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For a team in a rebuilding season, the Buford Middle School wrestling team did quite well this winter.
The Buford Middle School team fashioned an 11-0 mark in what coach Kris Self dubbed “a rebuilding season.”
“We only had five wrestlers coming back this season, so we knew we would be rebuilding, but our wrestlers came to practice and worked hard,” Self said. “That was the key for us.
“We had a lot of ground to cover since we didn’t have much experience to build on, but our wrestlers were willing to listen, put in the time, work and it paid off,” he said. “I think when they saw we had a chance to go undefeated, it was a spark for them.”
Self said the team winning its in-season tournament, the Rumble in the Hive, was a highlight. The field included middle school teams from Indian Land, Chesterfield, Long Middle School of Cheraw, North Central and host Buford Middle.
The Jackets went 4-0 to take the title in the round-robin tournament held at Buford High School on Dec. 20.
“Cheraw, Chesterfield and Indian Land have a reputation of having outstanding wrestling teams, so we felt pretty good about winning the tournament,” Self said. “This was our first time to host a tournament and we felt it went well. We had good participation and the fans got to see a lot of wrestling for the price of admission.”
The Jackets went 4-0 to take the title. Long finished second and Indian Land was third.
The 17-member BMS team, which featured seventh- and eighth-graders, had four wrestlers qualify for the state tournament in Lexington on Jan. 31. BMS 80-pounder Andrew Broome and 100-pounder Dylan Altman each went 4-1 to place third in the state field.
Josh Langley, at 85 pounds, and heavyweight Austin Harrison compiled a 2-2 mark in the field.
Self, who is assisted by Jason Mosier, said he is looking forward to the future.
“We were real satisfied with this season,” Self said. “We will have six back next season. It will be another challenge, but we hope to wrestle some larger schools from York County.”
Buford High wrestling coach John Mahaffey appreciates what has been accomplished.
“Having that experience and not having to start from scratch is a plus,” Mahaffey said. “When the wrestlers come to us now, they have a good grasp on wrestling fundamentals and their mat success is only a plus.”