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


PHOTOS: Lookouts Celebrate Winning Second-Half Title

Four weeks ago, no one would have expected the Lookouts would be even close to winning the second-half title. An 11-game winning streak put them into the race and when they swept the Tennessee Smokies Sunday they had concluded an incredible comeback. The Smokies were still in a position to win before Chris O'Brien's pinch-hit triple plated Corey Seager and O'Koyea Dickson with ... (click for more)

Phillips, Thompson Win FCA Races At Chattanooga State

Geno Phillips and Dean Thompson didn’t have much competition Monday morning in the FCA races at Chattanooga State. Phillips was victorious in the 10K with a time of 35 minutes and one second as he beat runner-up Andy Highlander by almost two minutes.   Highlander was timed in 36:48. Thompson was the winner in the 5K with a time of 17 minutes, two ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)