By CT McDonald
Chapin’s varsity wrestlers completed the regular season as the top team in Region 5-4A, and then advanced through the state duals tournament to the state championship match last week where two of the state’s most successful wrestling programs battled for the 2017 duals title.
It was a duel of the Eagles when the Chapin (CHS) Eagles and Eastside (EHS) Eagles met on the mats at Dreher High School to determine this year’s 4A champion.
Chapin, a No. 1 seed in lower state competition, defeated Marlboro County and Beaufort in Rounds One and Two to start the duals tournament Saturday, February 4, and then went on to beat Hilton Head Island 33-25 in the third round Monday, last week, to advance to the Wednesday semifinal round against Lugoff-Elgin.
With the close 39-37 semifinal win against the Demons, Chapin advanced to Saturday’s state duals championship matchup with 3A defending state champion Eastside.
The Eastside Eagles opened their run in the tournament on February 4 with an 81-0 shutout of North Augusta and a 79-0 shutout over Westwood, then they beat Airport 83-0 Monday, last week, and followed that with a 45-14 semifinal win against Belton-Honea Path to advance to the duals state finals against Chapin.
Then, last Saturday, Chapin and Eastside faced each other for the 4A state championship, and, with the 59-11 win, Eastside got its 12th state title since dethroning Lugoff-Elgin in the 2000 tournament. Chapin posted three match wins in the finals, with Taylor Cabe winning by technical fall at 138 pounds, Cole Haile winning by decision at 195 pounds, and Hank Manos winning by decision at 285 pounds.
According to information compiled by Mark Buford, of scmat.com, Chapin won four state championships and finished as state runner-up once from 1990 – 1999, when the Eagles played as a Class 2A team. From 2000 through last week’s state duals tournament, Chapin — while playing as a 3A team and, this year, a 4A team — has advanced to the state finals and finished as the state runner-up four times.
In addition to its 12 state titles since 2000, Eastside finished as the Class 3A state runner-up three times from 1990 to 1999.
Both Eagle teams competing last week for the duals 4A championship have made it to the state finals more than most. Chapin has dealt with Eastside in two state duals championship matchups — 2005 and 2017 — and the upstate Eagles have won both of them.
With the frequency that these two programs earn a trip to the finals, the probability that they will some day meet again in that match should be high. If they do, the local Eagles will be ready and able to dethrone the current Eagle winner.