Cleveland Leading State Wrestling After First Day; Soddy Daisy Fifth

All 14 Blue Raiders Still Alive As Lead Over Beech Is 32.5 Points

Thursday, February 14, 2013 - by John Hunt

FRANKLIN -- There's still a whole lot of wrestling to be completed in the next 48 hours, but the Cleveland Blue Raiders are already separating themselves from the rest of the field.

Cleveland is all alone in first place after two championship rounds and two rounds of consolations were held here at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center Thursday night.

Cleveland is first with 88.5 while Beech is in second with 56 points.

Ravenwood is third with 52 while Wilson Central is fourth with 50.

5 and defending champ Soddy Daisy fifth with 47.

Other Chattanooga-area teams include Walker Valley in sixth with 44, Central tied for 12th with 30.5, Bradley 15th with 29.5, Hixson 17th with 26 and East Ridge 21st with 23 points.

Cleveland is the only team in the tournament that qualified all 14 wrestlers.  The Blue Raiders won 12 in the opening round while advancing eight of 12 into Friday morning's championship quarters.  More importantly, those other six who lost all came back and are still alive in the consolation brackets.

"We left a few out there we might could have won, but we also won some close ones," said Cleveland coach Jake Yost during the consolations.

"If we can push through this round and have all 14 still alive tomorrow, that would be big, but it's hard for me to think clearly right now with today's matches still going on. 

"I'm happy with where we are, but we just need to keep taking advantage of our opportunities.  There are so many highs and lows in a tournament like this.  I'm just trying to maintain an even keel," Yost added.

Cleveland's eight in the quarters include Chris DeBien at 113, Austin Stevison at 120, Austin Oliver at 126 and Hayden Hamilton at 132.  Also, Josh Hamilton at 152, Aaron Lopez at 160, Ethan West at 182 and Koran Kennedy at 285.

The Soddy Daisy Trojans won eight of 10 matches in the opening round before advancing six of those eight into the quarters.  Coach Jim Higgins hasn't had much time to watch what others are doing, but he seems to be pleased with the way his team is battling.

"We've had a good first day for the most part, but there have been a few heartbreakers as guys you don't expect can sneak up on you," he began.

"We showed a lot of heart across the board and I'm proud of these guys as they earned more than my respect.  There's still a lot of work to do, but it seems like all the teams are taking some hits today.  I just want to see these guys finish the job they started," Higgins nodded.

Soddy Daisy's six include Austin Houser at 113, Jacob Stevens at 120, Tucker Russo at 126, Gage Richmond at 145, Garrett Alexander at 170 and Blaike Henry at 182.  Luke Reno was still alive in the consolatons at 220.

The Walker Valley Mustangs won seven of nine matches in the first round before advancing three to the quarters, including Caleb Langford at 138, Billy Raulston at 195 and Zack Miller at 220.

"It's been an okay day, but nothing great," said Mustang coach Alan Morris late Thursday night.

"We've lost a couple of tough ones and those leave a bad taste in my mouth and that often makes it tough to enjoy the good ones.  Chazz Fulford is a senior who's a first-year wrestler.  He lost by one point in his first match, but came back to win his first consolation match.

"One thing about Chazz is he battles the whole time and he really wants to be here.  I'm really proud of him," Morris praised.

The Central Purple Pounders brought four wrestlers here for the weekend and all are still alive, including three in the quarters.  Those still fighting for a title include Michael Frazy at 145, Larry Dickerson at 152 and Truman Martin at 195.  Bryson Lemons is still alive in the consolations at 113.

"I'm really happy with the way these guys are wrestling, but I expected them to be in the quarters," said Central coach John Lennon.  "Michael Frazy is having a really good tournament," he added.

The Bradley Bears are currently 15th with three of seven advancing to the quarters, including Toribio Navarro at 106, Dakota Ream at 126 and Robbie Clark at 160.

Navarro and Ream both had a pair of decisions while Clark got a pin in his first match before pulling out an 8-6 overtime decision in his second.  Clark was penalized a point for stalling with five seconds left in regulation, but the Bear senior didn't flinch as he scored the takedown to win in overtime.

"That was a huge second-round match for Clark," began Bradley coach Ben Smith.

"Robbie had beaten him in the finals of the Ooltewah tournament and I think he had only lost two more times since then, but the right kid won.  It should have never gone to overtime," Smith added.

The East Ridge Pioneers brought seven wrestlers and four are still alive, including Brandon Cantrell at 195 and C.J. Baker at 220 in the championship quarters.  Robert McAvoy (138) and Will Garner are still alive in consolations.

"We lost a couple of tough ones, but overall it was a good day for East Ridge," said coach Brad Laxton.

"I was proud of C.J., who pinned a kid from Heritage who had beaten him at the Bradley tournament.  I thought Brandon wrestled a solid match as well," Laxton added.

Friday's action begins with the championship quarters at 10 (CST) with consolation rounds to follow.  Division II teams hit the mats for the first time, but perhaps the best round of the tournament will begin at 6 p.m. local time.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)



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