The Baylor Red Raiders finally got to open their 2013-14 wrestling season on Tuesday evening.
Baylor was supposed to wrestle Wilson Central a week ago, but found out about the time they passed through Murfreesboro that the match had been cancelled.
This week's match with Walker Valley wasn't cancelled as Baylor got off to a good start with a 48-18 victory over the up-and-coming Mustangs.
The match started at 160 pounds and Baylor's Blake Sutherland got the quickest pin of the evening in just 33 seconds as Baylor won eight of the first nine matches, including six by pin.
The difference was 42-3 by the time Ed Johnson claimed a forfeit at 126. The Mustangs then won three of the final four matches by decision to finish on a positive note.
"That was a good first match for us against a good quality team," said Baylor coach Ben Nelson, now entering his sixth year as the Red Raider leader.
"I thought we looked tight, but that's expected this time of year. Our more experienced guys picked up where they left off and did what they were supposed to do, but we have a whole lot to work on and a match like this gives us plenty of fodder for practice.
"That was a great match at 182 pounds and it was fun to watch. I was happy to see Ryan pull it out against a very good kid," Nelson continued.
Perhaps the match most folks wanted to see came at 145 pounds between Baylor's Tate Robinson and Walker Valley's Tyrus Hamrick.
Robinson is a nationally-ranked young man who transferred from Christian Brothers and had to sit out last year. Robinson eventually won by pin in 5:50, but Hamrick didn't back down and was trailing by just 11-5 when the match ended.
"Tate was rusty, but it's been over a year since his last varsity match. It will take him a while to get back in the groove, but he'll be okay," Nelson nodded.
Maybe the best match of the day came at 182 where Baylor junior Ryan Parker posted a 3-2 decision over Walker Valley senior Billy Raulston, who was the state runner-up at 195 last year.
It was scoreless after the first period while Parker needed just four seconds to escape to start the second. It was still 1-0 with two minutes remaining.
Raulston escaped almost as quickly to begin the third to tie the score before Parker got the all-important takedown with 1:12 to go. Raulston added another escape with 47 seconds remaining, but couldn't score as the Parker prevailed in a close one.
Walker Valley coach Alan Morris was shaking his head after his team's second loss to start the season.
"First, it was Soddy Daisy and now Baylor, which is a tough way for anyone to start their season, but we wanted to wrestle them and these two early dates were our only chance," Morris began.
"We just have to do a better job in the practice room. We had a few guys who fought tonight, but not many. I thought Tyrus looked tough against a very good kid as I was pleased with his effort.
"I was really happy for Tanner McGuire at 152, who wrestled tough and came away with a close win. Tanner's a senior backup who doesn't get many varsity matches, but he's been working hard and I was happy to see him do well tonight.
"I guess I was just looking for a better effort from my guys, but we had some guys who got tired and simply aren't in shape yet. And we have a few others who haven't gotten serious about their weight management, but we'll get better," he concluded with a smile.
While Sutherland got Baylor off and running with his pin at 160, Bryson Popp, Jon Schmissrauter, Will Thomas, Jack Reynolds and Michael Murphy all added wins by pin, including four more in the first period.
Andy Atchley added an 8-1 decision for the Red Raiders at 120.
Ric Kennett, Austin Gregory, Joseph Munoz and McGuire all won by regular decision for the Mustangs while Johnson got a forfeit at 126.
Walker Valley returns to action with a home match Thursday against East Ridge before taking part in the Ooltewah Invitational on Saturday. Baylor will be in Trenton on Saturday to defend its' title in the Brett Warren Invitational at Dade County High School.
BAYLOR 48, WALKER VALLEY 18
(Match started at 160 Pounds)
106 -- Jack Reynolds (Bay) pinned Robert Varner, 2:44;
113 -- Michael Murphy (Bay) pinned Drake Henry, 1:43;
120 -- Andy Atchley (Bay) dec. Elijah Earls, 8-1;
126 -- Ed Johnson (WV) won by forfeit;
132 -- Austin Gregory (WV) dec. Caleb Canada, 8-3;
138 -- Joseph Munoz (WV) dec. Caleb Powell, 10-8;
145 -- Tate Robinson (Bay) pinned Tyrus Hamrick, 5:50;
152 -- Tanner McGuire (WV) dec. Preston Troxell, 7-5;
160 -- Blake Sutherland (Bay) pinned Lawrence Cotton, :33;
170 -- Bryson Popp (Bay) pinned Dionte Richardson, :58;
182 -- Ryan Parker (Bay) dec. Billy Raulston, 3-2;
195 -- Ric Kennett (WV) dec. Emory Norred, 5-2;
220 -- Jon Schmissrauter (Bay) pinned Xzayvier Beckingham, 1:56;\
285 -- Will Thomas (Bay) pinned Clay Pankey, :41.
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)