Cleveland, Soddy Daisy Early Favorites In Region 4-AAA Wrestling

Walker Valley, Bradley Also Have Chance For Many State Qualifiers

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - by John Hunt

It appears that the Cleveland Blue Raiders and the Soddy Daisy Trojans will be fighting it out for the Region 4-AAA wrestling championships, which will be held at Walker Valley High School on Saturday.

While Cleveland and Soddy Daisy lead the way with the most number one seeds, Walker Valley and Bradley Central could be in the mix as well before all is said and done.

These four teams will be joined by teams from East Hamilton, Ooltewah, McMinn County and Rhea  County with the top four individuals in each weight class advancing to the traditional state tournament that will take place on Feb.

13-15 in Franklin.

Soddy Daisy and Cleveland are both defending region champions, but because of the split where AAA teams will be apart from their A-AA brothers, the regions had to be redrawn which included Soddy Daisy, Ooltewah and Rhea being moved.

Cleveland, fresh off its second-straight State Duals title, had the most number-one seeds with five while Soddy Daisy was next with four.  Walker Valley had three and Bradley the other two.

Those picked to win for Cleveland include Chris Debien at 126, Austin Stevison at 132, Josh Hamilton at 170, Ethan West at 195 and Koran Kennedy at 220.

Soddy Daisy's top seeds include Tucker Russo at 138, Gage Richmond at 145, Austin Williamson at 152 and Garrett Alexander at 160 while Walker Valley's three include Drake Haney at 106, Billy Raulston at 182 and Zach Miller at 285.

Bradley's two include Toribio Navarro at 113 and Knox Fuller at 120.

Saturday's action at Walker Valley begins with first-round matches at 10 a.m. and will go straight through to the championship finals, which are tentatively set for around 5 or 5:30. 

"They are what they are," said Cleveland coach Jake Yost when asked his feelings on Tuesday morning's seed meeting.

"We have the most number-one seeds, so that has to be good, but I feel good as all 14 of our wrestlers were seeded in the top four.  Maybe we'll have all 14 going to the state next week.

"This is a pretty tough region and it makes it harder to qualify for the state, but we have a lot of confidence after winning the duals last weekend.  I feel like we're wrestling our best right now and I'll be disappointed if we don't wrestle to the best of our ability on Saturday," Yost added.

Soddy Daisy coach Jim Higgins also feels pretty good about his team and the way the region brackets unfolded.

"This is what it's all about as it's the most exciting time of year for a high school wrestler.  Everyone always looks forward to the state tournament, but the kids have to show up and perform this weekend and must show a lot of heart," Higgins nodded.

"We're coming off of a somewhat down experience from last weekend, but I don't think there will be lasting affect.  I think we'll be in a pretty good place this weekend," Higgins said.

While Cleveland had the most number-one seeds with five, Walker Valley and Soddy Daisy led the way with four number twos each.  Cleveland has three while Bradley has two and Rhea County one.

Walker Valley's second seeds include Tyrus Hamrick at 145, Ryan Hager at 152, Lawrence Cotton at 160 and Ric Kennett at 195 while Soddy Daisy's four include Jacob McClure at 120, Austin Houser at 126, Emory Holcomb at 132 and Tyler Hixson at 170.

Cleveland's three include Tristan Blansit at 113, Ezra Taylor at 138 and John Gaither at 285 while Bradley's two include Ryan McElhaney at 106 and Brett Brown at 182.  Rhea County's Daniel Cochran was picked second at 220.

Here is the legend for the eight teams who'll be competing on Saturday and a complete listing of first-round matches.

LEGEND: Bradley Central (BC), Cleveland (Clev), East Hamilton (EH), McMinn County (McCo), Ooltewah (O), Rhea  County (RC), Soddy Daisy (SD), Walker Valley (WV).

106 -- Drake Haney (WV) advances with a bye; Chase Payne (SD) vs. Colton Landers (Clev); Briar Potter (EH) advances with a bye; Ryan McElhaney (BC) advances with a bye.

113 -- Toribio Navarro (BC) advances with a bye; Zane Smith (WV) vs. Jordan Goempel (EH); Mason Blevins (SD) advances with a bye; Tristan Blansit (Clev) advances with a bye.

120 -- Knox Fuller (BC) advances with a bye; Braxton Stratton (O) vs. Taylor Bishop (Clev); Matt Meeks (EH) vs. Logan Smith (WV); Jacob McClure (SD) advances with a bye.

126 -- Christopher Debien (Clev) advances with a bye; Nick Akins (EH) vs. Austin Gregory (WV); Hunter Parker (BC) vs. Geddes Sherrell (O); Shawn Olinyk (McCo) vs. Austin Houser (SD).

132 -- Austin Stevison (Clev) advances with a bye; Brayden Robinson (RC) vs. Joseph Munoz (WV); Taylor Kazy (BC) vs. Alex Wohlford (O); Emory Holcomb (SD) advances with a bye.

138 -- Tucker Russo (SD) vs. Dakota Boggess (McCo); Jordan Massingill (O) vs. Mikel Gregory (WV); Stephen Scott (BC) vs. Ethan Vandehei (EH); Vance Ives (RC) vs. Ezra Taylor (Clev).

145 -- Gage Richmond (SD) vs. Jacob Wolfe (EH); Tyler Wilson (McCo) vs. Caleb Adkins (BC); William Haas (Clev) advances with a bye; Joshua Brooks (O) vs. Tyrus Hamrick (WV).

152 -- Austin Williamson (SD) advances with a bye; Brett Turner (RC) vs. Aaron Oliver (Clev); Colter McConnell (BC) vs. Peyton Spalding (EH); Jordan Chafi (O) vs. Ryan Hager (WV).

160 -- Garrett Alexander (SD) advances with a bye; Greg Wilson (BC) vs. Jonathan Martin (Clev); Tyler Reid (O) advances with a bye; Tanner Holsomback (RC) vs. Lawrence Cotton (WV).

170 -- Josh Hamilton (Clev) advances with a bye; Donovan Thomas (O) vs. Carlos Galo (McCo); Nathan Adams (BC) vs. Krischan Goins (RC); Matt Pankey (WV) vs. Tyler Hixson (SD).

182 -- Billy Raulston (WV) advances with a bye; Chilynn Williams (EH) vs. Hunter Maynor (SD); Seth Garcia (Clev) vs. Victor Bednarski (O); Brett Brown (BC) advances with a bye.

195 -- Ethan West (Clev) advances with a bye; Terry Louallen (RC) vs. Mack Fairley (O); Christian Dean (SD) vs. Zach McFarland (BC); Ric Kennett (WV) advances with a bye.

220 -- Koran Kennedy (Clev) vs. entry (BC); Kelvin Leon (O) advances with a bye; Xzayvier Beckingham (WV) advances with a bye; Dylan Aslinger (SD) vs. Daniel Cochran (RC).

285 -- Zach Miller (WV) advances with a bye; Jesse McNew (SD) vs. J.J. Johnson (BC); Jacob Keltch (O) vs. Cameron Sliger (EH); John Gaither (Clev) advances with a bye.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)



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