Hilton Head High’s wrestlers earned another crack at their Lowco rivals, and this time, a date in the state championship match will be on the line.
The Seahawks and North Myrtle Beach battled right down to the wire on Monday, but a clutch third-period pin from Chase McCracken late in the contest propelled the ‘Hawks to a 43-33 road victory, setting up a Class 4A Lower State final date with region foe May River on Wednesday.
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Hilton Head’s Zao Estrada showed her toughness as the meet kicked off, rebounding from a disappointing loss in round one to defeat Jackson Smith by decision and put her squad on the board. The Seahawks fed off of Zao’s momentum, as a second-period pin by the reliable James Levy and another in the third by standout Drew Vigh propelled HHIHS to a 16-9 advantage.
An early pin by Naszeir Bellamy got the Chiefs right back in it, but the Seahawks responded with a KJ Holland forfeit victory and Alex Ruckno pin to take a commanding 31-15 lead. The Chiefs weren’t ready to give up the campaign just yet, as two second-period pins cut the deficit to just four.
All eyes were on McCracken, who stepped into battle wrestling up a weight class with just a few bouts remaining. After taking the upper hand in the first period and adding another takedown in the second, the junior locked it down in the third, pinning his opponent to send the Seahawks to the Lower State championship.
The stage is set for an all-Lowco showdown Wednesday night at the Shark Tank, as the Seahawks battle May River for a place in the SCHSL 4A state championship. Hilton Head will have revenge in mind after a decisive 61-14 loss to the Sharks three weeks ago.
By Wes Kerr