By Garrett Mitchell, Contributing Writer
The winter sports season for the Woodruff Wolverines sports teams is coming down the home stretch with postseason play looming for both varsity basketball teams and the wrestling squad. All three varsity teams have performed well this season and are hoping to forge paths deep into the state 3A playoffs.
Varsity Girls Basketball
The Lady Wolverine varsity basketball team is on a roll and eyeing their first region championship for the program since 1988. Woodruff is currently in a first-place tie with the Clinton Lady Red Devils but hold first place by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker with one more meeting between the two teams looming on Feb. 11. The Lady Wolverines defeated Clinton 42-28 in their first meeting. Senior Zavia Jeter became just the ninth player in school history to surpass the 1,000-point career benchmark and junior Maddie Grace Runyans has erupted offensively over the past few weeks, scoring a career-high 27 points in a road contest against Newberry to help the Lady Wolverines improve their season record to 18-5.
Varsity Boys Basketball
The varsity boys basketball team dropped consecutive contests for the first time in over a month against Newberry and Union County, but at 5-2 still remain in second place in Region III-3A and in line for a home play-off game for the first time in over two decades with a strong finish over the season’s final three games. Woodruff is led by a talented starting five, spearheaded by junior Dyon Bartley and seniors Matthew Darnell, Quel Evins, and Omarion McKelvin. The Wolverines, with a record of 12-8, are enjoying their first winning campaign since the 2012-13 season.
The varsity wrestling team capped a 19-8 regular season and finished 3-1 in Region III-3A competition, good for a second-place finish behind champion Union County. Woodruff will take part in the first two rounds of the 3A team duals on Feb. 8. The Wolverines crowned two individual champions and the Spartanburg County meet, those being brothers Tony De La Garza (126) and Genaro De La Garza (106). The Wolverines also took part in the Region III-3A individual championship meet and saw seven wrestlers take home the title in their respective weight classes. The De La Garza brothers, Noah Johns (132), Brandon Rosales (145), Lavelle Martin (160), Ja Young (170), and Charles Landrum (285) were all crowned individual champions as Woodruff fielded the most number of individual winners of any team in the region.
The Woodruff junior varsity basketball teams are also wining down their season in successful fashion. The JV Lady Wolverines are currently 6-1 against conference opponents with their only loss coming to Clinton. Led by freshmen Kylie Hitchcock and Alli Burnett, the Lady Wolverines have seen steady improvement throughout the season.
The JV boys’ basketball team is also playing well as their season draws to a close. The Wolverines won on the road at Chesnee and played a down-to-the-wire contest on the road against a strong Union County team in the past week. The team is led by sophomores Mathias Dial and Jailen Tribble, the later who also splits time with the varsity squad. Freshmen Luke Runyans and Carson Tucker have also made positive impacts this season.
Photo by Like Mothers Like Daughters Photography & Graphics