HSWR: HHIHS tops Lower State field; Seahawks, Sharks send 7 to state

HSWR: HHIHS tops Lower State field; Seahawks, Sharks send 7 to state

Hilton Head High won the team title and claimed four individual titles, and the Seahawks and May River each sent seven wrestlers through to next weekend’s state tournament, leading a total of 18 state qualifiers from the Lowco at the SCHSL Class 4A Lower State wrestling meet Saturday at Bluffton High School.

The Seahawks racked up 186.5 team points to outpace Hartsville (163) and May River (148) for the team title. Hilton Head’s four champs were the most of any team, with the Sharks right behind as the only team with three champions. Three Beaufort High wrestlers and one wrestler from Bluffton also finished in the top four to qualify for state.

Hilton Head had four individual champs, and only one of them began the weekend at the No. 1 seed. That was Drew Vigh, who pinned season-long rival Isaiah Wysong of May River in the finals at 132 pounds. William Jakeway (106) and Darnell Brawner (145) each came from the No. 2 line to win gold, while Zao Estrada (113) was the No. 4 seed at 113 but rolled into the finals with by pinning top-seeded Lathan Garland and followed up with a pin of No. 2 seed Carson McGee in the championship round.

Two of May River’s three champions were top seeds who took care of business, as top-seeded Sanitago Rueda (138) collected a technical fall and two pins to win gold, and Gabe Juarez (170) breezed through with three pins as he seeks his second straight state title. Emilio Mendoza (120) joined them atop the podium with a major decision and two pins, including one against top-seeded Wyatt Wheeler in the finals.

Beaufort’s Colton Phares was the only other Lowco wrestler to win a title, picking up a pin and a pair of decisions to defend his top spot at 182. Teammate Peter Adam Burvenich (160) settled for silver along with Wysong and Hilton Head’s Chris Crosby (170) and KJ Holland (152), who lost to the top-seeded wrestlers in their brackets in the finals.

Hilton Head’s Devin Espinoza (160) and May River’s EJ Seman (145) each rebounded from tough semifinal losses to win two matches on the back side of the bracket and earn bronze. May River’s Chris Snowden (182) and Kaiden McCallum (113), Beaufort’s Tayriq Legree (120) and Bluffton Israel Salmeron (220) advanced to state with fourth-place finishes. Snowden, Legree, and Salmeron each bounced back after losing in the semis to win their next match and punch their ticket, but McCallum had a tougher road. After losing to the eventual runner-up in the quarterfinals, the seventh-seeded McCallum won three straight matches, including victories over the Nos. 1 and 3 seeds, to qualify for state.

The state tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at the Anderson Civic Center.

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