Green Wave wrestlers return to championship game
The Green Wave wrestling team has advanced to the Class AAAA state championship match for the first time since 2008.
Summerville earned a 33-20 win over Lexington Saturday in the Lowerstate title match to advance to the state finals. The Green Wave will face Rock Hill at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the state championship match to be held at White Knoll High School.
“Nothing is better than this,” Summerville senior Tyler Fachko said. “We have worked so hard all year and really came together as a family. All the time we put in is starting to pay off so we are ready for that final match.”
It is the second consecutive year Summerville faced Lexington in the semi-finals. Last year, Lexington earned a 33-25 win so Saturday’s victory was particularly sweet for the Green Wave.
“We are more focused and more determined this year,” Fachko said. “We have really bonded and are all in it together. Our goal all year has been to win state and we aren’t going to give up on it.”
Saturday’s victory didn’t come easy. Summerville only earned bonus points in two weight classes. Ngai Murray won by pinfall in the 108-pound class and John Van Slooten received a forfeit at 154, the final match of the evening.
Summerville won three matches by a single point and another by 2 points. The Green Wave also lost two matches in overtime.
Wrestlers bumping up weight classes to face ranked wrestlers in those classes paid off for Summerville. Anthony Collins earned a 7-2 decision over a ranked opponent at 172. Chad Wood, Corey Alumbaugh and Fachko also bumped up. None won, but they all stayed off their back to limit the Lexington points. Wood took the state’s top-ranked 184-pound wrestler into a third overtime period before losing 2-1.
Summerville’s Jamal Lucas started the evening off by earning a 4-2 decision at 162. Collins followed with his decision to give Summerville a 6-0 lead.
Lexington’s Daniel Bannister followed with his overtime decision at 184 to give the Wildcat fans something to cheer about. However, Green Wave coach Daryl Tucker wasn’t discouraged.
“Anthony beat a good wrestler to give us a little momentum and then Chad kept it going,” Tucker said. “That Bannester is an animal so for Chad to take him to overtime kept us in the match emotionally.”
Andrew Carnes won a major decision at 197 to give Lexington a 7-6 lead but it didn’t last long.
In the next match Summerville’s Julian Gibbs injured his shoulder on a take down that landed out of bounds in the first round but the Green Wave grappler fought through the pain to earn a 1-0 decision and return momentum back to Summerville. Devin Kicklighter (287), Guy Murray (108) and Sass (115) won the next three matches to give Summerville a 21-7 lead.
Lexington responded by winning the next three weight classes for a 21-20 score.
Then Robert English won a 6-5 decision at 140 and Daniel Smith won a 2-1 decision at 147 to clinch the victory for Summerville.
With the Green Wave up by 7, the Lexington coach conceded the match and forfeited the final weight class.
“In a semi-final match you have to wrestle through injury and luckily Julian did that for us,” Tucker said. “English is probably wrestling in the toughest weight class in the state and he is getting better and better. I’ve been telling him he would win a big match for us and he stepped up big tonight when we needed him. Top to bottom everyone gave a great effort tonight and that is what you need to get to the state championships.”
Summerville 33, Lexington 20
108 - Murray (S) p. Mondro; 115 – Sass (S) d. Elliott 9-3; 122 – Shealy (L) d. Connelly 11-9; 128 – Meyers (L) p. Delancey; 134 - Szalwinski (L) md. Fachko 13-4; 140 – English (S) d. Berg 6-5; 147 - Smith (S) d. Comstock 2-1; 154 – Van Slooten (S) fft.; 162 - Lucas (S) d. Sinnot 4-2; 172 – Collins (S) d. Manning 7-2; 184 – Bannister (L) d. Wood 2-1; 197 – Carnes (L) md. Alumbaugh 20-7; 222- Gibbs (S) d. Austin 1-0; 287 – Kicklighter (S) d. Johnson 10-6.