ROCK HILL --
The Fort Mill High wrestling team will be sending nearly a dozen wrestlers to the Upper State tournament later this month.
Fort Mill qualified 11 wrestlers and Nation Ford will be sending six after last week’s Region III-AAAA tournament in which three Jacket and one Falcon wrestlers won region titles.
The Jackets sent 13 wrestlers into the region tournament with two coming up short and missing the top five, which guaranteed the other 11 a spot in the Upper State tournament Feb. 15-16 at Laurens High School.
“To have 11 of 13 wrestlers [qualify] isn’t anything to complain about,” said Fort Mill head coach Chris Brock. “We had a couple of guys that came in here that weren’t ready. We knew we would have some guys that would have a hard time making it through. But they woke up and came back around. We sort of redeemed ourselves.”
Fort Mill took two region titles at 113 pounds with junior Eddie Byrams winning over Rock Hill’s Logan Sexton by pin in the second period and at 120 pounds as junior Tyler Turner beat York’s Coleman Southard 9-2.
They rounded out their region titles as senior Nick Leitten beat Rock Hill’s Bishop Ashley in the 145-pound final in a 3-1 decision.
Fort Mill senior Zach Dulcie, who wrestled for the first time since the middle of December because of a knee injury, finished second at heavyweight, as did junior BJ Hurst at 195 pounds, but not without controversy. Hurst lost to Rock Hill’s Cameron Bell 5-1 after Bell was awarded two points for a takedown that occurred out of bounds.
Besides those winning region titles for Fort Mill, the Jackets had eight others qualify for the Upper State tournament. They are John Brotemarkle (106), Jake Strong (126), Nigel Bostick (138), Malik Long (152), Brandon Mayer (160) and Kaleb Cisco (182). Brotemarkle, Strong and Bostick all finished third in the tournament. Mayer finished fourth and Long and Cisco both finished fifth.
Nation Ford’s lone region title came with senior Josh Driscoll winning at 220 pounds over Northwestern’s Russell Hubbs 6-4.
Falcons Michael Allen (132) and Brady Hensley (170) both finished second after losing in the finals of their weight class.
The Falcons brought 10 wresters into the region tournament and left with six punching a ticket to Laurens. Also going to the Upper State tournament for Nation Ford are Colin Godbout (126), Houston Vandiver (145) and Nick Raniszewski (152).
Raniszewski finished fourth in the tournament while Godbout and Vandiver both finished fifth.