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South wrestlers pin down top spot at Newberry
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By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

South Effingham’s wrestling team took time away from other summer pursuits last weekend to continue its pursuit of area dominance in the upcoming winter months.

The Mustangs won all 15 dual matches at the Newberry Duals from June 28 to Friday, perhaps putting foes on notice that second place will not be tolerated.

During the last school season, SEHS went 35-3 in dual matches, but placed second to Brunswick for the Region 2-AAAAAA title and was second to Buford in the four-team, first round of state.

“I think the best thing about this summer camp was the team building we accomplished,” Mustangs coach Christopher Bringer said. “We were able to take a lot of kids and I think we showed what we’re about as a program. We want to win it all (state) and I think everyone is on board to achieve that goal.”

South took 26 wrestlers — fielding a varsity and a junior varsity team, including nine freshmen and two eighth graders — to a camp that began with three days of takedown instruction and strategy for the top position.

Bringer said former Effingham County High School standouts Isiah Royal and Zebrandon Gant were instructors. Both were state champions in high school before moving on to star at Newberry.

South wrestlers seemed to soak in the knowledge en route to beating Hoke County of North Carolina for the team title. The Mustangs also knocked off rivals Richmond Hill (34-12) and Brunswick (28-15) and stunned Lugoff-Elgin, South Carolina’s No. 2 team in Class AAAA, 32-12.

SEHS’ Danny Galindez, the younger brother of 113-pound state champion Jacob Galindez, went 14-1. Emilio Santana was also 14-1. Jacob Stellhorn, who defeated state champion Jeremiah Barzanti from Lugoff-Elgin, and Ashton Tootle split time at 125 and combined for an 18-1 record.

Sophomore Moose Bringer, coach Bringer’s son, went 13-2 (10 pins) and defeated Richmond Hill’s two-time state placer Colin Dragon.

And Bear Bringer, coach Bringer’s eighth-grade son, went 12-3.

There were other pleasant surprises for the Mustangs. Newcomer Gannon White defeated a state qualifier from North Carolina and, in what Bringer called the “match of the weekend,” Nicholas Sessions defeated a wrestler who placed fifth at state in North Carolina to avenge a loss to the same wrestler the previous day.

Bringer also praised the efforts of heavyweight Ashton Anderson and Enrique Santana, who wrestled up in weight.

South also fielded a junior varsity team that won 5 of its 15 matches.

“This one week at Newberry has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my coaching career,” Bringer said in an email. “This team truly bonded and made the best of this opportunity to wrestle at one of the best Division II wrestling colleges in the United States. (I’m) super proud of the bonding that took place and to cap it off winning 15 duals in 3 days was just an added bonus.”