North Myrtle Beach sets lofty goals after missing playoffs

Despite a strong finish to the 2011-12 season, the North Myrtle Beach wrestling team missed the playoffs and spent the postseason at home wonder “what if?”

The Chiefs hope to avoid a similar fate this season by getting off to a strong start and setting their goals high. Among them are winning the region and state titles and send 10 wrestlers to the Class 3A individual meet.

“Teamwork, execution, believing in the goals and persevering until the goal is achieved,” said North Myrtle Beach coach Andrew Baeli, listing the keys to a successful season. “We want to pick up where we left off last year.”

That may be easier said than done given the presence of reigning region champion and state runner-up St. James, but the Chiefs have a nice combination of returning talent and young up-and-comers to be considered a contender.

The Chiefs return a pair of senior state qualifiers in 120-pound region champion Joey Small and 170-pound region runner-up Hampton Harmon. Fellow senor Eric Baker is also back to make a run at a region title.

North Myrtle Beach also welcomes some talented newcomers in Alex Lewis, Tyler Stump, Mikhail Vlahos and Harrison Smith. How quickly the develop will go a long way to deciding where the Chiefs spend the playoffs this season.

The Chiefs open the season Thursday in a four-team meet with Myrtle Beach, Cane Bay and host Carolina Forest and Cane Bay. They host an early but pivotal region matchup with St. James on Dec. 5 before putting on the North Myrtle Beach Duals on Dec. 7-8.

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