It started with a shocker, but the Hilton Head High wrestling team was able to survive a tough test on the road Saturday to open the Class 4A dual playoffs with a 45-30 win over South Aiken.
The match got off to an inauspicious beginning for the Seahawks, as freshman sensation Zao Estrada suffered her first loss of the season, getting caught mid-tilt and finding herself in a tight headlock.
But her teammates picked her up.
James Levy, Darnell Browner, and Alex Ruckno all recorded key pins to help HHIHS dig out of an early 15-6 hole before the Thoroughbreds rallied back with back-to-back pins. But the Seahawks closed it out with four straight victories — two forfeits and two pins — to clinch it.
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It was 15-6 before Drew Vigh earned a decision at 132 and Browner fought off his back in the first period to score a massive second-period pin to pull the Seahawks even.
After South Aiken pulled back ahead with a decision, Ruckno followed Browner’s lead with a second-period pin after a wild opening period to swing the momentum back to the Seahawks.
Two straight South Aiken pins put the Seahawks against the wall, but Chase McCracken and Brayven Shapiro won by forfeit with Jesse Salinas and Peter Rougeux pins mixed in, as Hilton Head High closed out the match strong.
The Seahawks will travel to North Myrtle Beach on Monday with the winner advancing to the Lower State championship match Wednesday. May River will be in the other semifinal, hosting Hartsville at 5 p.m.