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Ham, North wrestle their way to state 4A crowns
SETH HAM MADE a triumphant return to Lugoff-Elgin last fall as the senior won the 4A state championship at 195 pounds in Anderson last weekend. - photo by Photo courtesy of

Batting .400 gets baseball players elected into the Hall of Fame. It was none too shabby for the Lugoff-Elgin wrestling team this past weekend, either.

The Demons brought five wrestlers into last weekend’s South Carolina High School League state individual wrestling championship tournament held at the Anderson Civic Center. Ted Monroe’s troops came back with a pair of 4A state champions in senior 195-pounder Seth Ham and junior 145-pounder, Noah North.

For Ham, it was his third state title and first as a Demon.

Ham wrestled for L-E as a freshman before transferring to Cardinal Newman High School where he won state SCISA championships as a sophomore and a junior. Ham returned to L-E just prior to the start of the wrestling season and continued his run of dominance.

Ham did not lose to a wrestler from the state of South Carolina heading into Anderson and kept that streak intact as he finished his senior campaign with a 48-1 record.

Ham opened with a 15-0 technical fall win over Tylik Simril of Rock Hill in his first round match before having his toughest match of the weekend and, possibly his senior season, as he outpointed Caleb Hill of Easley, 5-4, in the semifinals. That scare was followed by Ham putting the topper on his campaign with a pin of Ashley Ridge’s Owen Trephan just 66 seconds into their championship pairing.

North went into the state individual finals as the top-ranked wrestler in the 145-pound class and received a first round forfeit to advance hsi way into the semifinals. It was there that North pinned Shanard Bain with 21 seconds left in the second round. It was the third time in which North defeated Bain, the former number one ranked 145-pounder, this season.

North would earn his first state championship when he won a 4-2 decision over Tanner Trephan of Ashley Ridge in the finals to put the finishing touches on a 33-1 season.

L-E junior 138-pounder Taylor Catoe lost a tough 4-3 decision to Nick Caspio of Dorman to open the event. Catoe came back to overwhelm Jaden Jenkins of Ashley Ridge, 13-1, in his next match to get into the consolation semifinals in which he pinned Mason Bradley of Gaffney 45 seconds into the match.

Catoe took third in the state with a 6-1 win over Zeke Bean of York to finish with a final season record of 46-5.

Nick Payne was fourth at 182 pounds for the Demons. The senior lost a 4-0 decision to Cade Rojas of Boiling Springs in the first round only to bounce back with a 5-4 win against Carl Manigan in his next match. A 6-5 win over Brian Amriz of Dorman catapulted Payne into the consolation finals where he dropped a 3-1 decision to Rojas.

Payne finished the season with a 21-7 record.

Devin Wilson had a tough go of it in Anderson. The 120-pound sophomore lost his first round match before bouncing back to score a 3-0 win over Brody Claussen of Fort Mill before being knocked from the tourney in the third round. Wilson ended his season with a 33-9 mark.

As a team, L-E finished fourth in the unofficial standings.

North Central had four AA-A state qualifiers with Michael Boone, Ricky Hinson and Brailyn Woods losing in the consolation semifinals at 113, 145 and 170 pounds, respectively, for Jason Brazell’s troops.

Woods opened with a pin of Khalil Chisolm from Battery Creek in the final 35 seconds before losing his next two matches in what was a 31-11 season. Hinson lost his first round match before winning by default over Contrel Grate of Loris in the second round before losing his third match of the weekend to finish out the year with a 44-13 record.

After opening with a loss at 113 pounds, NC’s Michael Boone came back to stay alive in the tournament with a 7-6 decision over Naseem Randolph in the second round. Boone (48-8) was then defeated in the consolation semifinals.

DeAunte Samuel lost his first two matches to finish with a 45-9 record.

North Central finished 24th in the AA-A portion of the tournament.