How MB’s state champion went from crash to crown

Daniel Mitchell’s dreams of winning a state wrestling championship nearly came to a literal crashing halt last month when he was involved in a frightening car accident. Instead, the Myrtle Beach High senior captured the Class 4A title in the 195-pound division, and the outcome were far from accidental.

Mitchell claimed a 6-4 decision over Cane Bay’s Chase Smith in the finals of the SCHSL State Wrestling Championships in Anderson last Saturday, avenging a loss to Smith one week earlier and erasing memories of the near-miss that could have cost him his opportunity – or worse.

Mitchell was uninjured despite flipping his vehicle three times, emerging without a scratch. “I was totally fine,” he said. However, the accident served as a wake-up call to scratch a state championship off his bucket list.

“The other day someone ask me about my greatest accomplishments and I told them ‘Give me a week, because a state championship would definitely rank up there near the top.’ “ Mitchell said. “It’s awesome because one of my biggest goals was to grab a state title before I graduate, so this was my last chance. It’s something I’ve been working toward for a long time.”

Mitchell had to use all of his training and determination to turn the tables on Smith, who took the early lead on a takedown. “Coach Feix told me, ‘If at any point you feel in danger, stay calm.’ I did that and I tried to be more assertive this time. I got a near-fall and got up in points and rode it out.”

Mitchell became Myrtle Beach’s first state wrestling champion since Blake Holt in 2010, breathing new life and energy into a program that has seen some down seasons during his tenure. Mitchell credits first-year coach Brandon Feix for injecting some excitement into the program and motivating him to win.

“We couldn’t get the team title so this is the next best thing,” said Mitchell, who helped his team finish runner-up in Region 7-4A and claim a No. 2 seed in the Class 4A playoffs. “I think our program is on the way up under Coach Feix. He told me ‘You can make history and turn this program around.’ ”

Feix called it a “coach’s dream of having a kid like Daniel on their team. I am honored to have had an opportunity to coach him. It has been eight years since Myrtle Beach has had a champ, and there is nobody more deserving than Daniel.”

Photo by Prep Stars Media

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