SCMAT Exclusive Wrestling Article for 2-23-16

28th S.C. North/South All-Star Wrestling Classic
Bryant Blanton 1 JC Oddo 1 Brantley Hooks 1
Bryant Blanton (Summerville/Newberry College) ------ JC Oddo (Eastside/The Citadel) ------- Brantley Hooks (Byrnes/Bucknell University)
The S.C. North/South All-Star Wrestling Classic is getting ready to hold our 28th year for the event from March 4-March 5 at North Myrtle Beach High School. Many wrestling greats have been through the grassroots of wrestling in South Carolina and have competed on the collegiate level. Bryant Blanton, JC Oddo and Brantley Hooks are highlighted above from their high school days. They were each honored with a "Wrestler of the Year" award at the North/South All-Star banquet. The S.C. All-Star match is rich in history and we are fortunate to have a Coaches Association that has made this event such a tremendous success. To take you back in time 28-something years ago ... before every current senior All-Star was born ... The first All-Star match was held in 1989 at Brookland Cayce High School. It was a one-day event held on Saturday. The event would run for three years as just an All-Star match before converting in 1992 to the team format with North versus South. Herald-Journal article from 1989 on the first All-Star match in S.C. The idea for the All-Star match came out the SC Wrestling Coaches Association with Coach Jim Barnes (Rock Hill) getting primary credit from his peers. The Coaches would often get together to talk about ways to improve wrestling in the State of S.C. and the idea for the All-Star match came out of one of those get togethers. As Coach John Checkovich recalled it was probably over a bucket of chicken in Columbia. Coach Checkovich, who started the wrestling team at Brookland Cayce in 1968-1969 when S.C. wrestling first began, would become the leader and organizer of our All-Star event for many years. All of the coaches were involved pulling meals together, donating T-shirts, giving money to the event ... what ever it took, they found a way to make it succeed! Coach Jim Barnes would later be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007 Coach John Checkovich would later be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2008 When Coach Checkovich retired in 2000, the All-Star Classic remained at Brookland-Cayce for one year, through 2001. With the event being financially challenged every year, The SC Wrestling Coaches Association and Coach Ken Wilson moved the event to Spring Valley. Coach Wilson saw an opportunity to change the format and draw more interest from wrestling fans. Coach Ken Wilson and his Spring Valley assistants, Coach David Henderson and Coach Tom Smith, started expanding the pairings to create Featured matches. During the 2002 North-South All-Star Classic, Careef Robertson (171-4A-Dutch Fork) was matched up against Brent Poynter (160-3A-Eastside) in the middle of the match. This was the "State Champ vs. State Champ" premier format that everyone wanted to watch. Careef Robertson was 45-1 with his only loss coming in double OT to a Paulsboro, NJ wrestler while in Virginia for the Deep Creek Hornet Holiday Classic. Brent Poynter was 51-0 on the season. Both wrestlers were 2x state champions. Robertson gained a decision in the match and many fans still remember the excitement of these two being matched up. By the next year, the new format was born and the 2003 All-Star program promoted a new "State Champ vs. State Champ" addition to the event. Hence, the first Dream match came in 2003 and has been noted by many as one of the most exciting Feature matches to date. At Spring Valley that year, after 6 premier "State Champ vs. State Champ" matches were held on 2 mats, they closed down to one mat for the final bout. Fans and wrestlers all came down and surrounded the mat to watch a thrilling match between TJ Selke (Dutch Fork) and Alex Piper (Hilton Head). Alex Piper was 56-0 on the season and the 4A State Champ at 145 lbs. TJ Selke was 39-1 on the season, with his only loss coming in Virginia, and he had won a 4A state title at 140 lbs, his second title. Selke would win 3-2 and a photo of the match would end up on the cover of Wrestling USA Magazine. Sept15 2003 The All-Star event has grown from a 1-day event on a shoe string budget to a 4-day event with Coaches arriving on Wednesday, Wrestlers arriving on Thursday and the North-South All-Star matches occurring on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The coaches have done an amazing job with organizing hotel accomodations, exceptional meals, warm-ups for the wrestlers, etc. Coach Charlie Clay of North Myrtle Beach H.S. was the cornerstone for this event moving to NMB and gaining greater stature. He was largely responsible for taking the event to the next level, gaining major sponsors like Best Western and Outback, and making the expanded 4-day event a career highlight moment for 70-80 seniors and coaches every year. Coach Clay announced his retirement from coaching wrestling at the end of the 2008 season and though he remains involved in the North/South All-Star event, the NMB Coaching staff continues the great tradition on The Strand. Here is a history of the All-Star Classic: 1989, 1990, 1991 - top 4 seniors, all classes, known as the SCWCA All-Star Classic 1989 1989 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 1990 1990 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 1991 1991 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 1992 In 1992 the format changed to a team concept with North versus South 4A North 36, South 18 3A-2A-1A South 29, North 26 1992 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 1993 4A South 31, North 23 3A-2A-1A South 31, North 27 1993 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 1994 4A North 40, South 18 3A-2A-1A South 38, North 18 1994 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 1995 4A South 35, North 15 (validating if South had 32) 3A-2A-1A South 21, North 15 1995 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 1996 4A North 34, South 24 (validating if North had 31) 3A-2A-1A North 38, South 23 1996 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 1997 4A South 38, North 31 (validating if South had 39) 3A-2A-1A South 62, North 18 (validating if South had 65 and North had 15) 1997 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 1998 4A South 36, North 33 3A-2A-1A North 43, South 32 1998 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 1999 4A North 38, South 32 3A North 34, South 24 2A-1A North 32, South 24 1999 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic (Rulon Gardner speaks at the 1999 SC Wrestling All-Star Banquet one year before winning Olympic Gold) 2000 4A South 32, North 32 (South wins by criteria, most individual wins 9-8) 3A North 51, South 21 2A-1A South 30, North 21 2000 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2001 4A South 49, North 12 3A South 55, North 10 2A-1A North 31, South 23 2001 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2002 South 120, North 37 2002 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2003 North 97, South 82 2003 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2004 South 84, North 76 2004 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2005 South 87, North 69 2005 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2006 North 77, South 70 2006 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2007 South 81, North 68 2007 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2008 North 80, South 56 2008 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2009 South 53, North 46 2009 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2010 South 87, North 69 2010 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2011 1st Place match 4A/1A North 46, 3A/2A North 30 3rd Place match 3A/2A South 36, 4A/1A South 27 Semi's match 4A/1A North 61, 3A/2A South 24 Semi's match 3A/2A North 36, 4A/1A South 33 2011 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2012 1st Place match 3A/2A North 49, 4A/1A North 26 3rd Place match 4A/1A South 32, 3A/2A South 24 Semi's match 4A/1A North 43, 3A/2A South 42 Semi's match 3A/2A North 43, 4A/1A South 31 2012 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2013 1st Place match 4A/1A South 46, 3A/2A South 41 3rd Place match 4A/1A North 49, 3A/2A North 22 Semi's match 4A/1A South 54, 3A/2A North 27 Semi's match 3A/2A South 47, 4A/1A North 36 2013 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2014 1st Place match 4A-1A South 36, 4A-1A North 28 3rd Place match 3A-2A North 35, 3A-2A South 28 Semi's match 4A-1A North 50, 3A-2A South 43 Semi's match 4A-1A South 55, 3A-2A North 15 2014 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic 2015 1st Place match 4A/1A South 36, 4A/1A North 34 3rd Place match 3A/2A North 42, 3A/2A South 36 Semi's match 4A-1A South 42, 3A-2A North 33 Semi's match 4A-1A North 63, 3A-2A South 16 2015 South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic South (Lower State) leads the North (Upper State) in the all time series 25-22 Locations for the All-Star event over the years: Brookland Cayce - 1989-1993, 1995-2001 Lexington - 1994 Spring Valley - 2002, 2003 North Myrtle Beach - 2004 to present One of the great traditions that came out of the North/South All-Star event was the "Wrestler of the Year" awards given out by the SC Wrestling Coaches Association. Here is a history of this annual award given out at the North/South All-Star banquet: 2014-2015 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Gage Cervenka - Emerald (Coach Andy Wright) 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - James Sass- Summerville (Coach Darryl Tucker) 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Dylan Gary - Belton-Honea Path (Coach Chris Strickland) 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Daquan Chappell - Central (Coach Rondale Truesdale) 2013-2014 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Clay Walker - Eastside 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Jackson Myers - Lexington 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Patrick James - West-Oak 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Josh McDermett - Academic Magnet 2012-2013 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Dennis Flores - Hanahan 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Will Thomas - Dorman 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Label Lewis - Hilton Head 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Player Long - Bamberg-Ehrhardt 2011-2012 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Jordan Wigger - Summerville 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - T.J. Dudley - Irmo 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Cortez Starkes - Greenville 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Ethan Nobles - Aynor 2010-2011 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Aaron Hansen - Summerville 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Weston Beck - Rock Hill 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Stuart Hope - Chapin 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Jamar Gore - Loris 2009-2010 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Ian Harper - Chesterfield 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Seiji Borja - Fort Dorchester 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - John Hunnicutt - West-Oak 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Akkerian Gilliam - Woodruff 2008-2009 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Eddie Coles - Eastside 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Brandon Fiex - Fort Mill 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Eric Rholetter - West Oak 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Zane Newton - Emerald 2007-2008 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - T.T. Prayther - North Myrtle Beach 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Robert Quinn - Fort Dorchester 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Corbin Martin - Eastside 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Dalton Harper - Chesterfield 2006-2007 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - J.C. Oddo, Eastside 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Christain Johnson, Summerville 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Winfred McMoore, Berea 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Pat Stanley, Bishop England 2005-2006 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Brantley Hooks, Byrnes 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Bryant Blanton, Summerville 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Matt Leach, Eastside 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Derek Royster, Woodruff 2004-2005 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - J.J. Davis, Byrnes 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Stryker Huffman, Fort Dorchester 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Ronnell Harper, Belton-Honea Path 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Damien Pegues, Cheraw 2003-2004 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Gerald Turner, Summerville 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Andrew Young, Summerville 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Ian Barker, Summerville 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Kyle Kimrey, Dutch Fork 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Chris Humphries, Riverside 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Donte Isaac, Cheraw 2002-2003 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - T.J. Selke - Dutch Fork 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Nick Leone - Dutch Fork 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Alex Piper - Hilton Head 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Theo Meryanos - Carolina Forest 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Brian McFadden - Lake City 2A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Darius Caldwell - Swansea 1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Harley Lail - Indian Land 2001-2002 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Careef Robertson - Dutch Fork 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Andy King - Fort Mill 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Watch Brockington - Lake City 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Matt Brigman - Swansea 2000-2001 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Rodney Wallace - Bamberg-Ehrhardt 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Steven Kamyk - Fort Dorchester 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Ryan McClester - Lugoff-Elgin 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Jeff Courson - Lugoff-Elgin 2A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Marquis Ratliff - Cheraw 1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Matt Gibson - Indian Land 1999-2000 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Ben Connell - Lugoff-Elgin 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Marcus Cherry - Rock Hill 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Brent McCorkle - Eastside 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Jeremy Mosely - Chapin 1998-1999 S.C. Senior Wrestler of the Year - Chris Collins - Rock Hill 4A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Ben LaPrad - Dutch Fork 3A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Ben Bindewald - Riverside 2A-1A Senior Wrestler of the Year - Kenny James - Swansea Prior to 1998-1999, the Charleston based Magazine "High School Sports Report" covered our annual wrestling awards, starting in 1994. No records are available fom 1994-1998, though we have pursued getting the awards list from the High School Sports Report with no luck. And finally, some interesting trivia from the North/South All-Star event ... Six Wrestling USA Magazine cover shots have been from the S.C. North/South All-Star event.
Mar01 2006 2005 North/South All-Star Classic March 1, 2006 - State Champion J.J. Davis (Byrnes High School) works to turn Corey Dangerfield (Airport High School) in J.J.ís 18-3 victory. Dec15 2004 2004 North/South All-Star Classic December 15, 2004 - Chris Humphries of Riverside rides legs on Gerald Turner of Summerville but gets whistled for being potentially dangerous. Turner would win this North-South All-Star match 5-4 in an epic battle of two multi-state champs. Fall 2004 2004 North/South All-Star Classic Fall 2004 Buyers Guide - Chris Humphries of Riverside vs. Gerald Turner of Summerville Spring 2005 2004 North/South All-Star Classic Spring 2005 Buyers Guide - Matt Silverberg of North Myrtle Beach vs. Timothy Taylor of Lake City Sept15 2003 2003 North/South All-Star Classic September 15, 2003 - State Champion at 145 lbs. Alex Piper of Hilton Head High School, shoots a single leg on 2x state champion at 140, T.J. Selke, Dutch Fork. Selke won 3-2 and was honored with the South Carolina Wrestler of the Year Award. Photo from the North-South All-Star match. Feb15 1994 1994 North/South All-Star Classic February 15, 1994 - At the North/South All-Star Classic, Brian Collier of Summerville secures the leg of Union's Mike Clowney to prevent an escape. Brian defeated Mike to finish his senior year at 34-0. We believe the S.C. North/South event is one of the longest running state All-Star events of its kind. PA All-Stars vs. USA All-Stars is probably the most well known high school All-Star event, but most states do not have an All-Star event for wrestling and for the states we have found holding a similar event, South Carolina appeared to be years ahead of everyone else. The following list is a draft of what we have found across the country. First Year listed for each All-Star event in these states with some notes (send updates/corrections to scmat@hotmail.com) 1975 - Dapper Dan (PA All-Stars vs. USA All-Stars) - http://www.wrestlingclassic.com 1982 - Nebraska Est-West All-Star Classic (probably started between 1982-1985, can not confirm yet) 1987 - Kansas Senior Wrestling Classic All-Star 1989 - South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association (SCWCA) North/South All-Star Classic 1991 - Gene Gehl All-Star Wrestling Classic (Wisconsin) 1993 - MSWA Senior All-Star Classic (Maryland vs. Virginia) - (possibly had an All-Star match around 1982) 1994 - Indiana-Illinois All-Star Classic 1996 - South Dakota All-Star meet 1997 - The Wrestling USA/Cliff Keen Dream Team Classic - "Team USA" versus the top wrestlers from a host state 2001 - Utah Amateur Wrestling Foundation All-Star Duals 2002 - N.J. Coaches Association All-Star Invitational 2003 - Utah All-Star Classic 2005 - Oregon A vs. California Semior All-Star Dual - http://www.orcadual.com/ 2008 - Illinois vs. Iowa All-Star Classic 2009 - Montana Tournament of Champions All-Star Wrestling Event 2009 - Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance (MAWA) All-Star Tournament (restarted after 10+ years absence) ???? - Colorado Wrestling All-Star Team (one reference seen for a match in 1981, can not confirm history yet) ???? - Rhode Island ???? - Minnesota-Wisconsin Senior All-Star Classic Thanks to our S.C. Wrestling Coaches Association for the hard work and dedication to making this event so successful .... and best wishes to all the 2016 North/South All-Stars! Wrestlers at the 2016 North/South All-Star Wrestling Classic
If you notice a correction, addition or just want to comment please send a reply to scmat@hotmail.com thanks, Mark Buford SCMAT