UNION COUNTY — A win next week could mean a historical region championship for Union County Wrestling.
The Union County High School wrestling team defeated Chapman with a score of 47-24. The team is now 15-2 for the season and 3-0 in the region. A win over Chester on Tuesday, Jan. 21, would mean the Yellow Jackets are region champions for the first time in “Union County Yellow Jacket” history. Before local schools consolidated to make UCHS, Union High School’s last region championship was in the 1970s under Coach Barnes.
In one exciting match against Chapman on Tuesday, Dylan Beheler — who is undefeated at 145 — had to take down his opponent in the last 10 seconds to tie the match, and he scored a take-down in overtime to win.
“It was exciting but it never should have been that close,” said Union County Wrestling Coach G.B. McDaniel, adding that he expects Beheler to contend for a state title. “He needs to keep working on his shots and footwork, and he will be great.
McDaniel also said the team’s heavyweight Octavius Thompson beat his opponent — a state placer last year — in a triple overtime thriller to end the match.
“We had already won, but it was exciting to watch,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said the team’s match with Chapman was a good one, but he was unhappy with the number of points left on the board.
“We can’t do that this coming Tuesday or in the playoffs,” he said. “We fully expect to win and secure a home date for the playoffs. We are a tough team right now and can beat anybody if we wrestle our best.”
Right now, the team’s sights are set on the upcoming match against Chester.
“The guys are pumped and ready to win so I am hoping Tuesday will be a great day for us,” McDaniel said. “We will have to wrestle tough and need big matches from our 106- to our 145-pounders. If they can do their jobs it will be a great day in Union County wrestling history.”
McDaniel also said he enjoys being considered the underdog.
“Chapman was ranked No. 8 in the state according to polls, meanwhile we are 16th or something,” he said. “I like that though. I would rather not be ranked at all. I like making our guys work for it. I tell them the rankings only matter at the end.”
McDaniel said a win on Tuesday will mean team members did what they expected and had a good year. He also said some wins in the playoffs and a run at the state championship would make for a great year, with his wrestlers accomplishing what they should have.
The Peachtree Invitational
Union County High School will host the Peachtree Invitational tournament, beginning at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 18. Sims Middle School will compete in the tournament for its fifth championship in a row.
“We expect it to be tough but if our little guys can wrestle tough and make some noise and our big guys win like they have been all year, then we feel we have an excellent shot to take home the trophy in our own back yard,” McDaniel said.
Another team to watch in Saturday’s tournament will be Carver Middle School. Carver is coming off a tournament win in Spartanburg County, and they defeated Sims Middle School in a dual earlier in the school year.
“If one match would have went our way, it would have been a different match,” McDaniel said. “Hopefully the Sims guys understand how each match matters in a tournament of this style and will wrestle their best.”
McDaniel said Sims Wrestling Coach Jon Langenfeld has the team pumped up and ready to wrestle tough.