Socastee falls short in state title showdown to Eastside

socwrest-burtoncelebThe Socastee High wrestling team fell one victory short of capturing its first state championship in the sport, losing 47-21 to state power Eastside in Wednesday’s Class 3A state finals in Lexington.

The Braves (24-2) suffered only their second loss of the season, but ran into one of the state’s most storied programs. Eastside claimed its 10th state title since 1999, while the Braves made their title match debut.

Socastee got out to a strong start when Joe Smolenski (195) scored a decision over No. 1-ranked Mike Fernandez and Kyle Burton (220) recorded a first-round pin to put the Braves up 9-0.

But Eastside countered with seven consecutive victories, five of them by pin, to take control of the match. Socastee answered with decisions by Sam McKinney (145) and John Leggett (152), but Eastside put the finishing touches on the win with back-to-back pins.

Socastee’s Zach Mor (182) closed the match with a first-round pin but it was too little, too late. The Braves capped the most successful season in program history with back-to-back region titles and a first-ever state final appearance.

Eastside 47 Socastee 21

195 Joseph Smolenski (Socastee) won by dec. over Michael Fernandez (Eastside) 5-4.

220 Kyle Burton (Socastee) won by pin over Jesus Esparza (Eastside) 1:51.

285 Faud Serdah (Eastside) won by dec. over Tevin Ferreiras (Socastee) 2-0.

106 Zane Mitchell (Eastside) won by pin over Eugene Utley (Socastee) 1:57.

113 Fred McCurry (Eastside) won by pin over Quin Gammon (Socastee) 1:45.

120 Charlton Clark (Eastside) won by tech fall over Dylan Martin (Socastee) 4:29 19-3.

126 David Walker (Eastside) won by pin over Justin Knipper (Socastee) 4:46.

132 Clay Walker (Eastside) won by pin over Jordan Hodge (Socastee) 0:11.

138 Cole Anderson (Eastside) won by pin over Brad Melnytskyy (Socastee) 2:59.

145 Sam McKinney (Socastee) won by dec. over Kaden Clark (Eastside) 13-7.

152 John Leggett (Socastee) won by dec. over Ian Rodgers (Eastside) 8-5.

160 Rash Almasri (Eastside) won by dec. over Andrew Baddoo (Socastee) 16-10.

170 Taylor Chemell (Eastside) won by pin over Aydin Imani (Socastee) 2:46.

182 Zach Mor (Socastee) won by pin over DeShawn Sullivan (Eastside) 0:27.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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