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Ham-led Demons battle their way to third in Southern Slam

Posted: December 7, 2015 3:43 p.m.
Updated: December 8, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I photo/

A THIRD-PLACE FINISH in the Southern Slam tournament was even better than first-year L-E head coach Ted Monroe could have hoped for his Demons.

Before heading to Taylors for Friday’s Southern Slam wrestling tournament at Eastside High School, first-year Lugoff-Elgin head coach Ted Monroe said a top six finish in the ultra-competitive field would have been a feather in his team’s cap.

The Demons did twice as good as their coach hoped in leaving the two-day event with 147 points, good for third in the 37-team field. Archer High School from Georgia, a program which finished sixth in the nation last year, ran away with the title with 300.5 points. Rock Hill, the two-time defending 4A state champion, was second with 177 points followed by L-E with 147. Tournament host Eastside ( 139 points) and Davie County (Ga.) (124) rounded out the top five.

A third-place finish exceeded Monroe’s expectations going into the tourney.

“I was very pleased with how we wrestled in what is arguably the toughest wrestling tournament in South Carolina,” he said. “To finish third is awesome for our guys and our program. I thought we wrestled phenomenally well.”

The Demons had a champion in 195-pound Seth Ham. The senior who started his high school career at L-E as a freshman before attending Cardinal Newman and winning a pair of SCISA state titles as a sophomore and a junior, returned to L-E in mid-November. In the Southern Slam, Ham won all of his matches by pin en route to being voted the most outstanding wrestler in the upper weight divisions.

Ham defeated Brayden Forth of Archer High School, 14-4, in the finals.

Noah North, a junior 145-pounder for the Demons, took second in his weight class, falling to nationally ranked Chris Diaz of Archer in the finals, 5-1.

L-E sophomore Devin Wilson was third at 120 pounds as were senior Jacob Power at 132 and junior Taylor Catoe at 138 pounds. 

“Those guys racked up a lot of bonus points for us with pins which helped add to our team total,” Monroe said of the top three finishes posted by his wrestlers.

Not to be lost in the shuffle were the efforts of Evan McDonald at 160 and Alex Register at 220 pounds whose wins helped pushed the Demons to third place.

“I was very pleased, overall, with the way we wrestled,” Monroe said of the weekend.

“Coming into the tournament, I thought that a top-six or, a top-seven finish would have been great. But we far exceeded that off the strength of what six of our wrestlers did.”

While pleased with his team’s performance, Monroe was quick to point out that there is still work to be done and holes in the lineup which must be filled.

“We still have some areas that we need to address,” Monroe said. “We still are dealing with some injuries and we have some issues with our lineup that we need to take care of. But the way we wrestled at the Southern Slam is going to give a lot of our guys a lot of confidence. Now, we just have to figure out ways to plug the holes in our lineup.”


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