The North Myrtle Beach Chiefs wrestling team beat an excellent Airport team 44-22 last Wednesday to win the Lower State Championship but lost the state title 66-15 to last year’s champ, Eastside High School, in last Saturday’s finals held at Airport High School.
The Chiefs wrestlers were at home for the lower state match with Airport in the fourth round of the playoffs, and in the (220) first match Curtis Wolfe showed why he is a top performer with an 11-0 win over Airport’s Cory Rivers. (285) The Chiefs Harry Locklear then won a major decision over Jacob McNamar by an 11-0 score.
(106) Holden Williams of Airport won by forfeit to cut the Chiefs lead to 8-6. NMB came right back in the (113) class as EJ Vereen pinned Carbin Nelson in the first two-minute period. (120) North Myrtle Beach’s Naszeir Bellamy came back from an 8-4 deficit in the first period to go in front in the third period for an 18-12 decision. Then (126) Airport’s Gavin Epps got them closer by pinning Rodrigo Velazquez in 4:50 and a 17-12 score.
The Chiefs got right back on the offensive. (132) Jaylan Moses decisioned Airport’s Alfonso Chavero 6-2. (138) MJ Michaud of NMB also won a decision over Jackson Aaron by a 13-7 count and (145) Chiefs Jackie Gore decisioned Mark Hiers 9-2 and the Chiefs lead was up to 26-12.
(152) Airport took the next match as Gavin Carrion won a major decision over Blake Jenkins by a 12-1 margin. The Chiefs then put the match out of reach by winning three of the last four matches. (160) Andre Giddens pinned Airport’s Bryson Platt in 4:28. (170) Chase Simmons took down the Eagles Weston Campbell with a pin in 2:25.
(182) Matt Earp of Airport pinned Javante Stephens in 44 seconds but Marcelous Livingston closed out the 195 class by pinning Steve Salgado in 3:44 for the 44-22 score and the Lower State title.
Chiefs head coach Chris Mazyck called his team’s victory “impressive. This is a young team and there are no words to express how proud I am of them. They were focused and poised and really wanted this. They executed their moves and fought hard. They work hard every day and they deserve it. This community deserves it,” Mazyck said.
The Chiefs final playoff match at Airport High School on Saturday, Feb. 9 was decided early as the Eastside Eagles team from Greenville County pinned the first five Chiefs wrestlers they faced. (132) Tucker Allen pinned Jaylon Moses in 1:30. (138) Riley Augustine pinned MJ Michaud in 1:25, (145) Ben Maholtz pinned Chiefs Jackie Gore in 2:43, (152) Bryson Ethington pinned Blake Jenkins in 1:50 and (160) Ryan Augustine pinned Andre Giddens in 3:32.
(170) NMB’s Chase Simmons got the Chiefs on the scoreboard when he pinned Eastside’s Miles Scott in 2:56. The Eagles Jake Peery pinned Javante Stephens in 1:22, Chase Barnes pinned Chief Marcelous Livingston in 2:33 before the Chiefs Curtis Wolfe pinned Jorge Esparza in 2:46 in the 220 pound class.
Malachi Black (285) of North Myrtle Beach followed Wolfe with a 4-2 decision over JC Whisonant. The Eagles closed out the match with four straight pins, (106) Roy Price over Yeriel Reyes in :47, Aden Leonard over EJ Vereen in 1:59, (120) Jordan White over Naszeir Bellamy in 1:17, and (126) Taz Nelson pinned Rodrigo Velazquez in 4:24 to make the final score 66-15.
Chiefs Assistant coach Jim Strillacci knew it was going to be a tough match. “We were the underdogs. We’re still happy to have gotten this far,”Strillacci said.
Head coach Mazyck was still very proud of his team. “They worked incredibly hard from start to finish. I’m incredibly proud of them,” Mazyck said.
The Chiefs Lower State Championship was the first for the wrestling team since 2006-07 when the Chiefs went to the finals twice but couldn’t win the title. The wrestling program was started by Charlie Clay who oversaw those first two Lower State wins.
Clay also came back to watch the Chiefs win their title last Wednesday at the North Myrtle Beach gym.