FRANKLIN -- It's still a close race after the first day of the TSSAA AAA State Wrestling Tournament being held here at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Center.
Wilson Central, a team that finished second to Cleveland in the State Duals two weeks ago, holds a slim lead with 73 points after the first two championship rounds and two rounds of consolation matches were held.
The two-time defending champion Blue Raiders is right on the heels of the Wildcats with 70 points. Both have 11 wrestlers still competing with Cleveland sending eight into Friday morning's quarterfinals while Wilson Central has just seven.
"We're doing pretty good as we won the ones I thought we'd win. Everybody on our team won matches today and that helps. We still have 11 alive in the tournament, so I'm really happy with the way things stand now," said Wilson Central coach John Kramer.
Cleveland coach Jake Yost had similar feelings.
"We have eight in the quarters and that's big, but everyone has scored. We need to bring everyone back and that will be big as well, but we've done a great job so far," Yost added.
While Wilson Central and Cleveland hold down the top two spots, Bradley is third with 63 while Walker Valley is fourth with 55. Cookeville is fifth with 53.5 while Soddy Daisy is currently sixth with 51.5.
Bradley only won six of 13 matches in the first round, but the Bears bounced back to win five of six in the round of 16. The Bears also have five battling in the consolation rounds.
"I think we got all excited when we qualified 13, but people forget that a bunch of those guys are on the back side of the bracket and faced either region champions or runners-up in today's first round. We lost to some really good kids. We have some studs in the lower weights, but I feel like we're where we should be," said Bradley coach Ben Smith.
"We have five in the championship quarters. Last year we had only seven in the entire tournament. It hasn't been as bad a day for us as it looks on the front end," he added.
Walker Valley won eight of 11 first-round matches and added six more wins in the second round. The Mustangs have eight still battling for medals.
"Not bad," said Walker Valley coach Alan Morris.
"I'm happy with some and disappointed with others, but I expected those guys to win that won. Ryan Hager had a tough match against a really good kid, but we just have to come back through in the consolation rounds," Morris added.
Soddy Daisy looked good in the first round as they prevailed in eight of 10 matches, but the Trojans hit a bump in the road as they got beat in five of those eight second-round matches. Soddy Daisy came back strong in the consolation rounds as six Trojans kept their medal chances alive.
"Crazy things happen in a tournament like this, but I'm happy with the fight we've shown and the effort we've put forth. I would love to see some different results, but we showed a lot of heart and that's what I'm most proud of," said Soddy Daisy coach Jim Higgins.
Cleveland's eight quarterfinalists include Triston Blansit at 113, Christopher Debien at 126, Austin Stevison at 132, Ezra Taylor at 138, Aaron Oliver at 152, Josh Hamilton at 170, Ethan West at 195 and Koran Kennedy at 220. Those three Blue Raiders still battling in the consolation rounds include Taylor Bishop at 120, William Haas at 145 and John Gaither at 285.
Bradley's five alive in the championship round include Ryan McElhaney at 106, Toribio Navarro at 113, Knox Fuller at 120, Nathan Adams at 170 and Zach McFarland at 195. Those in the consolation rounds for the Bears include Hunter Parker at 126, Stephen Scott at 138, Caleb Adkins at 145, Brett Brown at 182 and J.J. Johnson at 285.
Walker Valley's six include Drake Haney at 106, Tyrus Hamrick at 145, Lawrence Cotton at 160, Billy Raulston at 182, Ric Kennett at 195 and Zach Miller at 285. Ryan Hager (152) and Xzayvier Beckingham (220) are still alive in the consolations.
Soddy Daisy's three championship hopefuls include Tucker Russo at 138, Gage Richmond at 145 and Austin Williamson at 152. Other Trojan medal hopefuls include Mason Blevins at 113, Jacob McClure at 120, Garrett Alexander at 160, Tyler Hixson at 170, Hunter Maynor at 182 and Christian Dean at 195.
East Hamilton is tied for 32nd place with 19 points while Ooltewah and Rhea County are knotted in 60th with five points.
Briar Potter advanced to the quarters for the Hurricanes with a pair of pins at 106 while Matt Meeks won his first match by decision and his second with a pin at 120.
Jacob Keltch was the only Ooltewah wrestler to win a match as he won twice, both by regular decision at 285.
Daniel Cochran won his first match for Rhea County at 220 before losing in the second round. He's still alive as he bounced back to win his consolation match.
Friday will be a big day for all involved as the quarterfinals will be followed at 7 p.m. by the championship semis, which always promises to provide some of the best matches of the tournament.
The A-AA and Division II teams also join the action on Friday. The tournament ends with the championship finals on Saturday at 5 p.m. (CST)
All results are listed on trackwrestling.com)
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)