ROCK HILL — In one of its toughest duals of the season, the numbers game finally caught up with Fort Mill’s wrestling team.
Fort Mill fell to No. 1-ranked Rock Hill 54-21 Thursday to drop to second place in Region III-AAAA as the Bearcats took home the region title.
In a rare occasion, Fort Mill, ranked 13th in the state, wrestled people in their regular weight classes because Jackets’ head coach Chris Brock knew the match-up with Rock Hill, rated tops in S.C., would probably call for that.
“We wrestled up all year long, but Rock Hill is strong,” Brock said.
Because of that inflexibility to move wrestlers around to other weight classes, and trying to employ some strategy, Fort Mill forfeited three weight classes instead of two, which they normally have had to do this season. Thus, if they could have won out with the heart and soul of their line up still to wrestle, the gamble would have paid off.
That didn’t happen as Fort Mill fell to 14-3 on the season and 5-1 in the region.
After the three straight forfeits at 160, 170 and 182, Fort Mill senior BJ Hurst pinned Emilo Nevarez at 195 pounds in the first period to close the gap to 30-12, but the Jackets dropped four straight matches after that, all by pin fall which mathematically took them out of any chance of winning.
The Jackets’ Gray Hinson (220) and Matt Neill (285) both lost by pin fall.
Then in a shocking turn of events, Fort Mill’s John Brotemarkle, ranked eighth in the state, was pinned by unranked Coleman Hoffman, who was filling in for a sick Devon Faile at 106 pounds. That was followed by another upset – second-ranked AJ Leitten falling to sixth-ranked Logan Sexton by pin fall in the second period, which took the air out of Fort Mill.
“The lower weights, we have always depended on them to score us points,” Brock said. “We had our chances but it just didn’t happen.”
Fort Mill did rally some as Eddie Byrams, ranked No. 1 in the state at 120 pounds, and Jake Strong, ranked fifth in the state, both picked up wins. Byrams won by pin in the third period and Strong outlasted third-ranked Noah Mead 14-10 for the win.
The match started at 132 pounds with Nick Gray falling to Tyler Wilkens and Austin Gard (138) falling to Babe Rigby, both by pin fall.
Fort Mill picked up its first win of the evening as Nigel Bostick beat Christian Moore 5-2 at 145 pounds, and Jack Debbout beat Sam Swoope 6-0 at 152 pounds.
Fort Mill now takes on Nation Ford at home this week for its final dual match of the regular season.