South Carolina’s Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School, a perennial power in the area, won the Rumble on the River wrestling tournament Saturday at Riverview Park Activities Center in North Augusta.
“It’s a good program,” said North Augusta coach Matt Franklin, who organized the tournament. “They’re usually state champs.”
Bamberg-Ehrhardt rolled up 217 points as a team, outscoring second-place Berkeley by 80 points. Abbeville and Greenwood tied for third with 127 points each, followed by Augusta-area schools Greenbrier (126.5), Aiken (102), Midland Valley (87.5) and North Augusta (76). Ninety-Six finished ninth, with 71 points.
Bamberg-Ehrhardt has so many wrestlers in its program, it brought two teams. Its B team finished 10th, with 64 points. South Aiken was 11th, followed by Hephzibah, Augusta Christian, Greenbrier’s B team and Wagener-Salley.
Bamberg-Ehrhardt also dominated in individual competition, winning in three weight classes and placing in the top four in almost every class.
Greenwood won two classes – 106- and 126-pound. Greenbrier and Greenbrier B each won a class, and Augusta Christian, Aiken and Midland Valley each won one weight class.
North Augusta finished third in three weight classes.
Scores aside, Franklin said the tournament was a success because it helped raise the sport’s profile in the Augusta area.
“Several hundred people were here,” he said of spectators. “My goal is to spread the word about wrestling, so we can make the sport bigger. People like it. They just don’t know about it.”
Franklin also got to announce that one of his wrestlers, Taylor Cooks, has won a scholarship to wrestle for Life University in Atlanta next year.
That checks off another big goal for Franklin and his wrestling program.
“These kids who don’t play football or basketball deserve a chance to win a scholarship and go to college, too,” he said.
This year’s tournament was successful enough to plan for it again next year, Franklin said.
“The coaches were complimentary, the tournament ran smoothly and they said they’d come back next year,” he said. “The Parks and Rec Department folks were great. They really went above and beyond.”