Eastside repeated as Class AAA wrestling champion, but Socastee got off to a fast start before the Eagles rolled to a 47-21 win in the state final Feb. 19 at River Bluff High School.
“Socastee’s a tough team,” Eastside coach Jack Kosmicki said. “They’re in the state finals for a reason, because they’re good, and they are good. And they’re young, too. They only have one senior. They go to AAAA next year, thank goodness.”
But Eastside is good, too. The Eagles have won two state championships in a row and 10 in the past 15 years.
So even when the Eagles lost the first two weight classes, including with one of their best wrestlers, Michael Fernandez at 195 pounds, they recovered.
“It’s a good solid lineup, where we can depend on other guys as well,” Kosmicki said.
Eastside’s heavyweight, Faud Serdah, fought for a 1-0 decision. Zane Mitchell and Fred McCurry followed with pins at 106 and 113, respectively, and Charlton Clark recorded a technical fall at 120.
Then David Walker, Clay Walker and Cole Anderson won with consecutive pins, giving the Eagles a 38-9 lead.
Eastside clinched its second straight title when Kaden Clark battled to avoid a pin and lose by decision at 145. Raj Al-Mashri added a victory by decision at 160, and Taylor Chemell won by pin at 172.
“It’s always good to reach it again and win it again,” Kosmicki said.
The Eagles won with a senior-laden lineup, but those seniors were surrounded by others ready to succeed them.
“There’s a lot of underclassmen that have got a lot of matches in them,” Kosmicki said. “They’ve been working out with these guys, and the same practices that got the seniors good will be getting them good.
“We’re talking young, young ones out there. There are a lot of freshmen that are lined up in this lineup right now, a lot of sophomores, that are good, quality wrestlers.”