SCMAT Exclusive Wrestling Article 11-8-07
The Heavyweight Champion of the World!
What is it with our society's fascination with "The Heavyweight Champion of the World"? Was it instilled in us years ago when boxing matches would exclaim in a thunderous roar that we had a New Heavyweight Champion of the World? Was it further promoted in the American media with Rulon Gardner winning the HWT Greco-Roman Olympic Championship over the former Cold War Russian arch-rival? Let's not forget Bruce Baumgartner also captured Olympic Freestyle Gold, becoming America's first Olympic gold medalist in 60 years of super heavyweight wrestling. Where ever it started and where ever it last ended, it's here in South Carolina more than ever before. Let me get into the first SCMAT exclusive article and explain .... In our first 39 years of sanctioned wrestling in SC, we have had 91 total Heavy Weight Champions. This is across all classifications. Only 91. I'll estimate that about 50,000 athletes in SC have come out for wrestling at some point in time - high school, middle school, kids. I may be way off the mark, but the estimate hopefully is representative of a large number of participants, compared to the very few that win the biggest weight class of them all. Out of those 91, only 13 have won the Heavyweight class more than once, and all 13 only won it twice. No South Carolina Heavyweight wrestler has ever won 3 State title in the top weight class. Things could change this year with Robert Quinn of Fort Dorchester (pictured above with a single leg) going for his third state title in the HWT class ... potentially. Robert Quinn, also nicknamed the Man-Child early in his career, underwent emergency brain surgery at MUSC about 2 weeks ago to remove a tumor. Fortunately it was benign. The remainder of his senior football season is over including competing in the Shrine Bowl. We will wait and see if he can return to wrestle this season. We hope he recovers swiftly and returns to all of his athletic interests soon! If you are wondering about the elite 13 Heavyweights from SC history with 2 HWT titles, here they are --- Robert Quinn - Fort Dorchester Matt Briggman - Swansea Dustin Frye - Summerville Blake Hudson - Brookland-Cayce C.J. Frye - Irmo Shelton Benjamin - Orangeburg-Wilkinson Mel Carter - North Central Joel Holliday - Daniel James Hayes - Lower Richland Alex Henderson - Dreher Russ Howard - Greer David Clayton - Byrnes James Burkett - Dreher Interesting Trivia Fact #1 --- 5 of these 12 (Other than Robert Quinn) placed in State at the HWT class during their sophomore years, giving them 3 state placements at HWT, they are: 2A-1A 2nd Mel Carter 2A-1A 3rd Matt Briggman 4A 2nd David Clayton 4A 3rd C.J. Frye Interesting Trivia Fact #2 --- Only once have two brothers both won Heavyweight titles in SC, they are: 2006 - Josh Austin - Camden 2004 - Thomas Austin - Camden Interesting Trivia Fact #3 --- Two former SC Heavyweight Champions have gone on to play multiple seasons in the National Football League, they are: Chris Corley - Irmo Cleveland Pinckney - Sumter Interesting Trivia Fact #4 --- One of our famous SC Heavyweights became a Pro Wrestler after achieving All-American status in college every year! He is Shelton Benjamin of Orangeburg-Wilkinson. 1998 - Shelton Benjamin - University of Minnesota (NCAA D1) - 3rd, HWT 1997 - Shelton Benjamin - University of Minnesota (NCAA D1) - 5th, HWT 1996 - Shelton Benjamin - Lassen Junior College (NJCAA) - 1st, Hwt. 1995 - Shelton Benjamin - Lassen Junior College (NJCAA) - All-American, Hwt. Interesting Trivia Fact #5 --- More than any other weight class, SC wrestlers have found that the HWT class at the NHSCA Senior Nationals produced more All-Americans than any other class for SC (103 lbs. and 145 lbs. have each had 3 All-Americans). Here are the Four HWT wrestlers to capture All-American status at NHSCA Senior Nationals: 2000 275 1st Ben Connell (Lugoff-Elgin) 1999 275 4th C.J. Frye (Irmo) 1996 275 2nd Nick DiBenedetto (Rock Hill) 1994 275 3rd Shelton Benjamin (Orangeburg-Wilkinson) Interesting Trivia Fact #6 --- One of our famous SC Heavyweights not only became a NHSCA Senior National Champion but he also was the 2000 National Dave Schultz High School Award winner, honoring the best high school wrestler: 2000 Ben Connell of Lugoff-Elgin Interesting Trivia Fact #7 --- Only one SC Coach has coached 2 of the Elite 13 Heavyweights above (though he transfered from one school to another and only coached one HWT championship season for both wrestlers), he is: Coach Quincy Riley - 2001, Matt Briggman of Swansea and 2002 Blake Hudson of Brookland-Cayce. Hopefully in our first SCMAT exclusive article for 2007-2008 the history of SC wrestling is defining itself as an exciting past with a future awaiting more greatness. These historical articles at SCMAT will hopefully provide accurate facts though we may always have missed some data at some point. If you notice a correction, addition or just want to comment please send a reply to firstname.lastname@example.org thanks, Mark Buford