Friday, January 31, 2014
The Green Wave wrestling team is out to make some noise during the playoffs.
After falling to Lexington last year in the Lower State championship match of the state team playoffs, Summerville has a very lofty goal this year. The team also has several wrestlers who are eyeing an individual state title.
“We had a good team last year and we thought we could beat Lexington but they were tougher than we thought,” Summerville senior Chad Wood said. “We are more of a family this year and we are more prepared. I think we can win it all.”
The Summerville wrestlers refer to themselves as the Wolf Pack.
“The idea is that we need to stay together and work together,” Wood said. “If we provide for each other and help each other, we will be strong.”
Every pack needs leaders and for the Green Wave grapplers that role falls on the team captains, Wood, fellow senior Daniel Smith and junior James Sass.
“If anyone is down before a match we do whatever we can to get them up,” Sass said. “Usually it just takes reminding them that it takes us all to get where we want to be.”
Of course they also lead by example. All three captains have been stellar on the mat.
Wood and Sass both only have three losses this season. For Sass, two came to out-of-state opponents and the other came to a wrestler from a higher weight class. Two of Wood’s losses came by a single point to the same opponent and the other came to a cross-town rival shortly after Wood broke his thumb.
“At every match, I see it as my job to get the team 6 points,” Wood said. “If our top wrestlers get their 6 points it makes it easier for the other guys. It’s also important for us to coach the other guys when we can and make sure they are always ready to wrestle.”
The captains all agree on what the key to another deep playoff run is.
“We need to stay off our backs,” Sass said. “We have a strong lineup so we are going to score points. We just can’t afford to slip up and give up pins. We got a taste last season and that makes us want a championship even more. We have wrestlers who should do well as individuals but the only thing that matters to us right now is that team title.”
The first round of the state duals is scheduled for Feb. 8. As the Region 8-AAAA champion, Summerville will host the No. 3 seed from Region 7-AAAA.
The Green Wave will enter the playoffs with a 29-1 record. Summerville is ranked second among 4-A teams in the state behind Rock Hill in the coaches association rankings released Jan. 10.
The quest for individual state wrestling championships begins Saturday with the Region 8 tournament in Bluffton. The top four wrestlers from each weight class advance to the Lower State tournament to be held Feb. 22.
Sass is out to top his second-place finish in the 106-pound division at last year’s state tournament. Wood placed second at 152 last year but plans to wrestle at 160 for this year’s individual tournaments.
John Van Slooten won two state championships at the Class 1A-2A level and one at the Class 3A level before he transferred to Summerville. He is hoping to win a 4-A title in the 145-pound weight division.
Other Summerville wrestlers who are ranked and looking to earn an individual championship include Justin Connelly (113), Tyler Fachko (126), Smith (152), Anthony Collins (160), Corey Alumbaugh (182) and Julian Gibbs (220).