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
Darnell Brawner, HHIHS: Brawner has been one of the unsung heroes for the Seahawks, a steady force in the middle of the lineup who wins the matches he’s supposed to and wrestles tough against elevated competition. The junior is ranked sixth in Class 4A at 145 pounds, but he looks like a medal contender after an undefeated showing this week, including a pair of pins in a double dual Wednesday to help clinch the No. 2 playoff seed from Region 7-4A, and an impressive region title win over May River’s EJ Seman.
Colton Phares, BHS: Phares backed up his No. 1 state ranking at 182 pounds with a Region 7-4A title Saturday at home, beating second-ranked Chris Snowden of May River in the finals. The Eagles’ senior leader has had Snowden’s number all season, and it would appear they’re on a crash course for a couple more meetings at the Lower State and state meets, and after a runner-up showing at 170 pounds a year ago and a fourth-place finish at 145 as a sophomore, the gold is Phares’ to lose.
Israel Salmeron, BLHS: Salmeron popped up in the state rankings early in the season after a strong showing at the Coastal Clash at Hilton Head High, but he had since dropped off the radar. That’s no longer the case after a run to the Region 7-4A title at 220 pounds on Saturday, including a quality win over Hilton Head High’s Brayven Shapiro in the finals. With a top seed in the Lower State meet, he should be in good position to earn a trip to the state championships.
Sebastian Sanchez, BCHS: Sanchez has emerged as a key figure in a strong Dolphins lineup, and right when Battery Creek needed him. After having success at 152 pounds early in the season, the senior has slotted down to 145 to fill the hole left when Gunnar DeGroat suffered a season-ending injury. Now he’s a region champion and poised to make a run at a state medal.
Isaiah Wysong, MRHS: Wysong regained the upper hand in his season-long rivalry with Hilton Head High’s Drew Vigh to win the Region 7-4A title Saturday, but there could be as many as three more head-to-head meetings between the dual playoffs and the Lower State and state meets. After a perfect week, the sophomore Shark is in top form for a run at a state title.
Honorable Mention: DreShaun Brown, BCHS; Peter Adam Burvenich, BHS; Sam DeGroat, BCHS; Bradley Denmark, BLHS; Reily Doray, BCHS; Zao Estrada, HHIHS; Anthony Fripp, THA; KJ Holland, HHIHS; Gabe Juarez, MRHS; Emilio Mendoza, MRHS; Jase Reynolds, JPII; Siobhan Rogers, BLHS; Santiago Rueda, MRHS; Carter Saleeby, HHIHS; Jorge Valdez, MRHS; Zane Wilson, THA; Kohl Woodham, JPII
TEAMS OF THE WEEK
May River Sharks
The Sharks wrapped up another region title with a pair of dominant wins over James Island and Lucy Beckham on Wednesday, then they sent 13 of 14 wrestlers through to the Lower State qualifying meet with top-four finishes at the Region 7-4A tournament on Saturday. May River is once again a top seed in the Class 4A playoffs, and the Sharks will begin their quest to return to the state championship match for a second straight year when they host the first two rounds of the Class 4A dual playoffs Saturday. With an experienced and veteran core and a number of newcomers who are showing steady improvement, the Sharks shouldn’t have too much trouble advancing, but they could face a tough rematch with Hilton Head High in round 3.
Battery Creek Dolphins
The Dolphins dropped off the radar for a couple weeks with a lull in their schedule, but they announced their return with authority this week, winning the Region 8-3A dual title at home Wednesday before sending all 14 wrestlers through to the Lower State qualifying meet on Saturday in North Charleston. Battery Creek has gained more lineup flexibility in a dual format with several wrestlers dropping a weight class, and it makes the Dolphins a dangerous team in the Class 3A dual playoffs before several Dolphins make a run at individual state titles.
MATCH OF THE WEEK
SCHSL Dual Playoffs — 1st & 2nd Round (Saturday)
May River and Battery Creek will both be host sites for the first two rounds of the SCHSL state dual playoffs, as the Sharks and Dolphins both earned top seeds by virtue of winning their region titles. May River has a bye in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs and will take on the winner of Saturday’s first match between Airport and Myrtle Beach in the second round. The Dolphins open the Class 3A playoffs against the No. 4 seed from Region 6-3A, and with a win, they will advance to take on the other first-round winner at the site in the second round. Hilton Head High, Beaufort High, and Bluffton all open on the road Saturday.
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