Baylor's Bryson - A Mat Champ Like His Pop(p)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

Though four decades apart, their athletic careers are quite similar.

Dr. Tom Popp won a state wrestling title in 1975 for Hixson High School, while also holding the title of junior national champion in open canoe.

His youngest son, Bryson, goes for a second state wrestling title (and fourth overall medal)this weekend at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center, while being a four-time defending national champion with older brother Colton (now in dental school in Memphis and a two-time state wrestling runner-up) in adult whitewater canoeing-kayaking.

Bryson also holds a team world gold medal in the Dragon Boat (20-man and 10-man) competition in Hungary.

Dr. Popp was the state tournament Outstanding Wrestler award in ’75, wrestled one year at UTC for coach Jim Morgan and later was seventh at the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials in kayaking and still competes in masters events.

A heavy favorite to win a second mat title and a strong candidate for OW, the younger Popp, will also attend UTC, hopefully be accepted into the school's Honors Program and will continue his national and world caliber padding passion.

While wrestling has taken Bryson to some of the top prep tournaments in the nation, paddling has taken him to various parts of the globe, including Australia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Spain.

All in the Family: But state and national championships are not solely reserved for the men in the Popp household.

Selena, a Baylor junior, is the TSSAA D-II defending state champ in the pentathlon, high jump and 100 meter high hurdles. In the water, she is the defending national champ in women’s whitewater canoeing-kayaking, while older sister, Haley, is a three-time national champ.

While members of the Popp family have paddled from sea to shining sea and beyond, they will focus on the squared circle in Franklin this weekend and cheer as Bryson dons the Baylor singlet for one more run at a mat title before continuing his paddling career.

State Wrestling Facts:

Williamson County Ag Expo Center - Franklin, Tenn.  I-65  Exit 61

D-I AAA: Thurs-Sat.

D-II, D-I A-AA, Girls Invite: Fri-Sat.

Championship Finals: Sat. 5 p.m. (CST) for all divisions

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


UTC's McLean Set For Suns Summer League Squad

From the moment Tre McLean ’16 walked on campus in 2013, he brought a through-the-roof work ethic. That work leads to his next step heading to Las Vegas joining the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Summer League. McLean transferred to Chattanooga in 2013 from Queens University of Charlotte after his freshman year. He followed his head coach Wes Long from Charlotte to Gig City when current ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Bobcats Sign Howard Hoops Standout

The Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats volleyball team and basketball team have picked up recruits from the Chattanooga area this season and the men’s basketball team recently decided to follow suit. Head coach David Stephenson crossed into the Volunteer State in late June to sign guard Justin Smith. Smith prepped at Howard High School, which has always been a hotbed for ... (click for more)

County Commission May Amend Resolution Dealing With 501(c)(3)s; Humane Society Says It Won't Comply

The County Commission may amend a resolution it passed that would put a member of the commission on the board of the 501(c)(3)s that receive over 25 percent of their funding from the county. It would also require the agencies to follow county purchasing, travel and expense policies. After the measure was passed 6-3, the county got a letter from the Humane Education Society ... (click for more)

Walker County Taking Out Another Loan To Deal With Debts Left By Bebe Heiskell Administration

Walker County officials said they are having to take out another loan to deal with debts left by the Bebe Heiskell administration. Commissioner Shannon Whitfield has called a special meeting for Thursday at 2 p.m. at the commissioner's office in Lafayette. The agenda includes a $4 million tax anticipation note from Lafayette Bank, which stepped in to help the new administration ... (click for more)

CPS Should Have A Manned 24/7 Presence In Every County

This week something became abundantly clear to me. The Department of Child Protective Services in the state of Tennessee, or at least in Hamilton County, are asleep at the wheel.   Early yesterday afternoon local news stations broke the news: "Animals Removed from Soddy Daisy Home."  What the news station either didn't know, or didn't report, was that the children of ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Heroes Gather On July 14

Oliver North, whose journey as American patriot has not been an easy one, never lost hope. He once admitted he lied to Congress under oath, was found guilty of three felony counts after he followed the direct orders of his superiors, and then endured the wrath of the ignorant before the ACLU – of all sources – had the charges vacated. The former Lt. Colonel in the Marine Corps ... (click for more)