Fort Mill’s Brian Kelley wrestles Nation Ford’s Caden Brandenburg during a recent match between the two rival schools.

FORT MILL – The Fort Mill wrestling team wrapped up the Region 3-5A title with a 51-18 win over rivals Nation Ford.

                Fort Mill finished a perfect 4-0 in the region and will be the number one seed coming out of the region guaranteeing them a home playoff match for the first and second rounds of the playoffs, which will be held Feb. 8 at Fort Mill High. The Jackets opponents for the playoffs aren’t know as of yet, but will most likely be out of the Greenville County area as they will face a No. 5 seed out of Region 2.

There are three spots slotted for Region 3 for the playoffs with Rock Hill and Clover taking those other two spots.  Rock Hill beat both Clover and Northwestern to finish 3-1 and Clover finished third at 2-2 in the region. They will face the No. 2 and No. 3 seed out of Region 2 as well to open the playoffs. Northwestern finished the region with just one win and could apply for an at-large bid for the playoffs. Nation Ford was eliminated with the lost to Fort Mill.

“I appreciate the win and sealing the region title,” said Fort Mill head coach Chris Brock. “But we have bigger goals and bigger things down the road.”

The match between Fort Mill (19-5) and Nation Ford (4-6) was more of a 10-match dual than a 14-match dual with the Falcons having to forfeit four weight classes. And despite Nation Ford giving Fort Mill 24-points, the match was close early on.

“It was a 10-match dual and those toss up matches, they won most of them,” Brock said. “I think our guys looked at this as a social event and it was a fight.”

Fort Mill got a win in the opening weight class at 220-pounds with a forfeit to go up 6-0. The first match of the night saw the Falcons’ Sean Grennan edge Fort Mill’s Reese Key 1-0 at heavyweight. Another forfeit at 106-pounds, gave Fort Mill a 12-3 lead, however, Nation Ford would win the next three matches to take the lead. Wins by Solomon Moore (113), Trevor Strain (120) and Reed Spilmann (126) gave Nation Ford a 15-12 lead.

The Jackets got the lead back at 132-pounds with a pin fall from Joshua Sturgeon and then got a pin from Salvatore Conforto at 138-pounds to go up 24-15. Fort Mill would lead from that point forward.  Nation Ford picked up one more win as Steven Johnson bear George Mandon 7-5 at 145-pounds. Fort Mill had three more wins in the dual with Brian Kelley winning 9-2 at 152-pounds, Josh Cizmadia winning at 160-pounds and Aubrey Schaffer winning at 170-pounds, the last two by pin fall. Nation Ford forfeited the last two weight classes at 182 and 195-pounds. 

“We got some young guys that battled,” said Nation Ford head coach Tony Forte. “We have three first year wresters in the line up and they are going against some of the best kids in the state. They battled. This was all we could ask for. It is going to be a process. They fought hard. Our focus right now is the Upper State (individual tournament) and getting people to Anderson (for the state tournament).”

The Region 3-5A individual tournament will be held this Friday, Jan. 31 at Fort Mill starting at 5 p.m.

Mac Banks:, @MacBanksFM