Eastside halts NMB’s run in Class 4A state final match

North Myrtle Beach’s historic wrestling season ended with the Chiefs focused on one word: Finish.

The Chiefs’ first-ever trip to the state duals championship ended with a resounding 66-15 loss to Eastside in the 4A finals, but the youth-laden team with a first-year coach turned its thoughts to the future soon after accepting the state runner-up trophy at Airport High School.

“I take a lot of satisfaction, because where this program began and how far we made it, all the hard work that we put into this … these guys should be excited,” said Curtis Wolfe, one of four seniors who helped the Chiefs make history and who recorded one of two North Myrtle pins on Saturday. “I’m excited. I’m so excited, because we made it far. We’re the first ones to do this, so this is something we can look back on.

“The guys that are seniors next time, they have to work hard and get to this level again, but this time finish it.”

That group includes Malachi Black, a junior who picked up one of three Chiefs victories. Black won by a 4-1 decision at heavyweight, defeating John Whisonant.

“I expected to give it my all and do whatever I can to help the team succeed,” said Black, who went up on an early escape before adding a decisive takedown with five seconds left in the third period. “It was a good match. He was working hard to keep me from scoring. I was working hard to keep him from scoring.”

Eastside, which won its fourth straight state title, came into the championship match ranked No. 1 in 4A and with six wrestlers ranked No. 1 in their weight class by scmat.com. That dominance became evident immediately against the 10th-ranked Chiefs. Tucker Allen scored the Eagles’ first pin in the 132-pound weight class, and Eastside reeled off four more pins to take a commanding 30-0 lead.

Chase Simmons at last got the Chiefs on the board at 170, opening his match against Miles Scott with a takedown before recording a pin that brought North Myrtle Beach fans to their feet with just more than a minute left in the second period.

Wolfe scored the Chiefs’ second pin at 220, going up on an early takedown and adding a reversal to take a 4-0 lead early in the second period before pinning Jorge Esparza with 1:14 left.

That narrowed Eastside’s lead to 42-12, and Black’s decision made it 42-15 before the Eagles closed out the match with four pins.

“Nobody expected North Myrtle Beach to be here,” Chiefs coach Chris Mazyck said. “We have an extremely young nucleus that really just learned how to wrestle. It’s a testament to them and their work ethic on getting here.”

Mazyck, an experienced coach in football and track and field, tackled wrestling for the first time this season in his first year at North Myrtle. Mazyck left Calhoun County to join the Chiefs as a defensive line coach on the football team and as the wrestling coach — a move partly motivated, he said, by the potential he saw in the Chiefs’ wrestling program.

“The talent pool is tremendous at North Myrtle Beach,” Mazyck said. “The kids are great; the community is great. I look forward to a bright future.”

While the Chiefs’ senior class — which also includes E.J. Vereen, M.J. Michaud and Marcelous Livingston — came up one match shy of its ultimate goal, Wolfe took pride in a season that included wins against 5A teams Conway and Socastee.

“We did complete a lot; we just didn’t finish it. I mean, it happens,” said Wolfe, ranked second at 220 pounds by scmat.com, who said he is now focused on next weekend’s Lower State individual qualifying at Bluffton High School. “The thing I’ll remember is that everybody was improving and how close we became over the season. I’m very proud of them. We worked hard to get here.”

The Chiefs’ returners include Black, ranked second at 285 pounds by scmat.com, along with Jackie Gore, ranked fifth at 145.

“I know we’ll be back,” Mazyck said. “The motto going into the offseason will be: Finish.”

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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