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County trio advances to state finals

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By Robert Howey

Three Lancaster County prep wrestlers advanced to battle for individual state championships this weekend.Lancaster High School’s Dawan Thompson is bound for the Class AAAA state meet at Irmo High School, while Buford has a pair of wrestlers – Lamont McPhearson and Rashad Cunningham – in the hunt for Class A-AA state crowns at Gilbert High School.Thompson, a junior, placed fourth in the Class AAAA Upper State meet on Saturday.He went 3-2 to advance his record to 29-8 for the season.“Dawan wrestled hard and performed well in the Upper State meet,” Lancaster High School wrestling coach Sam Robinson said. Thompson was seeded fifth heading into the Class AAAA Upstate meet.“Dawan’s a hard worker and he put it on the line,” Robinson said. “I know he will work hard this week and be prepared to give it his best shot at Irmo.”Lancaster had two wrestlers – Joe Craig and Casey Truesdale – who just missed qualifying for the state meet after finishing fifth in their respective weight classes.“This will be a good experience for Dawan because he’s one of only two juniors in the 189-pound state field, so this can only be a positive for his future in wrestling,” Robinson said.BHS ace pair moves onBuford’s McPhearson and Cunningham, a sophomore duo, lead the Jackets’ mat hopes this weekend.McPhearson, at 160, placed third in the Class A-AA Lower State meet at Aynor High School, while Cunningham, at 119, was fourth.McPhearson went 4-1 on the day to improve to 26-5 on the season. Cunningham was 4-2 to move his mark to 20-7.“Both these wrestlers have worked hard this year and I’m glad they have a chance to compete for a state title and gain some valuable mat experience,” BHS coach John Mahaffey said. “Rashad was seeded sixth in a tough bracket, but did real well to place fourth.“Lamont’s only loss was on a decision to the top seed,” Mahaffey said. “He was leading, but made a mistake and couldn’t recover. Overall, he did real well.”BHS, 12-9 for the season, had a couple of wrestlers plagued by medical reasons, or injuries.Lain Adams, at 112, withdrew due to medical reasons and Josh Ferguson, at 171, was injured in the second round after posting a first-round win. Daniel Deese went 2-2 at 152, but didn’t qualify for the state meet. After this weekend, Mahaffey has another mat chore, serving as a coach in the North-South All-Star wrestling match on Feb. 29 and March 1. Mahaffey is a 10-year coaching veteran.Warriors fall shortIndian Land didn’t have any wrestlers qualify for the Class A-AA state meet.“It was a tough way to end our season, but we should use this as motivation to work that much harder from now to next season,” IL coach Mike Kersey said. “We had some wrestlers who were close, but we didn’t do what we needed to move on to the state, which is what we want to do each season.”IL went 17-7 and was ranked third in the final Class A state team wrestling poll.