Local wrestling teams hit tourney mats this weekend

socwrestle-knipperstateThe Grand Strand wrestling season hits the mat with full force this weekend, with all six local teams in action.

Five local teams get their seasons started this weekend at the North Myrtle Beach Classic. The host Chiefs, Carolina Forest, St. James, Conway and Myrtle Beach will be among the 18 teams represented.

Other teams in action at NMB include Aynor, Bluffton, Waccamaw, Loris, South Brunswick (NC), Topsail Beach (NC), Ashley Ridge, Lake City, Kelham (VA), Wando, Marion (VA), Riverside and Swansea. The tournament opens Friday and runs all day Saturday with the finals set for Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Socastee, which opened the season with a win over visiting Waccamaw, will be competing in the Hanahan Hawk Invitational over the weekend.

Next Wednesday, Socastee and Hanahan will visit Carolina Forest for a three-team meet, giving both the Braves and Panthers a tough early season test.

The Panthers are coming off of a season that broke the all-time school record of 23 single season wins with 25.  Coach Will Bratcher, who had 16 kids in the program when he began, now has more than 50, including key returners Josh Carranza (285), who had 43 wins last season, and Cody Prince (126) and Colin Fink (138), who both had over 30 wins apiece.

Fink is Carolina Forest’s only returning state qualifier but has several strong candidates to make it this season – Adrian Preciado (113), Robert Ferraro (145), Dakota Forsythe (152), Josh Roschy (160), David Horovitz (170), (Jr.) and (Jr.) A.J. Passmore (220).

The Braves, coming off a trip to the Lower State Finals, returns defending state champion Justin Knipper (113) and several key contributors from last season.

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