The 2013 results for the oldest invitational wrestling tournament in Tennessee are in the books and the Arab High School Knights are the tournament champions for the second straight year.
It was a long day of competition for all the teams involved, but the two and a half hour drive back to Alabama probably didn't seem as long for the Knights as they went home with the first-place plaque after scoring 211.5 points.
The Blackman Blaze, an up-and-coming school from Murfreesboro, had to settle for second after a slim lead slipped away in the consolation and championship finals.
They finished with 200 points.
Cleveland was third with 182.5 despite competing without most of their regulars while Central scored 105.5 points to nip Alcoa by a half-point.
Cleveland ended up with four individual champions while Arab, Blackman and Central all had three each. Farragut's C.T. Leavell earned the other title with a first-period pin at 285.
Arab's three winners included B.J. Hayes at 120, John David Henderson at 126 and Cass Pierce at 170 while Blackman's trio included Dylan Coggins at 106, Josh Feuerbacher at 138 and Tyler Sells at 160.
Central's winners included Bryson Lemons at 113, Michael Frazey at 145 and Larry Dickerson at 152.
Cleveland's foursome included Ezra Taylor at 132, Ethan West at 182, Oleg Stukanov at 195 and John Gaither at 220.
It was a see-saw battle between Arab and Blackman as Arab had the early lead before Blackman took a 17-point lead midway through the consolation rounds. Arab had a strong run in the consolation semifinals and trailed by just 4,5 points going into the championship rounds.
Blackman had eight in the championship finals while Arab had six. Both won three matches. Perhaps the difference in the tournament came in the consolation finals where Arab won all four of their matches while Blackman only won one of two.
The computer that scored the tournament decided to lock up during the championship finals, so coaches Michael Pruitt of Arab and Ronnie Bray of Blackman sat down and calculated both of their team totals and both were satisfied that their final tally was correct.
Pruitt was obviously tired after a long day, but he had a smile on his face when the final scores were finally announced.
"This is a really good tournament and that's why we try to come up here every year. All of the teams were competitive as there was some outstanding wrestling here today," he began.
"I'm really proud of the way my guys came back in the consolation rounds to end the tournament on a strong note. We won all four in the consolation finals and three more in the championship matches, so we finished by winning seven of our final 10 matches. That's what we had to do to win.
"We got a lot of bonus points and they're always huge," Pruitt added.
Blackman's Bray knows that his team came in as one of the favorites. They advanced eight to the finals, but were unable to hold off the hard-charging Knights.
"We went to the Cleveland Duals and the Bradley Invitational back in December and got whipped pretty good, so it was good for us to come here and do pretty well today. We've paid our dues.
"It feels good to see our guys do well as this is a good stepping stone for us. I don't think anyone wrestled their best match today, so there's always room to improve, but there was some really good competition here and I'm glad we came," he added.
The Best Match award went to the 138-pound championship where Blackman's Feuerbacher rallied for a 7-5 overtime decision over Alcoa's Karim Shereef.
Feuerbacher had a 4-2 lead early, but Shereef chose the up position in the third period and took a 5-4 lead with a three-point near-fall, only to have Feuerbacher knot the score at 5-5 with a late escape. The match ended when Feuerbacher scored a takedown early in the overtime period.
Henderson was voted the Outstanding Wrestler for the tournament.
He's a first-year wrestler for the Knights who transferred after winning a state title for Grissom last year. He proved his worth on Saturday with three straight pins, including the last two in the first period.
While Arab, Blackman, Cleveland, Central and Alcoa finished in the top five, other teams included Howard, Tyner, Silverdale, Red Bank, Sale Creek, McGavock, Farragut, David Crockett and Christian Academy of Knoxville.
106 -- Dylan Coggins (Blackman) pinned Zachery Bynum (David Crockett), 1:06;
113 -- Bryson Lemons (Central) pinned Jesse Escue (Blackman), 3:48;
120 -- B.J. Hayes (Arab) major dec. Walker Murphy (Alcoa), 16-3;
126 -- John David Henderson (Arab) pinned Michael Brobeck (Blackman), 1:31;
132 -- Ezra Taylor (Cleveland) pinned Lane Morrow (Arab), 1:35;
138 -- Josh Feuerbacher (Blackman) dec. Karim Shereef (Alcoa), 7-5 in overtime;
145 -- Michael Frazey (Central) major dec. Jonathan Garabrandt (Farragut), 13-3;
152 -- Larry Dickerson (Central) dec. Tyler Garrision (Blackman), 9-4;
160 -- Tyler Sells (Blackman) dec. Ryan Long (CAK), 4-2;
170 -- Cass Pierce (Arab) dec. Sean Von Potts (Cleveland) 10-7;
182 -- Ethan West (Cleveland) pinned Jevon Brown (Blackman), 1:46;
195 -- Oleg Stukanov (Cleveland) pinned Kai Rogers (Arab), 4:36;
220 -- John Gaither (Cleveland) dec. Ryan Harris (Arab), 6-3;
285 -- C.T. Leavell (Farragut) pinned Austin Wells (Blackman), 1:12.
CONSOLATION FINALS FOR THIRD PLACE
106 -- Ronardo Bussey (Howard) dec. Hunter Gilbert (Alcoa), 13-8;
113 -- Nick Cater (Arab) pinned Ryan Verhulst (Alcoa), 1:44;
120 -- Victor Barbosa (Cleveland) pinned Dillinger Messer (David Crockett), 1:52;
126 -- No match;
132 -- Ayinde Bakari (Blackman) dec. Austyn Renshaw (Alcoa), 11-4;
138 -- Javon Cortez (Arab) dec. Weston Vest (David Crockett), 6-2;
145 -- Aaron Oliver (Cleveland) dec. Hunter Daughtery (Tyner), 9-3;
152 -- No match;
160 -- Tony Johnson (Arab) won by injury default over Eric Moreno (McGavock);;
170 -- Michael Hollis (McGavock) won by injury default over James Hughes (Central)
182 -- Ali Gataa (McGavock) dec. LaWayne Ruffin (Howard), 6-1;
195 -- LaDarius Griffith (Howard) pinned Logan Moses (Alcoa), 3:51;
220 -- Nick Kali (Alcoa) dec. Billy Woodward (Blackman), 4-3;
285 -- Jacob Spencer (Arab) pinned Sam Stephenson (Central).
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)