Socastee’s Knipper, Nelson claim state championships

The Socastee High wrestling team crowned a pair of state champions Saturday night at the state individual tournament at the Anderson Civic Center.

Justin Knipper claimed the 106-pound title with a 3-1 decision over Nathan Brazell of Gilbert and Mikel Nelson took a 2-0 decision over Jordan Ludd of Blue Ridge in the 120-pound class to capture state championships.

In Saturday’s semifinals, the second-seeded sophomore Knipper scored 4-2 decision over Ethan Pendleton of Union County, the No. 1 seed from the Upper State. The top-seeded senior Nelson (120) claimed a 3-1 decision over Rhett Plemmons in the semifinals to advance.

A pair of Braves captured third place in their respective weight classes. Kyle Burton took a 2-0 decision of Jacob Garibay of Hanahan and Zach Mor (182) won an injury default over Alonzo McGill of Berkley in the consolation finals.

Myrtle Beach’s Joseph Desjardines (152) was the Seahawks’ top finisher with a runner-up showing. He suffered a hard-fought 4-2 overtime loss to Chris Bloch of Dreher in the final.

St. James’ De’eante Salaam (170) also finished second after suffering a 19-4 major decision defeat to Dennis Flores of Hanahan.

North Myrtle Beach’s Eric Baker (182) also placed second by a one-point margin, dropping an 8-7 overtime decision to Michael Fernandez of Eastside.

In Class 4A, Conway’s Chris Ford (195) was the Grand Strand’s fourth runner-up of the night. He was pinned in the first round by Beaufort’s Clint Wright.

Photo by Ranicer Photography

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