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  • (Photo by Justin Hall) The River Bluff wrestling team celebrates its 3rd consecutive Class 5A Lower State title.
  • (Photo courtesy of Gilbert High School) The Gilbert wrestling team celebrates its 1st ever Class 3A Lower State title.

LOWER STATE CHAMPS! River Bluff, Gilbert advance to state wrestling finals

Airport High comes short in quest to host Class 4A final

Two Lexington County wrestling teams earned spots at Saturday’s S.C. High School League state finals at Airport High School.

Lexington School District One schools River Bluff and Gilbert were victories Wednesday at their respective Lower State finals.

The Gators held off Summerville 39-33 at home. It was the third consecutive Class 5A Lower State title for River Bluff, which now faces Hillcrest for an opportunity at a 2nd state title in 3 years.

The Rams defeated J.F. Byrnes 28-24 in the Upper State final.

“The Swamp” was the site of a meeting of a historic wrestling powerhouse and the new budding dynasty.

Both squads were evenly matched heading into the high stakes matchup. And head coach Evan Moxie knew the home crowd would be important.

“I knew they (Summerville) would travel well and I was really proud our fans showed up the way

they did,” Moxie stated after the win.

After taking an early 9-0 lead, the Gators fell behind 15-9 and found themselves in need of a big

win.

River Bluff rallied over the next five matches to seize control.

“Those were their three best wrestlers,” Moxie said. “But when we held the 138 to a major

decision, we knew we were ahead of the ballgame.”

After that 15-9 deficit, the Gators rallied to lead 33-15 entering the 195 weight class.

That final match win by Michael Keisler secured the victory for the Gators.

“It just shows all these young kids that what we’re doing works,” Moxie said. “It keeps them bought into our program and what we’re trying to do.”

And when I asked how he keeps his team focused heading into Saturday night’s tilt with Hillcrest

at Airport High School, Moxie’s answer was succinct.

“It’s just another match,” he said. “We gotta get ready for another match.”

The 6 p.m. match  will cap Championship Saturday for high school wrestling. At 1 p.m., Gilbert will face Indian Land for the Class 3A title.

The Indians defeated host team May River 33-30 in the Lower State title. It was the first-ever Lower State title for Gilbert, which defeated the Sharks on the road for the second time this season.

Standing in the way of a 1st ever state title for Gilbert is Indian Land, which defeated Crescent 37-29 in the Upper State final.

The host school of the state championships had an opportunity Wednesday to join River Bluff and Gilbert. Airport faced North Myrtle Beach in the Class 4A Lower State final, but fell 44-22 to the Chiefs.

North Myrtle Beach will face another Eagles’ team, Eastside, in the Class 4A final at 3:30 p.m.

S.C. HIGH SCHOOL LEAGUE WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE

(All matches are Saturday at Airport High School)

(Class 2A) Bamberg-Ehrhardt vs. North Central 11 a.m.

(Class 3A) Gilbert vs. Indian Land 1 p.m.

(Class 4A) North Myrtle Beach vs. Eastside 3:30 p.m.

(Class 5A) River Bluff vs. Hillcrest 6 p.m.

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