Carolina Forest pins top-10 finish at Cane Bay Classic

Carolina Forest finished 10th in the prestigious 18-team Cane Bay Classic on Saturday, but the Panthers also scored one of their biggest wins of the season.

After falling to state power Summerville in their opening match, the Panthers bounced back with a 40-36 victory over Bamberg-Earhart, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 2A.

Carolina Forest went 2-2 in pool matches, defeating Berkeley and losing to Goose Creek by three points. The Panthers advanced to the ninth-place match but lost to Hilton Head Island.

The Panthers were unable to parlay the big win into another top-tier tournament finish. They won the Swamp Fox Invitational on Dec. 1 and finished seventh at the North Myrtle Beach Duals last weekend.

But the level of competition at the Cane Bay Classic was higher than the Panthers have faced this season, and closer to what they can expect when Region 6-4A matches get under way.

“I was very proud of our kids for coming out and wrestling (B&E) the way we did,” Carolina Forest coach Will Bratcher said, “(but) we have to learn how to handle winning. If we are going to compete with these teams we have to learn not to get emotionally drained by a big win.”

Carolina Forest was led by 195-pounder Justin Hayes and 220-pounder Kyle Rice, who went 5-0 in their respective weight divisions on the day.

Photo by Melissa Rice

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