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Coastal Clash wrestling tournament begins Thursday in North Charleston

Fort Dorchester wrestler AJ Alford gets final shot at state title

The Coastal Clash high school wrestling tournament features 45 teams from across South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. (File/Roger Lee/Journal Scene)

The Charleston area convention center in North Charleston will host one of the state’s largest high school wrestling tournaments on Thursday and Friday.

The 2016 Coastal Clash, hosted by Hilton Head High School, will include wrestlers from more than 45 schools in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida competing in an individual competition format.

Hilton Head coach Mike Newton started the tournament in 2006 with eight schools. The event outgrew the high school facilities and eventually moved to Charleston in 2014.

“This tournament has become one of the top tournaments around and the competition is very good,” Newton said. “Not only do we have some great wrestling here in South Carolina but we’ve been able to bring in some top programs from Georgia and Florida. It’s two days of great high school wrestling.”

The tournament will be a double-elimination bracketed event, wrestled on 12 mats in the 77,000 square-foot facility. There are 27 schools from South Carolina represented, as well as 16 schools from Georgia and two from Florida.

Local schools participating include Ashley Ridge (ranked 5th in AAAAA), Bishop England, Cane Bay (ranked 10th in AAAA), Fort Dorchester (ranked 6th in AAAAA), Goose Creek (ranked 9th in AAAAA), Hanahan, Stall, Stratford (ranked 7th in AAAAA), Summerville (ranked 11th in AAAAA) and Wando (ranked 15th in AAAAA).

Among the top schools attending is nationally-ranked Camden County of Georgia. Other in-state powers attending include Chapin (ranked 3rd in AAAA), Bamberg-Ehrhardt (ranked first in AA), Dutch Fork (ranked 15th in AAAAA), Beaufort (ranked 4th in AAAA), West Oak (ranked 2nd in AAA) and Hilton Head (ranked 5th in AAAA).

Wrestling begins at 11 a.m. on Thursday and continues through Friday afternoon. The finals are slated to begin at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.

Holiday Hoops Galore

The Lowcountry is becoming more and more the hotbed for holiday prep basketball tournaments as the area will be inundated with hoops action all next week.

The area’s top boys basketball event is the 24th annual Rotary Roundball Classic at North Charleston High School Dec. 27-29. Nine local teams and seven schools from out-of-state will compete in two brackets with play beginning at 10 a.m. each day. The event culminates with two championship games on Thursday night.

If girls basketball is your fancy, the Carolina Invitational, set for Dec. 27-30, will have more than enough options. A total of 84 teams from 12 states will play at eight different high school sites across the Lowcountry. Teams are divided into eight-team brackets and each bracket will play for a championship.

The eight sites for the tournament are Cane Bay, First Baptist, Porter-Gaud, Bishop England, West Ashley, James Island, Goose Creek and Charleston Charter.

The Carolina Invitational also has a showcase bracket, which does not include a championship. The four teams playing in that bracket include Northwood Academy, Holy Innocent’s Episcopal of Georgia, Georgetown (Texas) and St. John’s Catholic Prep of Maryland. All the showcase games will be played at Porter-Gaud as well.

The annual Modie Risher Classic, hosted by Burke High School, includes eight boys teams and will run Dec. 27-29. Local teams include Burke, St. John’s, Baptist Hill, First Baptist and Oceanside Collegiate. Schools from outside Charleston include New Hempstead (Ga.), White Knoll (Lexington) and South Pointe of Rock Hill. Play each day begins at 4 p.m.

A most interesting first-round matchup of the Modie Risher will have South Pointe playing Oceanside Collegiate on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Both schools are coached by former Burke High stars – Melvin Watson of South Pointe and Jermel President of OCA.

Berkeley High will host the Berkeley Holiday Classic on Dec. 27-29 with play beginning each day at 9 a.m. The tournament includes eight boys teams and eight girls teams, including local programs from Berkeley, Timberland and Stratford.

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