Saturday, January 19, 2013
- by B.B. Branton
Thanks to Hixson wrestling coach Garrick Hall, eight schools compete in the TSSAA A-AA state duals each year at the Ag Expo Center in Franklin.
Thanks to Hall’s talented wrestlers, the Wildcats will be one of those eight teams this year after defeating Signal Mountain, 42-29, for the Region 5 title Friday.
In a battle of undefeated region teams, Hixson spotted the host Eagles a 17-point lead – trailed 23-6 after six matches – and then came clawing back to win seven of the final eight matches for the win.
The state duals are set for Feb. 1-2 in Franklin.
“Signal is stronger in the upper weights, we are stronger in the lighter and middle weights, and our guys scored more bonus points and that was the difference,” said Hall who was the driving force to convince TSSAA to increase the number of schools competing in the A-AA state duals from four to eight beginning with the 2008 tournament.
This will be Hixson’s sixth straight trip to the state duals and has two state championships (2009, 2010), one state runner-up finish (2008) and a pair of third place finishes (2011, 2012) to show for their efforts.
SM Quick Start: Senior Joe Drennan started Signal Mountain off with a technical fall win against Tarik Twitty at 160 and the Eagles then won four of the next five matches, including pins by Micah Pressley (220) and Jacob Wright (285), to lead 23-6.
The Wildcats took the lead for good at 24-23 as Isaiah Hawthorne pinned Jacob Newman in 1:31 at 126 pounds with four matches to go and sealed the victory after freshman Landon Goforth pinned Will Henley in 1:53 at 138 pounds for an insurmountable lead at 36-23 with two matches remaining.
“Our two freshman – Goforth and Ziegler (106) – had big wins for us,” said Hall.
Goforth registered the aforementioned fall at 138 and Konnor Ziegler decisioned Hunt Drennan, 149-9 at 106.
“And at 182 and 195, we lost by regular decisions (3 team points) tonight, whereas earlier in the season our guys had lost by a pin and major decision to the same Signal Mountain kids,” Hall stated.
That’s what we preached to our guys all week was to stay off our backs and get bonus points where we can.”
At 182, the Eagles’ Cale Shelton decisioned Chris Nicholson, 9-7, but had pinned Nicholson earlier in the season.
At 195, Harrison Hall decisioned Hixson’s Dylan Bargerstock, 5-1, but had earned a major decision (four team points) earlier in the season.
For Signal Mountain coach Joe Jellison, the future is bright for the fifth year program.
“We finished second in the region for the first time ever, lose only four seniors and have a solid middle school program.
“Our light weights need to get stronger and we will work on that in the off-season.”
First, Five Year Letter Winner: Signal Mountain senior Joe Drennan is the school’s first five-year letter winner in wrestling …. Named for his grandfather who led Father Ryan to state titles in the 1970s, the Eagles senior looks to qualify for the state tournament for the second straight year.
Hixson Titles in Two Towns: “We were the last A-AA school to win state duals championships in Clarksville (2009) and the first to win in Franklin (2010),” said Hall.
Hixson 42, Signal Mountain 29
160: Joe Drennan (SM) tech fall Traik Twitty, 17-2 … SM, 5-0
170: Aaron Alemany (H) forfeit win … Hixson, 6-5
182: Cale Shelton (SM) Chris Nicholson, 9-7 … SM, 8-6
195: Harrison Hall (SM) dec. Dylan Bargerstock, 5-1 … SM, 11-6
220: Micah Pressley (SM) pinned McKenzie Martin, 2:20 … SM, 17-6
285: Jacob Wright (SM) pinned William Wallen, 1:53 … SM, 23-6
106: Konnor Ziegler (H) dec. Hunt Drennan 14-9 … SM, 23-9
113: Grayson Layne (H) dec. Warren Weaver, 8-2 … SM, 23-12
120: Steve Sklavenitis (H) pinned Riggs Glascock, :58 … SM, 23-18
126: Isaiah Hawthorne (H) pinned Jacob Newman, 1:31… Hixson, 24-23
132: Isaac Yates (H) forfeit win … Hixson, 30-23
138: Landon Goforth (H) pinned Will Henley, 1:53 … Hixson, 36-23
145: Ameer Jibrin (H) Eyrik Allen, 3:43 … Hixson, 42-23
152: Kyle Kayanek (SM) forfeit win … Hixson, 42-29
Records: Hixson (18-4), Signal Mountain (20-11)
Signal Mountain 69, Howard 12
170: Cale Shelton (SM) forfeit win
182: Harrison Hall (SM) forfeit win
195: Micah Pressley (SM) pinned Ladarius Griffith, 1:18
220: Dusty Hall (H) forfeit win
285: Antonio Woodall (How) forfeit win
106: Ronardo Bussey (How) pinned Hunt Drennan, 2:13
113: Warren Weaver (SM) forfeit win
120: Riggs Glascock (SM) dec. Domonique Rahmar, 16-7
126: Jacob Newman (SM) forfeit win
132: Jesse Dawson (SM) forfeit win
138: Will Henley (SM) forfeit win
145: Eyrik Allen (SM) forfeit win
152: Kyle Kayanek (SM) pinned Roderick McCauley, 3:01
160: Joe Drennan (SM) tech fall Kentarius Hampton, 16-1, 4:29
contact B.B. Branton at William.firstname.lastname@example.org