The Soddy Daisy Trojans and the Cleveland Blue Raiders punched their tickets to the AAA State Duals wrestling tournament next weekend in Franklin, but it's too bad that two other pretty good teams from this area won't be going as participants.
Soddy Daisy had a real tussle on their hands before coming back to beat Walker Valley by a 40-32 margin in one match at Ooltewah's Edward M. Foster Gymnasium in the Region 4 Duals on Thursday night while the defending state duals champ Cleveland slipped past arch-rival Bradley by a 39-28 final.
The State Duals will be held next Friday and Saturday at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center in Franklin.
CLEVELAND 39, BRADLEY 28: The Bears got a 7-3 decision from Colter McConnell in the first match at 152 for a quick 3-0 lead, but the Blue Raiders came back with consecutive pins from Aaron Oliver and Josh Hamilton for a 12-3 lead and the defending champs never trailed again.
John Gaither's 10-5 decision at 285 gave Cleveland its biggest lead at 23-7 before the Bears came back to win three straight, including back-to-back pins from Toribio Navarro at 113 and Knox Fuller at 120 to get within a point at 23-22.
Pins from Christopher Debien and Ezra Taylor wraoped around a major decision from Austin Stevison sealed the deal for Cleveland before they forfeited to Caleb Adkins at 145 for the final 11-point margin.
Cleveland coach Jake Yost liked what he saw as his team heads to Middle Tennessee as the top-seeded team.
"I can't be too disappointed as I feel good about getting the number-one seed for next weekend. No question, this is the toughest region in the state and it's a shame that Bradley and Walker Valley aren't going, but I felt like we did a good job tonight.
"I thought we improved on our match from last time and I feel like we're headed in the right direction. When we compete like we're capable, we're hard to beat," Yost nodded.
Bradley coach Ben Smith can now turn his attention to the traditional region in two weeks after losing a tough one on Thursday.
"Congratulations to Cleveland and Soddy Daisy, but I feel like that we and Walker Valley should be going too. We had to win some close ones that we lost and it hurt when we lost the coin toss. We aren't as deep up top as we are down low, but I felt better about our first match.
"We have 16 days to get ready for the region, but I thought we did what we could with the bumps we made. But there were a few places where we should have done a better job of staying off our backs," Smith nodded.
SODDY DAISY 40, WALKER VALLEY 32: The Mustangs are still looking for their second win over the Trojans. Moral victories don't count for much in high school wrestling, but Walker Valley came thisclose to winning a big one against the Trojans on Thursday.
Austin Williamson and Garrett Alexander both got pins as Soddy Daisy took a 12-0 lead at the start before Walker Valley bounced back with six straight wins, including pins from Billy Raulston, Xzayvier Beckingham, Zach Miller and Drake Haney and a technical fall from Lawrence Cotton as that 12-point lead for the Trojans turned into a 32-12 deficit.
Perhaps the turning point in the match came at 113 pounds when Soddy Daisy's Mason Blevins rallied from a 9-5 hole after two periods to post a 10-9 victory over Zane Smith.
Jacob McClure and Emory Holcomb had pins around a decision from Austin Houser at 126 before Tucker Russo and Gage Richmond saved the day for Soddy Daisy with technical falls in the last two matches.
"We're proud of the effort we gave, but we just came up a little bit short," said Walker Valley's Alan Morris shortly after the match ended.
"I thought we battled them, but we still have some areas where we need to improve, but hat's off to Soddy Daisy for a great effort on their part. I thought we needed a win at 152, but we didn't get it. We don't necessarily feel good about things right now, but I'm pleased with the way we competed. We just came up a tad bit short," Morris nodded.
Soddy Daisy coach Jim Higgins was surely breathing a sigh of relief when this match ended.
"It was interesting to say the least, but I must commend Walker Valley on a great match. They showed up a different team from the first time we wrestled them, but their hard work is paying off and they will be a force to be reckoned with.
"The key for us is that we didn't panic when we had our backs to the wall. I don't like having a match taken to us like we did tonight, but that's Chattanooga wrestling. It's unfortunate that two pretty good teams won't be going to Franklin next weekend.
"I'm not very pleased with our performance and I make no qualms about that, but I'm not really sure what the problem was. We'll just have to keep working and see what happens," Higgins added.
SODDY DAISY 40, WALKER VALLEY 32
(Match started at 152 Pounds)
106 -- Drake Haney (WV) pinned Chase Payne, 3:28;
113 -- Mason Blevins (SD) dec. Zane Smith, 10-9;
120 -- Jacob McClure (SD) pinned Robert Varner, 1:42;
126 -- Austin Houser (SD) dec. Austin Gregory, 12-5;
132 -- Emory Holcomb (SD) pinned Joseph Munoz, 3:53;
138 -- Tucker Russo (SD) won by technical fall over Mikel Gregory, 4:26;
145 -- Gage Richmond (SD) won by technical fall over Tyrus Hamrick, 5:50;
152 -- Austin Williamson (SD) pinned Ryan Hager, 4:25;
160 -- Garrett Alexander (SD) pinned Holton Spencer, 1:53;
170 -- Lawrence Cotton (WV) won by technical fall over Tyler Hixson, 4:53;
182 -- Billy Raulston (WV) pinned Hunter Maynor, 2:31;
195 -- Ric Kennett (WV) dec. Christian Dean, 6-3;
220 -- Xzayvier Beckingham (WV) pinned Dylan Aslinger, 1:01;
285 -- Zach Miller (WV) pinned Jesse McNew, :39.
CLEVELAND 39, BRADLEY 28
(Match started at 152 Pounds)
106 -- Ryan McElhaney (Brad) dec. Colton Landers, 4-2;
113 -- Toribio Navarro (Brad) pinned Tristan Blansit, 4:21;
120 -- Knox Fuller (Brad) pinned Taylor Bishop, 5:17;
126 -- Christopher Debien (Clev) pinned Hunter Parker, 3:09;
132 -- Austin Stevison (Clev) major dec. Taylor Kazy, 9-0;
138 -- Ezra Taylor (Clev) pinned Stephen Scott, 3:29;
145 -- Caleb Adkins (Brad) won by forfeit;
152 -- Colter McConnell (Brad) dec. Jonathan Martin, 7-3;
160 -- Aaron Oliver (Clev) pinned Steven Wilson, 3:46;
170 -- Josh Hamilton (Clev) pinned Corey Gablin, 4:24;
182 -- Nathan Adams (Brad) major dec. Samuel Garcia, 15-4;
195 -- Ethan West (Clev) won by technical fall over Brett Brown, 3:45;
220 -- Koran Kennedy (Clev) dec. Zachary McFarland, 3-1;
285 -- John Gaither (Clev) dec. J.J. Johnson, 10-5.
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)