Cleveland Locks Up State Wrestling Title With Strong Semifinal Round

Beech Second While Soddy Daisy Third Following Friday Action

Friday, February 15, 2013 - by John Hunt

FRANKLIN -- The Cleveland Blue Raiders could have packed up and headed home following Friday's action here in the TSSAA State Wrestling Tournament being held at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center, but they chose to stick around one more day to celebrate another outstanding weekend.

The Blue Raiders won four of six matches in the championship semifinals and will have eight wrestlers total in the medals Saturday night, but the team title is already clinched for Cleveland as they enter Saturday's final rounds with 195.

5 points.

Beech is a distant second with 119 while Soddy Daisy slipped back to third with 112 after climbing from fifth to second earlier in the day.

Ravenwood and Wilson Central complete the top five with 106 and 99.5 points, respectively.

Walker Valley is sixth with 93 while Bradley is currently eighth with 72.5.  Central is 13th with 51.5 while Notre Dame, Hixson and East Ridge hold down 19th, 20th and 21st with 43.5, 38 and 36 points, respectively.

Cleveland coach Jake Yost had a grin on his face most of Friday night, but how could the first-year head coach not be happy after his team turned in such a dominating and impressive performance.

"We have to keep pushing, but we have eight on the podium so far with a chance for one more," Yost said before heavyweight Koran Kennedy got eliminated in a triple-overtime consolation quarterfinal match.

"We have a lot of guys wrestling on Saturday and that's a good thing.  Our 106-pounder Tristan Blansit will medal for the first time and that's huge for him as he's had a heckuva tournament.

"We have to put the hammer down tomorrow as those are pride matches.  Everybody wants to finish the season on a winning note," Yost added.

Chris DeBien (113), Austin Oliver (126) and Hayden Hamilton (132) were the first three to advance to the finals before Josh Hamilton (152) and Aaron Lopez (160) got beat.  Ethan West then posted a win at 182 to become Cleveland's fourth finalist.

While Cleveland has four in the finals, Soddy Daisy, Walker Valley and Bradley have two each while Notre Dame and Central have one apiece.

Friday was a roller-coaster day for coach Jim Higgins and his Soddy Daisy team.

After winning all six matches in the quarterfinals Friday morning, the Trojans hit a rough spot where they lost four of six in the semis.  Perhaps the biggest loss came at 126 where freshman Tucker Russo was penalized three times for four stalling points in a 10-8 loss to Cleveland's Oliver.

Jacob Stevens and Blaike Henry were victorious for the Trojans while Austin Houser, Gage Richmond and Garrett Alexander joined Russo in the consolation rounds.

"We were hoping for a different outcome," said Higgins later.

"The first round this morning went great as we got bonus points in all six matches, but tonight was a totally different story.  We aren't blaming anyone else for what we didn't do, but it hurts.  Now we have to react in a positive way.

"Everyone handles heartache in different ways, but we just have to make sure we do it the right way.  It's just one of those life lessons when you find out that things don't always go as you plan, but hopefully we'll bounce back tomorrow to have a strong finish," he nodded.

Walker Valley's two finalists include Caleb Langford at 138 and Billy Raulston at 195.

"I feel good overall, but it hurts when you have one who comes up just a little bit short," said Walker Valley coach Alan Morris after watching Tyrus Hamrick lose a tough one in a consolation match.

"We have two finalists and that's a first for us.  We still have a shot at having four medalists.  I was really happy for Caleb as that kid he beat really caused some problems, but Caleb was confident that he could find a way to win.  He's lost in this round two times before, so it's nice to see him win here tonight.

"Billy Raulston is all heart.  He doesn't have a lot of different weapons, but the ones he has, he uses very well," Morris praised.

Bradley's two in the finals include Toribio Navarro at 106 and Robbie Clark at 160.  Notre Dame has Packy Mullin at 126 while Central has Larry Dickerson looking for a title at 152.

Nobody was any happier than Central coach Johnny Lennon.

"What a deserving young man.  Larry's motor runs all the time as he goes full speed.  He's a coaches dream and he's my first finalist as a head coach.  That makes me really happy," Lennon said, knowing that Dickerson has only lost one match this year and that was in the finals at the Bradley Invitational in mid December.

Hixson doesn't have any finalists, but they have two who will earn medals for the first time, including Isaiah Hawthorne at 126 and Aaron Alemany at 160.  Coach Garrick Hall is just happy to finally see two of his hardest working kids get rewarded.

"Those two have been chasing this for years.  This is Hawthorne's third time here while it's the first trip for Alemany, who always fell short in the region.  All the hard work is worth it when they wrestle like this, but they are pushing through the wall and I'm really happy for them," Hall said.

 CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINALS

106 -- Devan Cyree (Tullahoma) dec. Luke Mullin (Notre Dame), 9-4;

106 -- Toribio Navarro (Bradley) major dec. Kevin Knier (West Creek), 14-5;

113 -- Chris DeBien (Cleveland) pinned Zac Sumner (Collierville), 1:44;

113 -- Christian Lozano (Beech) dec. Austin Houser (Soddy Daisy), 8-4;

120 -- Jacob Stevens (Soddy Daisy) won by technical fall over Nick Insalaco (Wilson Central), 5:29;

120 -- Byron Smith (Cordova) dec. Tristan Hackett (Beech), 14-8;

126 -- Austin Oliver (Cleveland) dec. Tucker Russo (Soddy Daisy), 10-8;

126 -- Packy Mullin (Notre Dame) dec. Dakota Ream (Bradley), 7-5;

132 -- Hayden Hamilton (Cleveland) pinned Matt Lemons (Ooltewah), 1:14;

132 -- Dylan Treloar (Hendersonville) dec. Sidney Smallwood (Germantown), 9-2;

138 -- Caleb Langford (Walker Valley) dec. Josh Feuerbacher (Blackman), 9-8;

138 -- Austin Richard (Wilson Central) dec. Jake Sahutske (Beech), 6-0;

145 -- Nate Crowley (Pigeon Forge) dec. Gage Richmond, 11-8;

145 -- Jacob Freeman (Ravenwood) won by technical fall over Kyle Coder (Siegel), 4:20;

152 -- Larry Dickerson (Chattanooga Central) major dec. Josh Hamilton (Cleveland), 13-2;

152 -- Alex Bennett (Franklin) pinned Joseph Giattino (Stone Memorial), 2:23;

160 -- Tanner Reynolds (Ravenwood) dec. Aaron Lopez (Cleveland), 11-9;

160 -- Robbie Clark (Bradley) dec. Andres Leyva (Gibbs), 3-1;

170 -- Tyler Crane (Clarksville) dec. Derrick Tucker (Germantown), 3-2;

170 -- Chad Solomon (Maryville) dec. Garrett Alexander (Soddy Daisy), 3-2;

182 -- Ethan West (Cleveland) dec. Jordan Davis (Cordova), 9-4;

182 -- Blaike Henry (Soddy Daisy) pinned Fletcher Valentine (Dickson Co.), 1:15;

195 -- Scottie Boykin (Riverdale) dec. Bryson Begley (Dobyns-Bennett), 14-7;

195 -- Billy Raulston (Walker Valley) dec. John Bain (Kingston), 6-4;

220 -- T.J. Satterfield (William Blount) dec. Rex Shotts (Ravenwood), 8-7;

220 -- John Kramer (Wilson Central) pinned C.J. Baker (East Ridge), 4:34;

285 -- Bruno Reagan (Clarksville) pinned Charles Leavell (Farragut), 1:06;

285 -- Taylor Podany (Beech) pinned Austin Wells (Blackman), 3:50. 

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)



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