By John Smithson
The North Myrtle Beach High School wrestling team beat visiting Beaufort last Monday 42-31 to earn a berth in the Lower State Championship match but then lost to Hartsville on Wednesday by a 42-29 score.
The match against Beaufort got off to a good start for the Chiefs as their 220-pound wrestler Clay Butler pinned Degin Lowery in :59. Malachi Black (285) then took only 47 seconds to pin Terrence Wilson and the Chiefs had a 12-0 lead.
As the lower weight wrestlers continued, Beaufort’s Gary Bayne (106) won a major decision over Jackson Smith with a 15-6 score after the three two-minute periods and Beaufort trailed 12-4. The Chiefs Jayson Moss (113) then won a major decision over Tayriq Legree by a 16-7 margin and a Chiefs 16-4 lead.
Peyton Bayne (120) then pinned NMB’s Justin Marinellie in 3:07 to cut the lead to 16-10. The Chiefs won the next two as Naszeir Bellamy (126) pinned Jaidon Fu in 4:29 and Jaylan Moses (132) followed by pinning Ryley King and the Chiefs led 28-10.
Beaufort responded with Matthew Durrance’s pin of Javante Stephens (138) in 1:37. Once again North Myrtle Beach won the next two matches as Blake Jenkins (145) pinned Colton Phares in 1:58 and the Chiefs Jackie Gore (152) pinned Kaywan Johnson in 3:01 and the Chiefs led 40-16.
Beaufort tried to make it close over the last four matches as they won in the 160-pound class, James Dagin over Andre Giddens 22-6 and then Michael Cenci (170) took a major decision by a 12-4 score over Rashad Dawud. That cut the Chiefs lead to 39-25, with North Myrtle Beach losing a point on a call against the Chiefs bench.
Chase Simmons (182) clinched it for the Chiefs by winning a hard-fought 7-6 decision over Jeremiah Simmons and the Chiefs led 42-25. Beaufort’s John Legree (195) pinned Seth Clewis in 4:21 for the final points and North Myrtle Beach was going to the Lower State, winning 42-21.
Following the Chiefs win coach Chris Mazyck said the Lower State match would be a “donnybrook.” The Chiefs were set to go on the road but Hartsville surprised South Aiken and top-seeded Dreher to earn the right to a rematch with 6AAAA North Myrtle Beach last Wednesday at North Myrtle Beach.
The Chiefs had beaten Hartsville at their match in January by a 43-30 score; however, based on the way the Red Foxes wrestled, they were a different team.
The Chiefs once again expected a good start as Clay Butler shook hands at the 220-pound weight but less than 20 seconds later Butler was on the mat grabbing his shoulder in pain. After several minutes Butler was escorted off the mat and Colby Catoe had the first six Hartsville points (injury forfeit) and North Myrtle Beach had dropped a match they expected to win.
The Chiefs Malachi Black (285) followed by pinning Byron Coe in 0:45 to even the score to 6-6. Jackson Smith(106) won the first of the lower weight matches with a 16-1 technical fall over Josh Atkins and it was 11-6 but the Chiefs then lost the next six matches to dig a hole they could never wrestle out of.
Kimball Moore(113) won a decision over Jacob Moss, who led 1-0 after two periods but fell 4-2. Justin Marinellie trailed 3-2 after the first period but was pinned early in the second 2:32. Naszeir Bellamy (126), who trailed 13-5 after two periods, was disqualified in the third period for stalling and Hartsville led 21-11. They increased their margin to 27-11 when Logan Berger (132) pinned Jaylan Moses late in period two 3:54. The next two matches were hard-fought and close but the Chiefs lost both, first Gabe Moore (138) decisioned Javante Stephens 10-8 and Luke Phillips (145) won an 11-8 decision over Blake Jenkins. With a 33-11 lead, Hartsville was able to clinch the match with five matches to go.
The Chiefs needed to sweep those remaining contests. They got the first two as Jackie Gore (152) pinned Alex Hunt in 3:39 and Andre Giddens pinned Wyatt Wilson (160). Hartsville locked it up as Robert Williamson (170) decisioned Rashad Dawud 8-3 and Richard Williamson (195) pinned NMB’s Seth Clewis right after Chase Simmons (182) got the last points for the Chiefs with a pin over Josh Mullins in 1:05.
The Hartsville 42-29 victory sent the Red Foxes to the state finals on Saturday where perennial power Eastside beat them to end their chances.
North Myrtle Beach coach Chris Mazyck was obviously disappointed after he and his team congratulated Hartsville. “Wrestling is a game of matchups and I thought we had some good matchups in the heavier weights but it just didn’t work out. Losing in that first match really hurt. We gave up six points. While we came back, we couldn’t overcome that,” he said.
Mazyck praised his opponent and his team. “My hat’s off to them but my hat is also off to our kids who worked so hard all year. We had a special group of five seniors who worked very hard and were the guts of our team. They have carried this team all year and today four of the five pinned their opponent for 24 of our points,” Mazyck added.
“There’s no reason to hang our heads. We just have to get back and work hard to get ready for next season,” Mazyck concluded.While the loss to Hartsville eliminated the Chiefs from the state playoffs, the Chiefs wrestlers will still compete in the Lower State (individual) Tournament at Bluffton High School February 21-22.