Hello again South Carolina wrestling fans. Last week I tried to make a complete list of all former South Carolina wrestlers on the collegiate level. I think I did okay however there were a few names I left off the list. After further research I found that we have 2 wrestlers at Military Academies in the United States. Paul Sallee from James Island High School at 149 should be finishing up his collegiate career at the Merchant Marine Academy and beginning his, Jason Ruiz, from Fort Dorchester High School at 157 (2002) is in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy. Following his former teammate into the college ranks is 2002 South Carolina State Champion Anthony Corwin from Fort Dorchester High School is attending William Penn College in Iowa. Also back down south attending the Apprentice School in Va. is Marquis Camp (2001, 133) from Gaffney High School and his former Indian teammate Josh Spencer is trying to walk on at Gardner Webb University. Rounding out the last few wrestlers from South Carolina on the college level is Tom Glenn at Duke University from Riverside High School at 165 pounds.
Big news in the last couple of weeks is that Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah has announced that they will be starting a Men’s Division I wrestling program in the fall of 2004. This is a bright ray of light and hope in the sometimes dark world of college wrestling. In the last 30 some years over 300 college wrestling programs have been dropped due to the misinterpretation of Title IX and gender equity issues. This list of over 300 college programs includes South Carolina institutions that formerly had wrestling programs such as Furman University, South Carolina State, Clemson University, and Winthrop. Unlike many colleges and universities, UVSC is adding to our sport and not taking away from it. The state of Utah is quickly becoming a hotbed for good high school wrestlers that are turning into great college wrestlers. Just think if Utah had an instate wrestling program that was able to keep their wrestling talent instate, they would have been national champions at the Division I Nationals in Albany, NY this past March. Just look at a possible or “make believe” Utah University lineup if they kept their instate talent. At 133 Ryan Lewis was a national runner-up for the Golden Gophers of Minnesota, Aaron Holker was a national champ at 141 for the Iowa State Cyclones, Justin Ruiz 197 of Nebraska was an All American ,and last but not least, “Mighty” Cael Sanderson who went undefeated for the Iowa State University in his 4 years of college (159-0) and won 4 NCAA Division I titles, he is only the 2nd to do that and the first to win 4 and go undefeated. That would have been some squad “Utah University” could have put together these past few years. Not to mention many other talents out there from the state of Utah making noise on the national level ready to break into the All American status.
Now finishing out my column for this week I will discuss the national rankings released last week by Wrestlingmall.com. The only South Carolina representative was none other than Travis Drake the 133 from Appalachian State. Out of the 200 ranked wrestlers (20 in 10 weight classes) Travis was the only one from South Carolina to make an appearance being listed as the number 17th wrestler in the country. In other rankings Travis is ranked 15 by Intermatwrestle.com which ranks the top 25 as well as listing Honorable Mention wrestlers. Travis was ranked as high as 10 by some rankings last year and will look to finish his career cracking into the top 8 at the national tournament in March in Missouri. Travis was a 2x state runner-up and 2x state champ for Cheraw High School coached by Scott Harmon (now the coach at Chapin) from 1995 to 1998. In 1997 he was a member of the South Carolina Junior Greco and Freestyle Teams that competed in Fargo, ND. In 1998 he was also on the South Carolina Senior National Team that attended Senior Nationals in Pittsburgh, PA. Travis finished 8th at the Senior Nationals that year losing a tight match in the Quarterfinals, 4-3, to Skyler Holman (Ok) who ended up 2nd that year and was a 2002 NCAA All American for Oklahoma University. He later lost in the consolation-semis to Nate Parker (Va) ,6-5ot, who ended up 3rd at the Senior nationals and was a 2002 NCAA All American for Oklahoma University. Best of luck to Travis this year and hope to see you standing on the podium in March.
If you have information on the college scene, send it to Robby Bell.