"The Palmetto State’s most
Memorable Memories, in my eyes"
Major league baseball announced last night the most memorable baseball moments. The number one choice was surely a good one, but not one that I would have selected as my number one. The top honor went to Cal Ripken Jr. for breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak in 1995 in Baltimore. Now this was a great accomplishment and could possible stand the test of times but not the moments I would have picked. I would consider Babe Ruth’s all time homerun record being broken by the Atlanta Braves Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig’s famous farewell speech in Yankee Stadium in 1939, Pete Rose breaking Ty Cobb's all time career hits record in 1985 or even Kirk Gibson's pinch hit home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win game 1 of the 1988 World Series as my most memorable. Well I did not vote and most of these happened before I was born. However in all my love of baseball and admiration for the great moments, it got me thinking of my next column. What are the greatest moments in the history of South Carolina high school wrestling? Here is my list I complied while watching the Angels blow a 3 run lead and let the Giants tie up the World Series at 2 games apiece on Wednesday night. Here goes...
#1 Ike Anderson placing 6th at the 1988 Olympic Games. Ike wrestled Greco Roman at 136.5 and is believed to be the only former South Carolina high school wrestler to have competed in the Olympics. Ike was a standout at Lower Richland high school winning the state title and having a successful career at Appalachian State University. He is currently a Greco Roman Developmental coach for USA Wrestling and has made several trips back to South Carolina for camps, clinics, and support of our state.
#2 Dan Wirnsberger placing 2nd at 1996 NCAA championships. Dan was a 3x All American at Michigan State University and a former NHSCA Senior National Runner-up. Dan also was a 4x state champ winning 3 titles for Greer H.S. in South Carolina and one in Kansas his Sophomore year. Dan moved on and for several years as the Head Assistant coach at Virginia Tech and is currently the Head wrestling coach at Bloomsburg.
#3 Lamar Thompson winning the 2nd Annual (1991) NHSCA Senior Nationals in Pittsburgh, Pa. Lamar was a standout wrestler at Rock Hill high school winning 2 state titles and continued on into college playing football at Newberry. Lamar is now the Head Wrestling coach at Sullivan Middle School.
#4 Shelton Benjamin becoming a Division 1 All-American for the University of Minnesota in '97 and '98. Shelton was a NJCAA national champion in wrestling and track. He was a 2x state champ at Orangeburg Wilkerson H.S. and a 1994 NHSCA All American. Shelton is currently in the minor leagues of WWE professional wrestling making his way into the WWE.
#5 Ben Connel won the 2000 NHSCA Senior Wrestling championships in Pittsburgh, Pa. Ben is only the 5th 4x S.C. state champion in the states history. Ben also was a Cadet freestyle All American and attended Oklahoma University however is transferring to the University of North Carolina @ Chapel Hill.
#6 Terrance Thompson winning the 1998 Junior Greco Roman National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota.
#7 Carl Van Sewell (1975-1978) from Airport High School becoming the first 4x South Carolina high school champion in 1978.
#8 1997 State Championships at Irmo H.S. when Detreick Gaston of Byrnes high school was losing to Cy White of Dutch Fork High School at 125lbs in the State finals when White put Gaston on his back with a "SPLADLE" but Gaston being so flexible was able to get up on his elbows and hip and stay off his back. He was then able to get out of the move and reverse White while putting him on his back and winning his first state title. This, if you were there, was one of the most exciting 2 minutes ever in the history of wrestling. Detrieck passed away later that summer and is no longer with us but that great moment will never leave us that were there.
#9 ****South Carolina placing 2nd behind New Jersey in the first ever National High School Open Championships in 1997 held in North Carolina.
#10 ****The state high school league holding the state championships (4A, 3A, 2A-1A) under one roof at Furman University in 1999.
- 1997/98 Lugoff- Elgin H.S. Breaking Rock Hill H.S. 18 year strangle hold as champions at the prestigious Bearcat Invitational.
- 1985 Rock Hill H.S. became the first out of state team to compete at the prestigious Virginia Duals (high school division)
- 1998 Hillcrest High School became the first South Carolina High School team to compete in the Delaware Mid Atlantic Classic (Beast of the East) in Newark, Delaware. The tournament was the number 3 high school tournament in the nation that year and for the past several years has been named the number one high school tournament in the nation.
- Ryan McClester from Lugoff Elgin high school was national runner-up at the NHSCA Senior Nationals in 2001. Ryan defeated the Outstanding Wrestler from New York in the semis to make the finals that year. Ryan was a 3x South Carolina state champion and is currently wrestling at the Citadel and the number one guy at 125.
Well there’s my list and I really think that these are the top memories that I have. I am sure you out there have many more so please email them to me and let me know what you think. Hope you guys enjoyed this look back at South Carolina's greatest Moments in History