LEXINGTON — Both the Nation Ford and Fort Mill High wrestling teams had mixed performances at the U.S. Military Duals at Lexington High School Dec. 30-31.
The Falcons finished seventh, while Fort Mill’s Yellow Jackets finished ninth in the 15-team tournament won by Summerville. An increasingly improving York Comprehensive High team finished fifth in the tournament.
Nation Ford started the tournament off by beating Sumter 41-36 with wins coming from Jeremy Kishbaugh (106), Benjamin Crite (113), Collin Godbout (126), Michael Allen (138), Houston Vandiver (145), Justin Ettell (182) and Brady Hensley (195).
The Falcons did not have to face Fort Dorchester, which withdrew from the tournament at the last minute. Nation Ford won the match by forfeit before losing 52-18 to defending 4A state champions Lexington. Winning for Nation Ford in the Lexington match was Kishbaugh, Robert Land (160) and Major Strait (220).
However, because of the forfeit win over Fort Dorchester, Nation Ford moved into the gold bracket of the tournament guaranteeing the Falcons a top eight finish. The Falcons drew Ashley Ridge in the quarterfinals, falling 59-9. The team’s only wins came from Godbout and Buck Barfield (132), who won by forfeit.
That dropped the Falcons into facing York, and the team lost 60-24, this time against a Region III opponent. York went up 36-0 with four pins in the first six matches. Kishbaugh got the Falcons on the board with a win at 106 pounds. Godbout and Allen won as well, before Elliot Wallace finished things off for Nation Ford by winning at 152 pounds.
That loss put Nation Ford in the seventh place match against Beaufort and it pulled out a hard fought win 44-27. Down 27-25 with four matches left, the Falcons got key wins from Allen, Vandiver and Wallace to clinch the victory. Others winning for Nation Ford were Crite, Godbout, Land, Sean Davis (170), Strait and Hensley.
Despite finishing on a good note, Nation Ford head coach Leon Boulware said there is still a long way to go.
“We found out what we got to work on,” he said. “If we get some of our starters back, we will be fine.”
Fort Mill was also missing some wrestlers and the Jackets went into every match during the tournament down 12-0forfeiting in two weight classes – 182 pounds and heavyweight. The Yellow Jackets dropped the first two matches of the tournament, which were also the team’s first two losses of the year.
“We have enough people to win,” said Jackets head coach Chris Brock. “We just have to score a minimum of 36 to 40 points to do it. We are in a tough situation.”
Scoring that minimum wasn’t enough against Ashley Ridge, as Fort Mill fell 34-33. Up 33-31, Fort Mill lost its last match at 220 pounds after Gray Hinson fell 3-2 after his opponent was awarded a tie-breaker point.
Winning for Fort Mill against Ashley Ridge were John Brotemarkle (106), AJ Leitten (113), Eddie Byrams (120), Jake Strong (126), Nick Gray (132), Nigel Bostick (152) and BJ Hurst (195).
The same thing happened against Dutch Fork, as Fort Mill lost 38-37. Coming down to the last match, the Jackets needed a technical fall from Brotemarkle, but could only manage a 2-0 decision. Also winning for Fort Mill against Dutch Fork were Leitten, Byrams, Strong, Hinson, Hurst and Jack Debbout (160).
Fort Mill got back on the right path against North Myrtle Beach, winning 54-27, with wins coming from Brotemarkle, Byrams, Strong, Gray, Bostick, Debbout, Hinson, Hurst and Austin Gard (138). However, the first two losses bumped the Jackets down to the silver bracket, meaning the best they could finish would be ninth. To do so they had to beat River Bluff after getting a bye from the absent Fort Dorchester team. Fort Mill powered past River Bluff, winning 53-20 after getting victories from Brotemarkle, Leitten, Byrams, Strong, Gray, Bostick, Debbout, Hinson, Hurst and Ian Baird (170).
In the ninth-place match against Chapin, Fort Mill struggled early, trailing 15-0, but then got seven straight pins from Hurst, Brotemarkle, Leitten, Byrams, Strong, Gray and Gard, which clinched the win for Fort Mill. Also winning for the Jackets were Bostick and Evan Stankovitz (152).