COLUMBIA – Death row was electrifying Saturday night.
The lighter weights for the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets are known as Death Row from roughly 106 through 144 pounds and they did their job as Fort Mill wrestling repeated as 5A state champions with a 32-27 win over the Summerville Green Wave to clinch their second consecutive title in the sport.
There was a lot of familiarity with the 5A state title match held at Dreher High School in Columbia. The two teams were seeing each other for the second consecutive year in the finals with the Jackets looking to repeat.
Fort Mill came into the match calm and collected.
“We always talk about composure and confidence before we step on the mat,” said Fort Mill head wrestling coach Adam Marullo. “Control what you can control. These guys did a great job. Hats off to my assistant coaches. Hats off to these kids. They are the one that wrestle the match. They did an awesome job.”
The dual started at 165-pounds with Jack Kadish leading off for Fort Mill. Kadish came out aggressive and went on the attack. After six minutes, Kadish walked away with a 9-1 major to give the Jackets an early lead.
The Green Wave came back to give Theodore Ernst a match at 175-pounds, but Ernst pulled out a 6-4 decision in the final seconds of the match to extend the Fort Mill lead to 7-0.
Summerville picked up their first match win at 190-pounds winning 8-1 and then got a 4-2 decision at 215-pounds to cut into the Jackets lead. Summerville grabbed a 5-4 overtime decision at heavyweight to take a 9-7 lead.
The dual cycled back to the lighter weights at 106-pounds where Fort Mill has been strong all year. Luke Van Beynum got a second period pin putting the Jackets back on top. Jacob Nally (113) continued the Fort Mill swing with a first period pin.
Lincoln Greene (120) added to the Jackets lead with a 10-1 major decision to make it 23-9.
“We moved some guys around,” Marullo said. “It paid off for us. I am excited. Happy to win another state championship.”
Tucker Gibson (132) got a key 3-2 decision to give Fort Mill some momentum. Logan Shope (138) then got a 5-3 decision for the Jackets and collected his 100th career win in the process.
Fort Mill clinched the match with a 7-0 decision by Aidan Eubanks (144) and would go in to forfeit the next two weight classes after clinching the match.
“I was thinking if I win this, we win a state title,” Eubanks said. “We kept sticking to the plan. Back-to-back was the end goal.”
But there isn’t time for Fort Mill wrestling to rest as they head into the individual chase for state titles.
“Two in a row means we are back to work tomorrow to try and win those individual state championships,” Marullo said.
This is the fourth state championship for Fort Mill athletics this school year with both boys and girls swimming and girls cross-country. This is the 34th athletic state championship for the Jackets.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep