O’Quinn crowned AAAA Wrestling Champion
by The Press and Standard | February 27, 2019 5:00 pm
Last Updated: February 26, 2019 at 2:00 pm
By CINDY CROSBY
Colleton County High School senior Wyatt O’Quinn has been wrestling since he was 4 years old. Saturday, the culmination of 14-years of practice, commitment, hard work and a lot of bumps and bruises paid off for O’Quinn when he was crowned as the AAAA Wrestling State Champion in 126-pound weight classification and voted AAAA Most Outstanding Wrestler. It is the first-ever state championship in wrestling for Colleton County High School.
O’Quinn, who wrestled throughout the season in higher weight classification, went undefeated through brackets to defeat three-time state champion Jordan White of Eastside High School by a score of 7-4.
“When I won, I felt great relief to have finally reached the top of the mountain,” said O’Quinn. “I spent my entire life attempting to reach that moment only to have it taken away last year, and to have done it on my last chance made it all the sweeter. I cannot thank my coaches and family enough for supporting me on the long journey. It means the world to me that I have done such a monumental thing, not just for me, but for everyone who supported me in my endeavors. Heading into the match, I was focused on wrestling as hard as possible, and leaving all the cards on the table. When it was said and done, I won the day.”
Packy Burke, CCHS wrestling coach, explained O’Quinn’s move from the 132-pound weight class to 126-pound. “Going into Saturday’s state championship, Wyatt lost a few pounds to compete in the 126-pound classification, but he likely could have won the 132- pound division just as easily,” said Burke. “We never try to dodge anyone — we just felt it was the weight class for him. Wyatt knew exactly what he was going to do in the match and approached it calmly. As his coach, there isn’t much I can do at that point but make sure the score is correct and the officials are making the right calls. We stuck with the game plan and didn’t change anything.
“When Wyatt won, it was a very emotional moment,” said Burke. “In the moment it was unreal — there were a lot of things going through my mind, but I was really thinking of all the hard work he put in over all the years. He finished what he came to do. It was one of the greatest moments I’ve ever experienced and honestly, I could not keep it together — there were a few tears of joy for Wyatt.”
Finishing runnerup in his weight classification of 195-pounds Saturday, senior Tyrese Pressey has now garnered back-to-back state finalist honors and is a three-time lower-state champion. Pressey fell to Chase Barnes of Eastside High School.
“Tyrese wrestled the best match he possibly could,” said Burke. “He had a few unlucky breaks. He was down by three points and had to make a few risky moves that could’ve gone either way in the third period.”
Terrance Calloway finished in the top eight in the state and will return next season for the Cougars.
“Wyatt and Tyrese will be hard to replace, but we have lots of talent coming up,” said Burke. “We had a team of seven and three of those athletes made it to the state tournament — imagine if we fielded a full roster next season.”