Each week throughout the high school wrestling season, we recognize the standouts from the previous week’s action with the Lowco Wrestling Spotlight presented by Reverence Wrestling Club.
We select our Lowco Hammers of the Week recognizing the week’s most impressive wrestlers, as well as a Team of the Week, and highlight the biggest match of the coming week.
Here’s this week’s installment of the Lowco Wrestling Spotlight presented by Reverence Wrestling Club.
LOWCO HAMMERS OF THE WEEK
Gabe Juarez, MRHS: Juarez just missed the cut for our last round of hammers, but we knew it was only a matter of time before he was on the list. The defending Class 4A state champion at 160 pounds, Juarez is ranked third at 170 this season with his sights on another state title. The junior was impressive at the May River Invitational, pinning his way to the finals before dropping a tough 5-2 decision to Camden County’s Cah’Mari Johnson.
Colton Phares, BHS: Another tournament, another trip to the finals for Phares, who is the top-ranked 182-pounder in Class 4A at SCMat.com. The senior had to fight his way to the finals at the May River Invitational, starting his week with two straight pins before grinding out two tough decisions to earn a shot at gold before dropping a 5-3 decision to Glynn Academy’s Jackson Wakeland in the finals.
Santiago Rueda, MRHS: Rueda captured his third straight tournament title with an impressive run through the May River Invitational. After two pins to start the week, the Sharks’ standout junior won three straight decisions by a combined four points, knocking off the second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers en route to the title, including a 9-7 decision over Camden County’s Porter Bryant in the 145-pound finals.
Drew Vigh, HHIHS: Vigh’s only loss of the week was a 4-3 heartbreaker at the hands of eventual champion Isaiah Wysong of May River in the semifinals, and Wysong won his title match easily. Vigh showed some determination after a tough loss to his rival, as the Seahawk senior bounced back to win a pair of hard-fought decisions to claim third place in a strong 132-pound bracket.
Isaiah Wysong, MRHS: The top-ranked 132-pounder in Class 4A at SCMat.com, Wysong backed up his lofty status with a 5-0 run at the May River Invitational. After three straight pins, he was able to grind out a 4-3 win over Vigh in what is growing into one of the Lowco’s best individual rivalries, then handled South Effingham’s Moose Bringer for a 6-0 win in the title bout.
Honorable Mention: Peter Adam Burvenich, BHS; Miguel Cavalheiro, MRHS; Sam Degroat, BCHS; Bradley Denmark, BLHS; John Legree, BHS; EJ Seman, MRHS; Brayven Shapiro, HHIHS
TEAMS OF THE WEEK
May River Sharks
It will be difficult to supplant the Sharks from this spot as they continue to develop younger wrestlers to slot into a lineup loaded with veteran leadership. The trio of Isaiah Wysong (132), Santiago Rueda (145), and Gabe Juarez (170) gives May River three bona fide hammers who are virtually guaranteed wins in a dual format and surefire finalists in individual tournaments, and Emilio Mendoza (120), EJ Seman (138), Miguel Cavalheiro (152), and Chris Snowden (182) are all ranked in the top five in Class 4A in their weight classes. The Sharks finished fifth among 31 teams at the May River Invitational, where they were the only team other than Georgia Class 7A power Camden County with multiple champs and three or more finalists.
Hilton Head Seahawks
The Seahawks had only two placers – and no finalists – at the May River Invitational, yet they still placed 12th among 31 teams, which is a testament to the depth coach Patrick Boulware and his staff are cultivating on the island. Senior leader Drew Vigh (132) is rock solid, and Darnell Brawner (145) and KJ Holland (152) provide a strong core in the middle of the lineup. And the Seahawks are still without star Zao Estrada, who was the first girl to place at the SCHSL state tournament when she took third last season and is ranked second in Class 4A at 113 pounds. It will be a difficult task to take down May River, but the Seahawks have the best shot of anyone in Region 7-4A to do it.
MATCH OF THE WEEK
Coach Trap Duals, Jan. 8
The most compelling action on the mat this week will take place Saturday at Battery Creek, where the Class 3A No. 8 Dolphins will host the Coach Trap Duals. There will be plenty of Lowco standouts on the mat with Class 4A No. 3 May River in the field, along with Class 4A No. 17 Beaufort High, Bluffton, Goose Creek, Waccamaw, and Bridges Prep. Other potential contenders include Class 2A/1A No. 3 Bamberg-Ehrhardt and SCISA No. 6 John Paul II. Wrestling begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.
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