UNION COUNTY — The Union County High School wrestling team won its first two region matches on Tuesday.
First, Yellow Jacket Wrestling defeated Woodruff 64-12.
“Every kid won except two,” said Coach GB McDaniel. “It was a dominating win.”
The team’s second match was against the defending region champion, Broome, and Union County won with a score of 51-26.
“It was a close match til we got to our 170-pounder Luis Gallegos,” McDaniel said. “He pinned and started a trend as we won the rest of the matches by pin at 182, 195, 220, and 285.”
McDaniel said he knew Broome would be a tough match.
“They have a great coach who always has his guys ready to wrestle,” McDaniel said. “We hung tough in our lower weights and dominated up top. That is exactly what we discussed as a team going into the match.”
McDaniel said the Yellow Jackets left some points on the board in the Broome match, and they will need to pick those up to beat Chapman and Chester.
“We win those two matches, and we will hang our first region banner in Union County wrestling history, I believe,” he said.
Over the Christmas break, the team wrestled at the Crescent High School duals and won the team tournament, beating Crescent — a top five team in 2A — and Belton-Honea Path — who is 3A and currently ranked 4th in the state.
“The match with BHP was close and it came down to our 170 Luis Gallegos,” McDaniel said, adding that Gallegos avenged a loss from earlier in the season, defeating the wrestler from BHP by points and winning the match for his team with a final score of 39-36.
“We had never won a team tournament before or beaten a top five team,” McDaniel said. “I believe getting over this hump has shown our guys that we can compete and go for this state title.”
Yellow Jacket Wrestling is currently 14-2 for the season, with its two losses being to 4A teams.
“I’m proud of our guys and their effort last night,” McDaniel said on Wednesday. “If we can keep this momentum then the sky is the limit.”
The wrestling team will compete this weekend in an individual tournament which McDaniel said will let his wrestlers see where they stand against some good competition.
“It will be just like our Upper State tournament with a lot of 3A teams in the tournament,” he said. “We hope to have a lot of placers and a few guys win it.”