Hartsville wrestling

Hartsville's Danchez McNeal takes down North Myrtle Beach's Justin Marinellie during their 120-pound match Wednesday. McNeal won via pin.

HARTSVILLE, S.C. — Hartsville’s wrestling program has been on a steady climb toward state prominence.

With this year’s Class 4A lower-state championship already in hand, there is one more step for the Red Foxes’ overall mission to be complete: To win it all in today’s state final against Eastside at 3:30 p.m. at Columbia’s Dreher High School.

Hartsville (33-5), which won its three previous state tournament matches on the road against region top seeds (South Aiken, Dreher, North Myrtle Beach), will be competing today against a four-time defending state champion (past three in 4A, the first of the four was in 3A) that has won 14 state crowns overall.

That makes Hartsville an underdog in the eyes of those from outside the program.

But Lynch’s team has known that, and the Red Foxes have embraced that.

After upsetting North Myrtle Beach on Wednesday, Hartsville freshman Danchez McNeal talked about the team’s character that has willed it to this point.

“It shows that we have fight, and that we can fight,” said McNeal, one of two Red Fox freshmen Wednesday to win his match. The other was Kimball Moore.

Lynch, a former Hartsville wrestler himself, is also known to make strategic moves that pay off. And that played a huge role in the Red Foxes’ win Wednesday.

While Eastside will pose a formidable challenge, Hartsville has proved one thing time and time again: Don’t count the Red Foxes out.

“I just hope we can win one more Saturday for Hartsville, Hartsville’s Richard Williamson said.

Prep Sports Writer

An eight-time APSE national award winner, Scott recently authored his first book,"70 Years of Thrills and Chills, Drama and Dents at Darlington Raceway." In college, Scott played on a tennis scholarship,

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