Father Ryan Wins D-II Mat Title

Lucky 13 For Purple Irish

Saturday, February 15, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

Father Ryan coach Pat Simpson preached to his 13 state wrestlers that if they placed in the top four in their respective weight classes a state team  title - the school’s 13th traditional – would be theirs.


It wasn’t Sunday mass, but the Irish teenagers must have listened as if they were in catechism class as the Purple Irish had three champs, five seconds, three thirds and a pair of fourths.


“We have good depth, our guys wrestled well and won big matches to finish top four in every weight class,” said coach Simpson.


Ryan (233) outdistanced runner-up McCallie (182.5) and third place Baylor (171) and mid-state foe MBA (147) who took fourth in the 16-team field.


Ryan champions were Eli King (106), Chris Wesnofske (132) and John Hagey (170)


Trackwrestling.com – all brackets and team standings can be found on trackwrestling.com


“I told my guys that our goal was to peak at the state tournament and I believe we did that,” said McCallie coach Mike Newman. “I am proud of their hard work and effort this weekend and all season.”


McCallie had 11 medalists, including four champions – James Westbrooks (126), Adam Connell (138), Griffin Davis (145) and Trel Phillips (195); first (4) second (3), fourth (2), fifth (1) sixth (1).


Baylor also had 11 medalists, including four champions – Michael Murphy (113), Blake Sutherland (152), Bryson Popp (160) and Ryan Parker (182); first (4), second (3), third (1), fifth  (3)


Excellent High Tech Intro: Lights, smoke and a grand entrance for 84 state finalists in three divisions was used for the first time this year prior to the state finals in D-II, D-I A-AA and AAA.  This replaced the traditional Parade of Champions

Kudos to TSSAA, Joe Blair and his Staff ... well run tournament with lots of folks having a hand in making sure it ran smoothly.


Lucky 13 … Father Ryan wins its 13th traditional state crown …

Forty Years ago – 1974 … current Ryan coach Pat Simpson was a state runner-up on that state champion Ryan team


Irish Brothers:  Luke and Packy Mullen win titles for Notre Dame …


East Ridge Heavy – Now and Then … 50 years between Pioneer heavy champs … Charlie Goss was first East Ridge champ … today C.J. Baker is the school’s second state heavyweight champion.


My Three Sons With State Rings: Three Martin brothers have state championship rings … Xan with McCallie in 2003 (duals) … Madison with Heritage (Ga.) in 2012 (traditional) ... and McKenzie with Hixson in 2014 (traditional)


Three Generations of Connell’s in the Stands … Bruce Connell, older brother of coach Gordon Connell, drove in from Nebraska for the semis and finals … Adam’s older brother, Lee, was here as well as Adam’s nephew, Brody sitting on the front row … Sweet Win: Adam turned 19 on Valentine’s Day … won his second title in 2013 on V-Day


Now It Can Be Told: Connell re-injured (deep bruise) his chest this week and had to wear a plastic chest protector … originally injured it in workouts early in the fall.


Hixson – Champions Four Decades Later:  Hixson’s first traditional title came in 1973 as current McCallie coach Gordon Connell was the Wildcats head coach … Tom Popp (’75 state champ and OW) was a sophomore on that Hixson team and his son, Bryson, won his second state crown today ... Gordon’s son, Adam, won his third today … Current Hixson coach Garrick Hall now has two state duals and one state traditional team title

Alcoa - A Class Act: Alcoa brought eight to the dance; all medaled and three were state champs and placed second to champion Hixson.  another proof is in the pudding that the A-AA tourney will grow the sport .. . these kids can walk the halls and say "we among the best in the state... so come join us in the wrestling room."


Red Bank Champs:  While current Lions coach Shane Turner saw one his wrestlers - Gabe McDuffie (138) - win a state title and two others earn state runnerup medals, hall of famer and former Red Bank coach John Farr was in the stands, along with former Lions state champs Joe Pate (1963) and Chris Meadows (1965-66-67) … the last Red Bank state champ prior to today was Jonathan Taylor in 2009


On to the National Prep: At least four D-II champs will journey to Lehigh, Pa. next weekend to compete in the 89th National Prep Tournament … James Westbrooks, Adam Connell and Griffin Davis of McCallie and Blake Sutherland (Baylor) are planning to compete … the National Prep committee has extended a special invitation to Tennessee wrestlers who can compete as Team Tennessee (not under the banner of their high school), whereas all other wrestlers in the nation  will compete for their high school … TSSAA rules state that once a state tournament is completed, those athletes’ season in that sport is over and cannot compete in other tournaments for their high school.

Last Time in the Corner: Clarksville wrestling administrator Artie Manning sat in the corner for his last state tournament match as Wildcat heavy Bruno Reagan used his judo skills to help get his opponent off his feet and to his back for a first period pin ... A member of the Tenn. Chapter, National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Manning retires after 46 years with the program.


TSSAA D-II State Finals

106: Eli King (Father Ryan) dec. Gabriel Elkin (MBA), 7-0

King, a 9th grader, scored opening takedown and led 2-0 after first period … reverse in the second and a takedown in the third on the way to the win


113: Michael Murphy (Baylor) dec. Justin Becci (Brentwood Acad.), 5-2

Murphy (So.) countered Becci’s opening shot for a takedown in the first … another takedown in the second … Murphy gained escape in the third but Becci gained points for stalling and unsportsmanlike conduct … Michael wins his second title … his dad, Pat, was a state champ for Hixson in 1979


120: Elijah Oliver (Christian Bros.) tech fall Ethan Dendy (McCallie), 22-7

Oliver (Jr.) gained three takedowns and a 3-point near fall for a 9-3 lead after one … continued to build the lead on takedowns …second period tech fall … third state title for Oliver who is undefeated against Tenn. Wrestlers for a career


126: James Westbrooks (McCallie) dec. Kirby Simpson (Father Ryan), 8-3

Westbrooks (Jr.) hip toss gains takedown and 2-pt near fall at end of first for 4-0 lead … Westbrooks gains 1 point on locked hands, 5-0 in second … Simpson gains reverse in third, 5-2 … Westbrooks escape and takedown to secure his first state title


132: Chris Wesnofske (Father Ryan) dec. Brock Herring (McCallie), 5-3

Wesnofske (Jr.)  gets early takedown … Herring gains second period takedown   but has two cautions against him for false starts … third period - Wesnofske has escape and takedown for 5-2 … Herring warning for stalling … warning on Wesnofske … he rides out for win and does a back flip after hand is raised


138:  Adam Connell (McCallie) dec. Michael Eckhart (Father Ryan), 2-0

In an excellent match, Connell (Sr.) scores reverse in last 10 seconds to win 2-0 …  Connell said this title was the toughest to win … he beat Eckhart three times this year “but all were close, tough matches,” said Connell. “He has really improved.”

 Six state championships in the Connell family – Gordon (1), Lee (2), Adam (3) .

Voted Best Match


145: Griffin Davis (McCallie) dec. Ryan Simpson (Father Ryan), 5-1

Davis (Sr.) led 5-0 after second period … Simpson gains escape in the third

152: Blake Sutherland (Baylor) dec. Marcello Morrice (Father Ryan), 2-0

Scoreless first period … Sutherland (Jr.) gains reverse and rides out the third period


160: Bryson Popp (Baylor) pinned Nick Naughton (Father Ryan) 

Popp (Sr.) gains first takedown and a fall in first period for his second state title … his dad, Tom, was a state champ and tourney Outstanding Wrestler in 1975 for Hixson. Tom and Bryson have also won national titles in canoeing-kayaking


170:  John Hagey (Father Ryan) dec. Cayman Seagraves (Baylor), 2-1
scoreless first … Seagraves escapes in second … Hagey gains reverse in final 25 seconds and rides out for win … Seagraves had pinned Hagey in the state duals finals on Feb. 1


182: Ryan Parker (Baylor) dec. Nathan Hoodenpyle (McCallie), 6-3

In battle of state champions, Parker used three takedowns for 6-3 lead thru two periods and goes on to win his second title  was 4-1 vs. Hoodenpyle this season.


195: Trel Phillips (McCallie) dec. Jacob Cretin (Brentwood Acad), 5-4.

Cretin used escape and takedown for 3-0 lead ... Phillips (So.) gains reverse late in second period, 3-2 … Phillips gains escape and takedown for 5-3 lead in third …Cretin escapes, 5-4 less than a  minute remaining … Phillips able to counter takedown effort at end to win

Nominee for best match


220: D'On Coofer (MBA) vs. Jon Schmissrauter (Baylor), 2-1

Scoreless first … Coofer has escape in second, 1-0 … warning Schmissrauter stalling … Schmissrauter escapes in third, 1-1 … now they hand fight for inside position … second warning on Schmissrauter … Coofer leads 2-1  1:10 remaining … Schmissrauter almost had takedown at :22 … warning Coofer for stalling …


285:  D.J. Palmore (Christian Brothers) dec. Madison Malone (Briarcrest), 3-2 Sudden Victory

1-1 in regulation … Palmore escapes in SV  3-2


D-II Final Team Standings (# of champions)

1 Father Ryan – 233 (3)

2. McCallie – 182.5 (4)

3 Baylor – 171 (4)

4. MBA - 147 (1)

5. Christian Brothers -137 (2)

6. St. Benedict – 69

7 Brentwood Acad, - 60

8 Briarcrest - 48

9 Franklin Road Academy - 46

10 Ensworth  - 28

11 BGA  - 16

12 MUS – 8

13 Fayette Acad. – 6

14 Pope John Paul – 0

14 St. Andrews-Sewanee – 0

16 St. George -  -1

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

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