It was a very good year for high school wrestlers in the Lowcountry.
Fort Dorchester's B.D. LaPrad has been a wrestling coach for 32 years and he said "It's probably one of the best years ever for this area.
"There are so many good wrestlers in this area, and that's a tribute to the coaches, the dedication, hard work and so forth."
The Lowcountry has some good wrestlers, and it has some great wrestlers.
Fort Dorchester's Seiji Borja is definitely in the great category. He posted a 50-0 record this year in the 152-pound division and captured his third-straight state championship. Borja's effort earned him The Post and Courier's Wrestler of the Year honor, and he heads up the All-Lowcountry team which includes six state champions and five state runners-up.
Borja's career was remarkable as he posted a 178-8 record in four years with the Patriots, helping them to two team state championships. He was nearly unbeatable in his junior and senior seasons, compiling a 100-1 record.
"His big advantage is that he's such a driven person," LaPrad said. "Everything he does is done in a certain way and for a certain reason.
He conducts business on and off the mat. He's an awesome student, but he's tough, hard-nosed and driven. It's just not in wrestling, either. He'll stay up all night to do his homework. A 'B' is not good enough. A 93 is not good enough. He wants 100."
Borja just missed joining one of the most elite groups in South Carolina high school athletics history.
Fewer than 10 wrestlers in state history won four state titles in a career and a bad outing his freshman season cost him membership in the elite wrestling fraternity.
"We won the region, the Lower State championship, and if I remember correctly, he was the No. 1 seed in the state," LaPrad said. "But he must have suffered from that freshman jinx. The next three years, he was pretty much unbeatable."
Two of the members of this year's All-Lowcountry team are on pace to reach the plateau of four state championships: Summerville's Jordan Wigger and Aaron Hansen.
Wigger, who competed in the 112-pound division this season, posted a 42-0 record this season and will begin next season with 55 straight victories. He last loss was in December 2008 against Wando's Will James. He's won two straight state titles.
Hansen, who competed at 125, posted a 39-2 record this season and is 75-4 the last two seasons. He lost to Fort Dorchester's Sonny Bugarin and Rock Hill's Weston Beck in the regular season, and avenged the loss to Beck with a 1-0 victory over the Rock Hill foe in the individual state championship. That gave him three straight state titles with his senior year to go.
"They're hard workers," Summerville coach Darryl Tucker said of Wigger and Hansen. "They work hard in school and it transfers to the mat."
The other state champions on the All-Lowcountry team include Summerville's Corey Hall, and Fort Dorchester's Ashley Bracklien and Michael Young.
State runners-up on the All-Lowcountry team include Fort Dorchester's Bugarin, Keyson Flores, Geno Porter and Michael Sellars, and Summerville's Eli Ashby.
The other members of the All-Lowcountry wrestling team are Berkeley's Pat Mestrez, Stratford's Austin Koile and Beaufort's Alex Amaya.
Reach Philip M. Bowman at email@example.com. or at 937-5592.
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