Fort Dorchester's Chandler Amaker was making his third straight appearance in the Class AAAAA wrestling state championships.
Fueled by the disappointment of the previous two seasons, Amaker would not be denied. After finishing state runner-up as a freshman and sophomore, Amaker closed out a 49-1 season by winning the gold medal in the 145-pound division of the S.C. High School League individual state finals in February.
For his performance, Amaker has been named The Post and Courier's All-Lowcountry wrestler of the year. Summerville coach Daryl Tucker is the Lowcountry coach of the year.
“My goal was to be a four-time state champion and I got close the first two years but lost in the finals,” Amaker said. “It was really frustrating to get there, in the last match, and come up short. I felt like I had a lot to prove to myself this year. Nothing or nobody was going to stand in my way.”
As a freshman, Amaker was the top-ranked 106-pounder and entered the state tournament as the favorite before a small mistake cost him the title.
Last season, Amaker wrestled at 138 pounds and came up short in the final match.
“I was so close to being a three-time champion right now, but I guess losing the last two years really helped me focus,” he said. “I learned it really didn’t matter what my ranking was or what my record was. I had to perform when it counted most. I was able to do that this year.”
Amaker’s sights already are set on next year, his senior season. He expects to bump up in weight to either 152 or 160 next season.
His long-range goals include wrestling for a Division I college program, and he is toying with the idea of a career in MMA (mixed martial arts). He currently is working out with boxing gloves and learning jiu jutsu.
“I definitely want to try that later, after wrestling,” he said. “I was always getting into fights when I was younger so I kind of like all three aspects of MMA. I want to someday combine my wrestling talents with the boxing and martial arts and see what happens.”
Amaker also holds out hope of competing in national wrestling events this summer, but those competitions are on hold due to the coronavirus. He plans to be ready if something positive happens.
“I am training twice a day, every day, doing whatever I can to stay in shape and stay ready,” he said. “I was really looking forward to nationals and proving myself against the best guys in the country. Hopefully things will get better and I will get that chance.”
106 pounds - Gavin Butler, Summerville, finished second in Class AAAAA state tournament
113 pounds – Jacob Simmons, Cane Bay, second in Class AAAAA state tournament
120 pounds – Lance Elrod, Stratford, second in Class AAAAA state tournament
126 pounds – Matteo Vargo, Fort Dorchester, state champion in Class AAAAA
132 pounds – Ethan Dawson, Timberland, second in Class AA/A state tournament
138 pounds – Preston Soriano, Stratford, third in Class AAAAA state tournament
145 pounds – Chandler Amaker, Fort Dorchester, state champion in Class AAAAA; Roman Watford, Timberland, state champion in Class AA/A
152 pounds – Jonathan Lemon, Academic Magnet, second in Class AAA state tournament
160 pounds – Damion Haines, Cross, third in Class AA/A state tournament
170 pounds – Dominick Milligan, Timberland, third in Class AA/A state tournament
182 pounds – Antwaun Gantt, Military Magnet, second in Class AA/A state tournament
195 pounds – Joseph Lawson, North Charleston, state champion in Class AA/A
220 pounds – Damon Loveless, Stall, fourth in Class AAAAA state tournament
285 pounds - Kamryn Petrick, Ashley Ridge, state champion in Class AAAAA
Wrestler of the Year – Chandler Amaker, Fort Dorchester
Coach of the Year – Daryl Tucker, Summerville
106: Raleigh D’Antico, Cane Bay; Evonte Campbell, North Charleston; Dwayne Ford, Timberland; Ben Singletary, Ashley Ridge. 113: Gavin Qualls, Hanahan; Reco Robinson, Summerville; Jacob March, Cross; Omari Breshiers, Military Magnet. 120: Brayton Killiri, Summerville; Dawson Wells, Philip Simmons. 126: Logan Kinard, Timberland; Ron German, James Island; Will Bogstad, North Charleston. 132: Cameron White, Cross; Nasir Ward, Philip Simmons; Nick Kotiw, Wando; Josh Moore, Academic Magnet. 138: Santory Jones, Cross; Walker Rhue, Wando; AJ McLanahan, Philip Simmons. 145: Micah DiCarlo, Wando; Antwain Hoskins, Cross. 152: Parker Graham, North Charleston; Kole Barron, Wando; Gavin Canady, Berkeley. 160: Bryson Key, North Charleston; David Rundell, Summerville; Nathan Newman, Philip Simmons; Sloan Castele, Hanahan. 170: Israel Robinson, North Charleston; Kyle Nicholson, Summerville; Josh Shaw, Hanahan; Jason Bartlett, Philip Simmons. 182: Tommy Greene, Berkeley; Hunter Elswick, Timberland. 195: Christian Garland, Ashley Ridge; Alex Herriott, Hanahan; Tyshawn Green, Philip Simmons; Austin Nichols, Timberland. 220: Justin Lucas, Wando; Keyshawn Waring, North Charleston; Adrian Alcantara, Timberland; Edwin Carpenter, Bishop England. 285: Iyon James, Stall; Anthony Jackson, Philip Simmons; Cole Preiditsche, Bishop England.