How appropriate that it came down to heavyweight.
Two traditional small school powers – Notre Dame and
Chattanooga Central who have six state duals titles between them – fought it
out for 13 weight classes before visiting Central prevailed at 285 pounds for a
40-32 triumph Wednesday night.
Central’s Sam Stephenson (285) sealed the win with a second
period pin of Hunter Whiting as the visiting Purple Pounders (4-0 in region) clinched
the Region 4 title and punched their ticket to the state duals in Franklin,
The John Lennon-coached Purple Pounders spotted Notre Dame
18 points in the first three weight classes (match started at 106) – two
on forfeits and one via fall – then roared back to win eight of the final 11
“We are young and gutsy and having wrestled a tough schedule
paid off tonight,” said coach Lennon. “Kudos to the Notre Dame guys as both
teams fought for the win for 14 weight classes.”
Central gained nine points from its seniors Jaylen Stinson
(decision) and Truman Martin (forfeit win), but one key win came from first
year wrestler Hans Casseus.
The Haitian freshman bumped up a weight class to 138 from
132, used his quickness and balance and pinned Casey Brock in 5:13 to pull
within 21-10 after six matches.
That win was the first of four straight victories as Alonzo
Hayward, David Norwood and Stinson followed for a combined for 12 team points
as Central took its first lead at 22-21.
Notre Dame’s Michael Qualtrano then gave the Irish the lead
back, 27-22 with a pin at 170.
But Central won three of the final four matches for the win.
Kudos to Notre Dame:
In a pre-match ceremony, Coach Lennon thanked Notre Dame coach John Mullin and
his staff for letting Central have its Senior Night on the Irish mat as Lennon
recognized Stinson and Martin. Notre Dame’s lone senior in the program is team
manager Kendall Paolucci who was also recognized before the match for her
service to the team.
Mentors: “I wrestled for hall of famer Al Miller and was an assistant to
coach Mullin for 10 years (and three state championship titles) and have
learned so much from both coaches,” Lennon stated after the match.
Central’s Hans Casseus turned 14 this past Sunday and celebrated with a pin
against ND … His 13th birthday – Jan. 12, 2012 – was also memorable as his native
land of Haiti was hit by an earthquake … the Casseus family left soon
thereafter settling in Florida before coming to Chattanooga last year.
Honoring Jabo: Thursday
Jan.23 (6 p.m.) Notre Dame hosts Tyner and East Ridge and will recognize the
life of late James Jabaley who was a three-time state champ in the 1970s … All
Notre Dame wrestling alums are invited to attend the match.
Central 40, Notre
106 – Tucker Gill (ND) forfeit win … ND, 6-0
113 – Ned Warwick (ND) forfeit win … ND, 12-0
120 – Luke Mullin (ND) pinned Coty Reels, 2:31 … ND, 18-0
126 – Isaac Coffman (CC) major dec. Jared Nelson, 11-3 … ND,
132 – Packy Mullin (ND) dec. Bryson Lemons, 6-4 … ND, 21-4
138 – Hans Casseus (CC) pinned Casey Brock, 5:21 … ND, 21-10
145 – Alonzo Hayward (CC) dec. Noah Bankston 8-4 … ND, 21-13
152 – David Norwood (CC) forfeit win … ND, 21-19
160 – Jaylen Stinson (CC) dec. Jonathon Griggs, 7-4 …
Central, 22-21 lead change (1)
170 – Michael Qualtrano (ND) pinned Patrick McGehee, 1:49 …
ND, 27-22 lead change (2)
182 – Brian Sledge (CC) forfeit win … Central, 28-27 lead
195 – Truman Martin (CC) forfeit win … Central, 34-27
220 – Chris Hornsby (ND) tech fall Curtis Moiseaux, 20-2 …
285 – Sam Stephenson (CC) pinned Hunter Whiting,
3:13 … Central, 40-32
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com