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CCHS: Caleb O’Quinn heading to Individual State Wrestling Finals in Anderson

Caleb O’Quinn faced off with region foe, James Sass from Summerville, once again in Lower State competition this past weekend. Photo by Cindy Crosby

Colleton County High School junior Caleb O’ Quinn earned a spot in the SCHSL AAAA Individual State Wrestling Finals after qualifying in this past weekend’s Lower State Championships. O’Quinn will travel to the Civic Center of Anderson on February 27-28, in a bid to bring home a state title.

In Lower State competition this past weekend, O’Quinn, a sixth seed in a fifteen man bracket, competed at 113 pounds. He faced the fifth seed, and region champion from Blythewood, Chris Vaughn. O’Quinn dominated right from the beginning, according to Coach Packy Burke, with a takedown in the first 30 seconds, which led to a tight arm bar turn for a pin in 90 seconds.

O’Quinn then faced the third seed and region champion from River Bluff High School, Hunter Sojourner. “This match was almost identical to the first match,” said Burke. “The results were the same for Caleb, he ended the match this time with a double arm bar to stack Sojourner on his back with a painful pin.” This win moved O’Quinn into the semi-finals on Saturday morning.

Although this was reason to celebrate, looming ahead for O’Quinn was making his weight class during Saturday morning weigh-in and facing the number two seed, Octavious Davis, who also sported the title of region champ, from Westwood High School. Making his weigh-in, O’Quinn and his coaching staff made a plan: eat and drink well, rest until 10:30 a.m., and be ready for the start of semi-finals at 11:30. However, still unclear as to why, the competition began two hours early. This would send O’Quinn into a critical match cold and on a full stomach, and according to Coach Burke, not a great combination for wrestlers.

O’Quinn and Davis, opponents not for the first time, have a history of splitting victories. According to Burke, both utilize conservative wrestling styles without making full commitment to shots and moves. After a 0-0 first period, O’Quinn would choose down and escape, giving him a 1-0 advantage. O’Quinn would go on to get the 1-0 win and move into the finals.

With a draw of region foe, and champion, James Sass from Summerville, the final round would not be easy for O’Quinn, having lost to him twice already during the regular season. However, Coach Burke and the coaching staff knew this was likely an inevitable match-up and had been preparing O’Quinn for two weeks. “I told Caleb not let Sass get his head and control him,” said Burke. “We also worked on using Caleb’s height advantage and the option of a more upper body offensive style; rather than getting under him with shots.”

According to Burke, Caleb O’Quinn stuck to the plan right off the whistle. “Although his first attempt at an inside trip failed and Sass countered eventually, earning the takedown,” said Burke. “He took O’Quinn straight to his back for two more near fall points, but he recovered and worked his way to his base.” Sass, who perhaps in over confidence, let O’Quinn back on his feet. After a short scramble, it was Sass this time who attempted the same earlier move of O’Quinn: an inside trip.

O’Quinn stood tall and countered with a bone-crushing headlock, sending Sass straight to his back. Working for the pin, O’Quinn held tough, but didn’t get the controversial call. As the official went from his feet to the mat to get a better eye of the pin, Sass bridged and re-rolled O’Quinn to his back, gaining the pin in a cradle, earning the win. “It was an exciting match to follow and will give Caleb much confidence going into the state tournament,” acknowledged Burke.

O’Quinn will face Ernest Grigorchuck (49-14), a junior from Boiling Springs in round one of the AAAA State Individual Championship. “Our plan is to take it one match at the time,” said Burke.

 

Cindy Crosby (369 Posts)