It reached the top of the mountain last year, claiming the 2A state championship. Now the Ninety Six wrestling team is gearing up for another run at a title, and it started on Tuesday at the All-Lakelands wrestling meet.
Eleven Wildcats placed either first or second in their respective weight classes, claiming all but three of the top two positions in the meet.
"We're battling here and getting better and better every day," Wildcats coach Roy Lemmons said. "We're focusing on team playoffs that start Saturday."
This is the third year in a row the Ninety Six has won the meet.
Hayden Walters and Emanuel Cobb repeated in their classes for the Wildcats, winning the 145 and 113-pound classes respectively. Hunter Simmons (126), Ryan Jones (138) and PJ Rushton (170) also won their weight classes for Ninety Six.
Jones Dove, Carter Patterson, Briant Witherspoon, Juquis Calhoun, Trace Taylor and JP Smith finished as runners-up in their classes for the Wildcats.
"We've wrestled really sharp today," Lemmons said. "We're bringing it. We're getting good in neutral, good on bottom, (and) fighting off their backs. I've seen a different look in their eyes that I hadn't seen the last couple of weeks. I think they're starting to realize, 'hey, it's here.'"
Greenwood won three weight classes and finished second in three more placing second in the meet. Bryce Seaborn won the 152-pound class for the Eagles, while Owen Sargent and Carson Howle each repeated as All-Lakelands champions. Howle and Sargent went up in weight classes, moving up to 182 and 220 respectively.
"We wrestled well. The Lakelands area has a lot of good wrestlers in it," Greenwood coach Nick Mountz said. "I felt good in two and to come out with three was very, very good. I know the last match (195) was going to be a good match. Addison was able to get it right there, but it was a good day overall."
Robert Walker (126), McCalister Byrd (145) and Dax Seaborn (195) finished second in their classes. Dax Seaborn also claimed his 100th career victory on the day, downing Ninety Six's Brian Florez before his championship bout.
Clinton won three matches to finish third, taking the 132, 160 and 285 classes.
Emerald won a pair of matches and finished second in two.
Dawson Seiburg (120) and Malachi Conway (106) won their classes. This is the second year in a tow Conway has won the 106 class.
"Any time you have an All-Lakelands meet, it's going to be great competition," Emerald coach Willie Rayford said. "I have one senior in Dawson that finished first and I had Malachi Conway, who is another state qualifier from last year, that finished in the 106. All our guys fought hard but those guys finished victorious in their weight classes which is great."
Abbeville's Addison Nickles repeated in the 195-pound class while Dixie's Andrew Stoltzfus placed second in the 152-pound class.
Tuesday marked the end of the regular season for wrestling, as the playoffs begin on Saturday.
"We have to topple that mountain that is Liberty," Lemmons said. "They're good, really good, so it's going to be a long climb. We'll find out tomorrow what the road looks like tomorrow, and we'll go from there."
Contact sports writer Cody Estremera at 864-943-2530.