Hanahan wrestling team to compete for regional championship title
It's been five years since the Hanahan High School wrestling team won the first of two state championships in the program's history.
Since then, much has changed. The Hawks won the title in Class AA, but now reside in Class AAA as the High School League expanded into five classifications.
And, the Hawks were ranked No. 13 in the state preseason poll by scmat.com. But there's a different number coach Ray Adkins is concerned about.
The Hawks don't have the roster numbers like past seasons, and that presents a problem.
In a typical dual match, the Hawks have to forfeit four weight classifications and that means an automatic 24 points for the foes.
"The ranking really doesn't mean much when it come dual meets," Adkins said. "We run into trouble when we face an opponent who has a full line-up.
The numbers might be down, but the enthusiasm remains.
"Participation is down to year's past," Adkins said. "That being said, practices are great and the kids who are here want to be here. They are fully committed to the program.”
The wrestling program suffered the heartbreak of defeat in 2010 when the team's shot at a state title came to an end when the South Carolina High School League ruled that the Hawks used an ineligible wrestler in Hanahan's victory over Loris in the Class AA Lower State final.
But the Hawks bounced back big time to win the state title in 2011 and again the following year.
This year's team isn't deep, but there is still plenty of talent, including team captains Brooks Cribb and Pierce Emerine.
Cribb competes in the 145-pound division and already has 20 victories this winter. He's a veteran who has wrestled since the third grade. He provides leadership.
Emerine also is a veteran who has been in the program for six years. He suffered a leg injury which limited his time on the mat during the holiday tournaments, but Adkins expects him to be ready when the state duals are contested in Anderson.
Two other Hawks have the potential to be state qualifiers: Luke Mills and Tyell Grant.
Mills is a sophomore who competes in the 160-pound classification while Grant is an experienced senior.
"Luke is really exciting to watch because he is a big-move type of guy who fights with energy and enthusiasm," Adkins said. "Tyell is a complete powerhouse. Pound for pound, he's one of our most reliable wrestlers. He's a senior so this is his last chance to get there.”
Hanahan will compete in the region championship against Bishop England and Timberland, and the winner of the region will host the first two rounds of the playoffs.