The high school wrestling season is heating up with the postseason rapidly approaching, and the Lowco is well-represented in the most recent statewide rankings released by SCMat.com last week.
You can find the complete rankings here, but below is a look at the Lowco-area wrestlers poised to make a run at the podium next month.
TOP OF THE HEAP
Four Lowco wrestlers presently hold down the top ranking in their weight class and classification, giving them the inside track to state titles, and three of them have already won gold once.
• Santiago Rueda, MR (Class 4A 152): After wrestling at 138 the past two years and following up a runner-up finish in 2021 with a title last year, Rueda filled out some ahead of his senior year, but the two weight-class bump hasn’t derailed him. He’s an excellent defensive wrestler who is effective on top and difficult to score against.
• Gabe Juarez, MR (Class 4A 170): After winning the 160-pound title as a sophomore, Juarez came up short at 170 a year ago, but he is poised to make a run at a second gold as a senior with Eastside’s Lane Schrader as his top competition. Like Rueda, Juarez is exceptional on the ground and excellent defensively.
• William Jakeway, HHIHS (Class 4A 106): Jakeway burst onto the scene last season after moving in from Colorado and stormed to a third-place finish at 106 as a freshman. He claimed bronze by beating York’s Chris Propst, who is ranked second and among the top contenders along with Jakeway.
• Peter Torinese, JPII (SCISA 132): Torinese claimed a state title at 113 pounds as a freshman, then was runner-up at 132 last year as a junior. A veteran who has honed his skills for years under SC Wrestling Hall of Fame coach Bill Damude, Torinese should be well-position to claim a second title to cap his career.
IN THE MIX
It’s not where you’re ranked right now that matters, and the eight Lowco wrestlers sitting at No. 2 in their weight classes have a chip on their shoulder, especially those who have come close to claiming gold before, like two-time runner-up Colton Phares of Beaufort or 2021 runner-up Jack Brock of JPII. And don’t sleep on those ranked third or fourth, which include leading Lowco lady Zao Estrada, JPII senior Kohl Woodham, and up-and-coming May River junior Kaiden McCallum.
|Jude Witkowski, JPII (SCISA 106)||Zao Estrada, HH (4A 113)||Emilio Mendoza, MR (4A 126)|
|Isaiah Wysong, MR (4A 138)||Kaiden McCallum, MR (4A 120)||Daniel Seaglund, JPII (SCISA 285)|
|Joshua Sanders, CPA (SCISA 145)||Daniel Snyder, JPII (SCISA 120)|
|Gunner Degroat, BC (3A 152)||Archer Dewig, JPII (SCISA 138)|
|Jack Brock, JPII (SCISA 152)||Carter Sims, CPA (SCISA 152)|
|Darnell Brawner, HH (4A 160)||Kohl Woodham, JPII (SCISA 182)|
|Colton Phares, BFT (3A 182)||Israel Salmeron, BLUF (4A 220)|
|Jackson Sims, CPA (SCISA 195)|
DON’T COUNT THEM OUT
Once you get into the dance, you never know what might happen, and anyone on the SCMat.com radar at this juncture in the season has a real chance to make it to state and try to wreak havoc. Many of these wrestlers have been there before and come home empty-handed, and some have medals but have yet to claim gold, so they will be motivated.
|Elmer Linares, BC (3A 120)||Chase Hartman, BP (2A/1A 113)||Antonio McKnight, BFT (3A 132)||Josh Echeverria, MR (4A 195)|
|Sam Degroat, BC (3A 126)||Tayriq Legree, BFT (3A 120)||Gabe Fulton, BLUF (4A 160)|
|Devin Espinoza, HH (4A 170)||Hunter Smith, BC (3A 182)|
|Calvin Clayton, HH (4A 182)||Byron Douglas-Jackson, BP (2A/1A 170)|
|Colton Freeman, THA (SCISA 182)|
|Jeremiah Chavez, BP (2A/1A 285)|
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