North Myrtle Beach wrestlers pinned their Beaufort opponents in their first two matches Monday night, racking up 12 points to Beaufort’s goose egg.
The momentum didn’t let up. When the competition was over, North Myrtle Beach had won their Class 4A playoff match 42-31.
“I thought we did decent,” coach Chris Mazyck said. “There’s always room for improvement. We’ve got a couple guys that are still teetering on being overweight. And that’s all a part of being all in. For the most part, we’re there. Our guys are focused and we’re ready for the run.”
The team’s next match is the lower state finals on Wednesday against Hartsville, which defeated Dreher Monday night. North Myrtle Beach is hosting the Red Foxes.
“You never underestimate your opponent,” Mazyck said. “At any point in time you can be beat. So going into this next dual, we’re going to talk about not being content, being ready to go, being focused, having the championship title.
Last year was Mazyck’s first as the wrestling team’s head coach, and he made the most of it. The team, still fairly young, reached the Class 4A state championship, but lost to Eastside.
“But now some of those babies are stepping to the forefront and doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Mazyck said. “It’s just hats off to the guys. They never hang their heads, they’re always ready to go at practice. It’s just a testament to how hard they work.”
Last team standing
North Myrtle Beach is the last Horry County team still alive in the state wrestling playoffs.
Socastee, St. James and Conway were all eliminated in the first round of the 5A playoffs Saturday. Myrtle Beach lost to Dreher in the 4A second round. Loris and Aynor each reached the second round of the 3A playoffs, but they also fell.
Carolina Forest entered the postseason as a No. 1 seed in 5A, but the Panthers lost to White Knoll in the second round.
“Really proud of them,” Panthers coach Forrest Blake said. “They’ve wrestled hard. There’s no quit in them. We got down in this last match to White Knoll and made them wrestle it all the way out.”
Blake said he’s particularly pleased with how his team performed through what he described as the hardest schedule in school history. The Panthers faced schools in North Carolina and the Midlands, going up against competition they typically don’t face.
“I just challenged them … if we wrestle this schedule it’s going to make us better,” he said. “And they rose to the challenge. I just hate we ended it after two matches in the playoffs.”
Although the loss stung, Blake remains optimistic about next season. He expects to return seven seniors, a much more experienced group than this year’s team.
“We only had three seniors on the whole team,” he said. “So we have the potential to be really good again next year.”
Reporter Charles D. Perry contributed to this report.