HSWR: Rueda takes gold, leads Lowco’s 12 state medalists

HSWR: Rueda takes gold, leads Lowco’s 12 state medalists

The Lowco sent 24 wrestlers to the SCSHL State Championship in Anderson this weekend, and 12 of them will come home with hardware, including one with a gold medal.

May River junior Santiago Rueda claimed the Lowco’s only state title Saturday, rallying from a three-point deficit in the final minute of regulation and scoring a sudden victory takedown over Indian Land’s Max Yegge to win the Class 4A 138-pound crown.

Hilton Head High’s Drew Vigh (132), May River’s Gabe Juarez (170), and Beaufort High’s Colton Phares (182) all settled for silver after dropping tough decisions in the finals — and both Vigh and Juarez lost heartbreakers in overtime. Hilton Head’s William Jakeway (106), Darnell Brawner (145), and KJ Holland (152) all placed third along with May River’s Isaiah Wysong (132) and Battery Creek’s Sam Degroat (120), and Hilton Head’s Zao Estrada (113), May River’s Emilio Mendoza (120), and Battery Creek’s Dre’Shaun Brown (182) finished fourth.

Rueda appeared to be in trouble after Yegge scored the first takedown of the match with 1:24 left in the third period for a 3-0 lead, but the May River junior managed a reversal with just over a minute on the clock and began working to turn Yegge to his back. Already warned for stalling early in the period, Yegge was hit again with 31 seconds remaining, giving Rueda a point and tying the match. Rueda was the aggressor in the neutral position throughout the match, and he got in on a double-leg in the sudden victory period and finished it to take the gold.

Vigh nearly capped his fantastic Seahawk career with an elusive state title, pushing Eastside’s Colt Schrader to overtime before giving up a takedown in sudden victory as Schrader captured his second straight state title. Schrader scored a first-period takedown but was hit with two stalling calls in the period, trimming the margin to 2-1. Vigh was able to ride Schrader for the entire second period and scored an escape with 20 seconds left to force overtime, but Schrader came up with the clinching takedown for the sudden victory.

Juarez just missed claiming his second consecutive gold, falling in double overtime to Greenwood freshman Cason Howle in the finals. Howle took the lead with a second-period takedown but was hit for two stalling points in the third period to tie it up. Neither wrestler could score a takedown in sudden victory, sending it to a tiebreaker in which each wrestler chooses his starting position for two 30-second periods. Howle went on bottom in the first period and scored a reversal with 10 seconds left, and Juarez went on top for the second period but was unable to turn Howle.

Phares found difficulty generating scoring chances against Eastside’s Roy Price in the 182-pound final, as Price picked up takedowns in each of the first two periods and tacked on a stalling point to make it 5-0 before trading reversals with Phares in the final 23 seconds of the second period. Phares went on bottom in the third period looking to chip away, but Price prevented him from scoring and claimed his first state title after three third-place finishes.

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