back points to seemingly cruise to a 9-1 win.

"Coach (Newton) told me he needed a win from me today, so I went out there thinking it was all on me," Johns said. "... When I go out there and think I can win and should win, that plays a big role."

The Seahawks' confidence was present throughout Wednesday's matchup, a likely factor of a team that has wrestled for a region title all five seasons since dropping to Class 3-A.

"That's half the battle," Newton said. "Our guys were confident and comfortable because they know their role. They just expect to win because they've been here before. When a kid thinks (he is) the better wrestler and better prepared, (he) wrestles harder because it's psychological."

Battery Creek, which missed out on the playoffs last year, lacked that experience. Dolphins coach Kyle Kimrey said some of the team also lacked the necessary effort.

Despite the loss, though, the Dolphins will still qualify for the postseason and earn the region's second seed if they defeat Berkeley on Wednesday -- and they will be heavily favored to do so.

"We only had about eight guys wrestle the way they should wrestle and do their jobs -- you have to have (all) 14," Kimrey said. "Whoever we put on the mat, all we ask is you wrestle hard for six minutes, and we didn't get that today."

Hilton Head High 42, Battery Creek 24

103: Chris Bockelman (BC) def. David Waddell, 8-1.

112: Nick Tennison (HHH) pinned Michael Woodruff, first period.

119: Label Lewis (HHH) won by forfeit.

125: Matt Johns (HHH) major dec. Josh Green, 9-1.

130: Joey Kasper-Little (BC) def. Richard Jenkins, 11-9 (OT).

135: Chris Ordonez (HHH) def. Delmar Sanders, 3-0.

140: Campbell Miller (HHH) major dec. DeShawn Smalls, 10-0.

145: Aaron Facenda (HHH) def. Carlos Andaverde, 5-0.

152: Seth Anthony (HHH) pinned Maurice Lamb, third period.

160: Dylan King (BC) pinned Dean Entrup, second period.

171: Chad Dimmock (HHH) major dec. Javon Livingston, 13-2.

189: Nick Bautista (HHH) pinned Marquise Givens, second period.

215: Bear Childers (BC) pinned Luke Barsness, second period.

285: David Ratliff (BC) pinned Doug Bell, first period.

Note: The match started at 171 pounds.