The county meet will be held at 6 p.m. at Mid-Carolina High School.
Mid-Carolina’s wrestling program is in its second year and many of the Rebels are new to the sport.
The Mid-Carolina team started out with 36 to 37 wrestlers; “however, some found out that wrestling was too tough, or they wouldn't dedicate themselves enough in order to become successful in this sport, and we are currently down to about 23 to 24 wrestlers,“ said coach Kyle Cannon. “With that being said, they are a group that have shown they are willing to work and do what it takes to get better.“
The Mid-Carolina starting line consists of: Zane Spigner 103 pounds, Tyler Montgomery 112 pounds, Nick Sims 125 pounds, Reynolds Carter 140 pounds, Hunter Thompson 145 pounds, Markevius Holley 152 pounds, Will Dominick 160 pounds, Javon Caughman, 171 pounds, Chandler Williams1 89 pounds, and Jamarcus Lindler 215 pounds.
“Even with this being those kids’ first year, many have shown a great deal of potential throughout the year so far,“ said Cannon.
Some of the leaders of the Rebels are last year’s returners 130 Dominique Wicker, 135 Dakota Murphy, and 285 B.J. Gibbs. Other returners who have been solid at practice and leaders include Will Cook, Drew Ricard and George Faulkner.
“I am not really sure to say anyone is favored I always tell my guys that you have to be mentally and physically prepared to wrestle your best every time you step on the mat and to improve upon your last match,“ said Cannon. “Wrestling being the unique and both physically and mentally demanding sport it is, they must never underestimate an opponent, but at the same time they must step on the mat with confidence and intensity in order to wrestle their best.“
Coach Charles Johnson is in his second year as the wrestling coach at Newberry High School. He coached the J.V. and middle school teams the two years before.
“We continue to be a young team, only returning three guys from the varsity team last year,“ said Johnson. “I started the year with a little over 40 guys and now have 19 or so between the J.V. and varsity. Losing wrestlers happens every year, as the guys become aware that this is not the stuff they see on Monday night and that being the best in your backyard doesn’t make you the best on the mat.“
Returners on the team are: Joseph Berry 135 pounds, Cody Hepler 215 pounds and Darius Wallace 125 pounds. The rest of the team are first year varsity wrestlers Jamal Gadsen 112 112, Jacob Hoper 119 pounds, Markel Elkins140 pounds, Evan Hawkins 145 pounds, Clay Joyner 160 pounds, DJ Johnson 171 pounds, Adrain Teran 189 pounds and two guys at 285 pounds, Jamarcus Wicker and Colby Stevens.
“Being a young squad we still have a lot of growing up to do, but we can and do show promise in practice daily,“ said Johnson. “I push my guys pretty hard. I’m already nervous and excited about the matches against Whitmire and Mid-Carolina in the first annual Newberry County Classic.
“This will be a great time to showcase wrestling in the state, and at each one of the Newberry County schools. I also have the added bonus of working at the Newberry County Career Center, so some of these guys I get to see a good bit and we have poked fun at each other.”
NHS is 1-1 against Whitmire and 0-1 against Mid-Carolina, with a chance to even the score the night before the match at the region match with Newberry, Mid-Carolina, and Gilbert.
“So, in my mind this is it, this is for all the bragging rights in Newberry County for the next year,“ said Johnson.
This is Jerrod King’s third season as the head coach at Whitmire and only the fifth year of our program.
Whitmire has 10 guys on its varsity team and seven on its middle school team.
“As with most wrestling programs, I began this season with better numbers,” says King. “Wrestling is a very demanding sport that unfortunately many young men simply don't have the toughness and/or discipline to endure.”
Those remaining varsity wrestlers are: Trey Nelson at 119, Devin Armstrong at 119, Dylan Graves at 125, John-Paul Miller at 130, Seth Horton at 140, Eric Shouse at, Tim Epps at 160, Jared Wicker at 171, Ethan Campbell at 189, and Seth Shouse at 215.
Although they are 10 young men remaining on our varsity team, they are a great group of guys to coach, says King.
King says he has pushed the young men very hard this season. This season the team has increased intensity at practice and set a significantly tougher schedule including Greenwood, Walhalla, Emerald and defending 2A state champs Abbeville.
“Our three seniors, Seth Horton, Ethan Campbell and Eric Shouse have demonstrated great leadership on the mat. These guys are very vocal, but their leadership goes beyond being vocal. Seth is undefeated with intentions of making this his best season yet. Ethan is undefeated in his weight class with his only loss a result of being asked to bump-up and wrestle at 215 to give his team its best chance to win. Ethan demonstrates a great deal of confidence and poise and has been wrestling as good as I've ever seen him wrestle. Eric has been a model for our entire team for facing adversity. Eric has struggled with injury all season long yet he continues to attend practice faithfully and give it his best on the mat match after match.”
Dylan Graves and John-Paul Miller are newcomers to Wolverine wrestling.
“Dylan moved to Whitmire over the summer and has made a tremendous impact on our team with only four loss. This is John-Paul’s first time wrestling but he continues to improve. Devin Armstrong and Tim Epps are also having a good year. says King, despite the fact that they have been asked to cut quite a bit of weight this season. Seth Shouse and Jared Wicker have had struggles but have shown tremendous improvement.
“Trey Nelson began the year wrestling much better than his freshman season, but lately has been struggling to maintain his strength and time on the mat due to illness.,” says King
“Our team is very excited about competing in the First Annual Newberry County Classic. This match has an electric aura of excitement surrounding it for Wolverine fans,” says King.
“First, we have faced Newberry a couple of times already this year and are 1-1 so we will both be giving it our all to best the other for the season. Second, Whitmire assistant coach Willie Jarman was a former Bulldog wrestler before going on to wrestle at Newberry College. Going against your alma mater is always personal.
“Third, this will be the first time that we will have faced Mid-Carolina this season. M-C coach Kyle Cannon started Whitmire’s program before leaving to start the Rebel’s program. Many of the young men that began wrestling under Coach Cannon are still on our team and think very highly of him. However, no competitor or program ever wants to lose to its former head coach. And last but not least, what underdog wouldn’t love the opportunity to capture bragging rights for the entire district?”