The Lowco sent 24 wrestlers to the SCSHL State Championship in Anderson this weekend, and 12 of them will come home with hardware, including one with a gold medal.
May River junior Santiago Rueda claimed the Lowco’s only state title Saturday, rallying from a three-point deficit in the final minute of regulation and scoring a sudden victory takedown over Indian Land’s Max Yegge to win the Class 4A 138-pound crown.
Hilton Head High’s Drew Vigh (132), May River’s Gabe Juarez (170), and Beaufort High’s Colton Phares (182) all settled for silver after dropping tough decisions in the finals — and both Vigh and Juarez lost heartbreakers in overtime. Hilton Head’s William Jakeway (106), Darnell Brawner (145), and KJ Holland (152) all placed third along with May River’s Isaiah Wysong (132) and Battery Creek’s Sam Degroat (120), and Hilton Head’s Zao Estrada (113), May River’s Emilio Mendoza (120), and Battery Creek’s Dre’Shaun Brown (182) finished fourth.
Phares had to grind out a 4-2 win over Greenwood’s Owen Sargent in the opening round but pinned North Augusta’s David Havasy in the second period in the semifinals, setting up a terrific matchup against three-time bronze medalist Roy Price of Eastside in the 182-pound final. The Beaufort junior found difficulty generating scoring chances against Price, who picked up takedowns in each of the first two periods and tacked on a stalling point to make it 5-0 before trading reversals with Phares in the final 23 seconds of the second period. Phares went on bottom in the third period looking to chip away, but Price prevented him from scoring and claimed his first state title after three third-place finishes.
Degroat lost a 5-3 decision to runner-up Landon Allen of West-Oak in the semifinals, but he rebounded to dominate his next two opponents, recording a pin and an 18-2 technical fall to claim bronze. Brown lost to eventual champion AJ Dickerson of West-Oak in the semis, then earned an 8-6 decision over Chester’s DC Carter to get into the medal round, where he lost 7-4 to Hanahan’s Will Dennard to finish fourth.
Beaufort’s Tayriq Legree (120) and Peter Adam Burvenich (160) each fell one win short of earning medals, as did Battery Creek’s Reily Doray (113) and Elmer Linares (126), going 1-2 over the weekend.