IL wrestlers top AJ, fall to RHHS

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By Robert Howey

For a coach who saw his team split a road match, Indian Land High School wrestling coach Leon Boulware was pretty pleased.


Boulware, the second-year ILHS wrestling coach, saw his fourth-ranked Warriors wrestling team post a win over Lancaster County rival Andrew Jackson High School, 63-12, and fall to Class AAAAA wrestling power Rock Hill High School, 41-33.

The RHHS Bearcats are ranked No. 2 in the Class AAAAA mat poll.

“I’m real proud of our team’s effort tonight,” said Boulware. “It was a great way to make a statement. It’s early in the season and we’re still in the process of establishing our weight classes, but I was pretty happy with the way we wrestled against two ranked opponents away from home.”

AJ, at 6-2, entered with a No. 16 rating in Class A-AA wrestling.

In the Warriors’ 49-point win over the Volunteers, the ILHS pin winners included Solomon Cortez (113), Austin Ross (120), Weston Nguyen (126), Teddy Yarborough (138), Andrew Strickland (145), Xavier Dreese (152), Alex Murphy (182), Alfred Cortez (195) and Erick Neil (220).

Juan Alejandro (132) and Kyle Daley (160) each posted a major decision – four-point wins – against the Vols.

The AJ winners included Danny Barfield (106) by decision, Kalab Haven (170) by major decision and Jacob Witmore (285) by forfeit.

In the match with Rock Hill, Indian Land fell by eight points, giving the Bearcats six points on a forfeit at 285.

Clint Creech (106), Kyle Daley (160), Wesley Johnson (170) and Erick Neil (285) each posted a pin. Austin Ross (120), Weston Nguyen (126) and Xavier Dreese (152) each had a decision.

“Rock Hill is a wrestling powerhouse and we held our own with one of the top teams in the state‘s highest classification (Class AAAAA),” Boulware said. “We battled tough against a high quality wrestling team. We showed up and competed hard.”

Rock Hill, which has won 17 state wrestling titles, was the Class AAAAA state runner-up last season to River Bluff, falling by a point – 31-30.

The Warriors hosted their seventh annual Mike Kersey Memorial Invitational tournament Saturday when the 16-team field competed in the individual tournament held in memory of the former ILHS wrestling coach.

Following the Kersey tournament, the Warriors will face River Bluff and Lugoff-Elgin at the LEHS gym Tuesday at 6 p.m.