UNION COUNTY — The Sims Middle School wrestling team placed a close second during Saturday’s Peachtree Invitational Tournament.
The Peachtree Invitational Wrestling Tournament was held at Union County High School this year, and the overall winner was Carver Middle School (Spartanburg County).
This was the first Peachtree Invitational tournament in the last five years which was not won by Sims Middle School, however, Sims came in second place, giving Carver a close call.
Sims Coach Jon Langenfeld said he was proud of his team’s performance.
“You guys fought hard today,” Langenfeld told the team following the tournament. “I’m proud of every one of you and your hard work this year. I wouldn’t trade y’all for any team in the world.”
Sims had to forfeit two weight classes during the tournament, and different outcomes in two of the matches could have put the team in first place.
Union County High School wrestling coach GB McDaniel said not only did Sims have to forfeit two weight classes, but 14 out of the 15 guys who wrestled for Sims placed in the top four in their individual weight classes.
“That is unheard of,” McDaniel told the rising Yellow Jackets. “That says something about your team. You have work to do to get your title back, but y’all have a chance to be unbelievable next year!”
Sims wrestlers who placed first in their weight classes included Daniel “Ricky Bobby” Belue (126), Drey Glenn (210), and Jurvae Gray (285). Nine wrestlers from Sims went on to the finals.
McDaniel told 8th graders they have a chance to work and come help the UCHS wrestling team, which is currently 15-2 and one win away from its first region championship.
“Y’all are a part of something special, don’t forget that,” McDaniel told the students. “I’m proud of all of you. You fought through adversity with guys quitting and guys getting hurt, and you still kept winning. Don’t forget the ones who stuck it out and kept fighting for your team. Stay together, win together!”
McDaniel and Langenfeld thanked coaches Will Hickson, Mark Moss, Mitchell Moss and Richard Puckett for helping with the tournament, as well as students’ parents. McDaniel told parents he wants to teach students more than just wrestling.
“I hope you feel what we do for your boys is helping them not just get better at wrestling but to become better young men,” McDaniel said. “I came to Union to build a great wrestling program, but my main goal has never changed. My goal is to see these guys one day when they are older, and they shake my hand and not thank me for wrestling but thank me for helping them become young men.”
McDaniel said he is tough on students, but only to try to help them.
“It’s a new world we are in but I continue to hold on to my old school ways,” he said. “Hard work, manners, respect for others, and caring about other people is what will always make you successful.”
Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234.