NMB downs South Aiken, makes Lower State Finals

With the North Myrtle Beach wrestling team’s season on the ropes, the Chiefs put South Aiken’s backs to the mat Monday to advance to the Class 4A Lower State Finals.

Trailing the visiting Stallions 24-16, North Myrtle Beach recorded critical six-point pins in five of the final six matches to propel the Chiefs to a 46-27 victory.

“That’s my team. We never quit fighting,” said No. 2 individually ranked senior Curtis Wolfe, who his hard-fought match with a third-round pin that set the tone for the Chiefs and gave them their first lead of the match. “I really wasn’t that worried (when we were down). I knew the guys coming up were going to get it done.”

South Aiken built an eight-point edge after eight matches before the Chiefs went into mat-slapping mode. Rodrigo Velazquez (132) scored a second-round pin, followed by MJ Michaud (138) with a dramatic flip and pin to give the Chiefs a 28-24 advantage.

Jackie Gore (145) scored a first-round pin, and Andre Giddens (160) and Chase Simmons capped the win with third-round pins to account for the final score. The Chiefs also got decision wins from EJ Livingston (113), Marcelous Livingston (195) and Harry Locklear (285).

Perhaps making North Myrtle Beach’s trip to the Lower State Finals more impressive is the presence of first-year coach Chris Mazyck, who inherited the team after moving from the same position at Calhoun County. He has the team on the verge of returning to the state championship match for the first time since 2007.

“This is my first year so I’m not real sure of what they have done here in the past, but I know this team has come a long way to get where they are right now,” Mazyck said. “We started off slow and had to make some changes, but these guys have worked hard and gotten better all season long. They deserve to be here.”

Mazych pointed to strong senior leadership for helping the team turn the corner, singling out Wolfe for his role. “Any time you have the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the state as a leader on your team, and he sets such a great example for the others, it makes my job easier.”

Wolfe has experienced lots of individual success during his time at North Myrtle Beach, reaching the state semis in each of the last two seasons. But he says having his team share in the journey in his senior season makes it even more special.

“We were supposed to be the underdogs this year and here we are,” Wolfe said. “We won the region championship and now we’re one win away from going to the state. I just want us to go out on top.”

North Myrtle Beach plays host to Airport, which claimed a 36-34 win over Beaufort in the other semifinal. The Lower State Final is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

File Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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