Pinewood grapplers earn state championships
The Pinewood Prep wrestling team wrapped up its inaugural season with an impressive showing during the SCISA Individual State Finals.
Pinewood had nine wrestlers place in the top three for their weight class during the tournament held at Cardinal Newman High School last Saturday.
“Pinewood is a great place and I am so proud about how far these boys have come,” Pinewood coach Ben Cheatham said. “We had 16 wrestlers complete the season but never had more than 12 of the 14 weight classes covered. Next year we hope more students within our school will come out and compete. The parents of Pinewood have been very supportive getting this program off the ground and dealing with a sport many did not understand.”
Jeremy Hunt earned Pinewood its first state wrestling championship. Hunt capped a great day of wrestling in the 152-pound weight class by defeating two-time state champion Matt Wilson in the finals. The Cardinal Newman grappler was undefeated on the season entering the championship match with Hunt.
In the 160-pound championship, sophomore TJ Wilson faced Stephen Mitchell from Hammond. Wilson earned another upset, defeating the top-seeded wrestler 4-2 in the championship match.
The next Panther to come away with a state championship was Dallas Dial, who won at 182 with a flawless 15-0 technical fall over Hammond’s Cody Sims.
Dallas is one of the few seniors on this year’s Panther team. He waited four years for Pinewood to start a wrestling program and finished his high-school wrestling career with style. Fellow Panther senior Jeremy Gray placed fourth at 195.
Matthew Latham placed second at 113 and Cameron Poaps finished as the runner-up at 285.
Four Panther grapplers placed third in their class: Austin Murphy (106), Steven Kennedy (132), Zach Haton (145) and Grayson Charpia (220). Murphy and Latham, who are only seventh-graders, faced older wrestlers but only lost one match each during the tournament.
Ridge Christian Academy had two wrestlers place in the top three. Jonathon Driggers placed second at 195 and Nate Shumpert placed third at 113.
SCISA Individual State Finals Top 3 placers
106: 1. Ray Castles (Hammond) 2. Matthew Hayes (Cardinal Newman) 3. Austin Murphy (Pinewood)
113: 1. Mitchell Pennington (Cardinal Newman) 2. Matthew Latham (Pinewood) 3. Nate Shumpert (Ridge Christian)
120: 1. Evan Mikula (Cardinal Newman) 2. Jacob Garner (Augusta Christian) 3. Noah Ware (Hammond)
126: 1. Gantt Castles (Hammond) 2. Bernie Herbkersman (Cardinal Newman) 3. Woodson Bagnal (Heathwood Hall)
132: 1. Nick Maracich (Cardinal Newman) 2. Jon Howell (Ben Lippen) 3. Steven Kennedy (Pinewood)
138: 1. Chris Floyd (Oakbrook Prep) 2. Matthew Kay (Hammond) 3. Nathan Hayes (Cardinal Newman)
145: 1. Lang Phillips (Hammond) 2. Graham Temples (Ben Lippen) 3. Zach Heaton (Pinewood)
152: 1. Jeremy Hunt (Pinewood) 2. Matt Wilson (Cardinal Newman) 3. Shand Owens (Hammond)
160: 1. TJ Wilson (Pinewood) 2. Stephen Mitchell (Hammond) 3. DaeVonte Shanks (Augusta Christian)
170 1. James Patterson (Ben Lippen) 2. Reed Grubbs (Orangeburg Prep) 3. Garrett McNerney (Cardinal Newman)
182: 1. Dallas Dial (Pinewood) 2. Cody Sims (Hammond) 3. Patrick Nieri (Cardinal Newman)
195: 1. Calhoun McDougall (Hammond) 2. Jonathon Driggers (Ridge Christian) 3. Paul Dodds (Cardinal Newman)
220: 1. Cullen Carlin (Ben Lippen) 2. Ben Ridgeway (Orangeburg Prep) 3. Grayson Charpia (Pinewood)
285: 1. Desean McMillian (Cardinal Newman) 2. Cameron Poaps (Pinewood) 3. Chance Bolton (Orangeburg Prep)
SCISA Most Outstanding Wrestler: Gantt Castles (Hammond)