Green Wave grapplers claim state titles

  • Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dan Brown/Journal Scene Daniel Smith, 145-pound champion


Second place simply wouldn’t do for a hand full of Summerville wrestlers.

Five Green Wave grapplers capped their season Saturday by claiming a state title at the

2014 Class AAAA Individual Wrestling Finals held at the Anderson Civic Center. It was a big day for the Summerville team, which a week and a half before had suffered a heartbreaking 28-23 loss to Rock Hill in the Dual State Championship match.

“I’m very pleased with how our guys bounced back from the defeat in the Dual State Championship,” Summerville coach Daryl Tucker said. “That next day was really tough emotionally for the guys but we had a long talk about the Rock Hill match, refocused and decided we needed to have a good showing at the individual tournament. I knew we had a chance to bring home some gold medals.”

James Sass pinned A.J. Leitten of Fort Mill in the finals for the 106-pound weight class to earn a state title. Daniel Smith earned a 5-4 decision over Justin Mitchell of Dutch Fork to claim the 145-pound championship. John Van Slooten earned a 6-4 decision over Charlie Connor of Byrnes to win the 152-pound title. Chad Wood earned a 5-4 decision over Thomas Mabry of Gaffney to earn the 160-pound title. Anthony Collins earned an 8-3 decision over Michael Manning of Lexington to take home the gold at 170.

Van Slooten will graduate with four individual state championships. In addition to the one he earned Saturday, he has a Class A title at 145, Class AA title at 145 and Class AAA title at 140. Saturday marked the first state championships for the other Green Wave wrestlers.

Summerville had two other wrestlers finish in the Top 4 for their class. Tyler Fachko placed fourth at 126 and Julian Gibbs placed fourth at 220.

“We set a goal to win the traditional state title and we did that,” Tucker said. “Once James Sass and Daniel Smith won, you could just feel the momentum. It helped that we had four guys wrestle back to back. Guys were wrestling off the emotion of their teammates. None of them wanted a second place medal. That area of the lineup has been solid for us all year and I felt very confident when each of them took the mat.”

Summerville hasn’t claimed that many gold medals at the tournament since 2004 when the Green Wave brought home six individual state championships.

This year, Rock Hill only advanced one wrestler to the finals. Cameron Bell won the 220-pound class.

Cane Bay’s Matt Rudy earned a 3-1 decision over Landon Sayegh of Hillcrest to take home the 195-pound state championship.

Both Ashley Ridge and Fort Dorchester had three wrestlers finish among the Top 4 for their class, but none won a state title.

Ashley Ridge’s Ben Whitney placed second at 113 after losing an 8-5 decision to Zack Clary of Gaffney in the finals. Christian Cuttino placed fourth at 138 and Kenny Glover placed fourth at 285.

For Fort Dorchester, A.J. Alford placed third at 152 while Tyre Wright (120) and Jacob Hutchinson (170) placed fourth in their class.

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