Four Lowco wrestlers will go for gold on Saturday in Anderson after picking up two victories Friday to reach the finals at the SCHSL Wrestling State Championships.
May River’s Santiago Rueda and Gabe Juarez, Hilton Head High’s Drew Vigh, and Beaufort High’s Colton Phares are guaranteed silver and will wrestle for Class 4A state titles after taking down their first two opponents, while another eight wrestlers from the Lowco went 1-1 on Friday and are just one win away from securing a top-four finish and a medal.
Juarez will try for back-to-back titles when he faces Greenwood freshman Cason Howle in the 170-pound final. The May River junior spent less than two minutes on the mat Friday, pinning his first two opponents in 54 and 53 seconds.
Vigh, Rueda, and Phares are all back in the state finals after settling for silver last year. It’s the last chance for Vigh, who pinned his way into the semifinals and cruised into the 132-pound title bout with a 14-4 win over Travelers Rest’s Dylan Coker. He will take on Eastside’s Colt Schrader, the 120-pound champ a year ago, in the finals.
Rueda was the runner-up at 138 last season, and he’s poised to move to the top of the podium at the same weight class Saturday. After a major decision in the first round, the junior pinned South Aiken’s Ian Shaffer in the first period to advance to a title clash with Indian Land’s Max Yegge, who placed third at 113 in 2020.
Phares finished second at 170 last year, and he’s guaranteed of his third medal in just his junior year. He had to grind out a 4-2 win over Greenwood’s Owen Sargent in the opening round but pinned North Augusta’s David Havasy in the second period in the semifinals, setting up a terrific matchup against three-time bronze medalist Roy Price of Eastside in the 182-pound final.
Hilton Head’s William Jakeway (106), Darnell Brawner (145), and KJ Holland (152) all won their first match before falling in the semifinals, as did May River’s Emilio Mendoza (120) and Isaiah Wysong (132), leaving them in need of one victory Saturday to secure a medal and two to claim bronze.
Battery Creek’s Reily Doray (113), Sam Degroat (120), and Dre’Shaun Brown (182) are in the same position after losing their semifinal matches in Class 3A.
The rest of the Lowco contingent will need to win twice to earn a medal after losing in the first round. That’s the task ahead for Hilton Head’s Zao Estrada (113), Devin Espinoza (160), and Chris Crosby (170); May River’s Kaiden McCallum (113), EJ Seman (145), and Chris Snowden (182); Beaufort’s Tayriq Legree (120), and Peter Adam Burvenich (160); and Bluffton’s Israel Salmeron (220) in Class 4A, as well as Battery Creek’s Elmer Linares (126), Sebastian Sanchez (145), and Hunter Smith (170) in Class 3A.Wrestling resumes with the consolation rounds at 9 a.m. Saturday with the consolation finals scheduled for 1 p.m. and the championship finals at 3:30 p.m. Fans can follow the action live here, or subscribe to the NFHS Network to watch live video.
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