Wave grapplers look to regain throne

The Green Wave wrestling team is hoping to get back on top this season.

After winning three straight state championships from 2004-2006, last year Summerville was eliminated from the playoffs in the Lowerstate championship match by Fort Dorchester, the eventual 2007 state champion.

This season, the Wave has five qualifiers back from the state individual championships, plus some other wrestlers who have shown potential.

"I like our chances," Wave coach Kenny Walker said. "Hopefully, this team will come together and get us back to the state finals. In addition to our returning qualifiers, we have some other guys returning who are really looking to make a name for themselves this season. We also have a couple of younger wrestlers who have done well in tournaments."

Eli Ashby has moved up to the 130-pound class after placing third at 119 last year. Mike Stanley, who placed third at 125, has moved up to 140. Ashley Braecklein returns after a fourth-place finish at135 last year. Heavyweight Andre Deweese and Berlin Oliver are the two other returning state qualifiers. Oliver finished third at 140 last year and qualified in 2006 at 125. This season, he will likely fill the Wave's 145 spot.

Josh Porter (152), Willie Thomas (189) and Bryce Lowell (119) return to the team after getting some valuable experience on the mat last year. Walker says he is looking to the three upperclassmen to take on leadership roles for the team. Many of the other Wave grapplers lack varsity experience, but still stand to spend time on the mat.

"I have five or six young guys talented enough to push for a spot," Walker said. "It wouldn't surprise me if a couple earn a starting position."

Summerville is off  to a good start. Last weekend, the team traveled to North Myrtle Beach and won its third straight Outback Classic Invitational title with a 242-point finish. Braecklein won the 135-pound class. Finishing in second place for their class were Aaron Hansen (112-pounds), Ashby (130), Stanley (140), Oliver (145) and Bobby Holmes (160). Corey Hall (103) and Thomas (189) placed third.

Contact Roger Lee at 873-9424 ext. 213 or rlee@journalscene.com.a