There's still a lot of wrestling left, but the Hixson Wildcats have the lead after the first day of action in the Region 2-A/AA tournament that's being held at Hixson Middle School.
The Wildcats piled up 54.5 points as 13 of their 14 wrestlers are still alive in the tournament, including a dozen in the championship semifinals.
The East Ridge Pioneers are in second place with 53 points, although 12 of those points came when heavyweight C.J. Baker advanced to Saturday afternoon's finals with a major decision over Brainerd's Sedric Jordan, who will be busy with the ACT test early Saturday.
Red Bank is third with 41 while the Central Purple Pounders are fourth with 38.5. Tyner rounds out the top five with 33 points.
There were no upsets during Friday's two championship rounds as all of the first and second-seeded wrestlers advanced.
Hixson is probably the team to beat, based on sheer numbers. The Wildcats have 13 of 14 alive, including those 12 in the semifinals.
East Ridge has 12 of 13 still battling for a state tournament berth while Red Bank has nine in the semis after the Lions lost just once in the first two rounds. Central is still in the hunt with seven in the semifinals.
Hixson's semifinalists include Spencer Groves (106), Cedrick Harris (113), Konnor Ziegler (120), Isaac Yates (126), Grayson Layne (132), Jovarrus Stegall (138), Landon Goforth (152), Chris Nicholson (170), Dylan Bargerstock (182), McKenzie Martin (195), Gulliane Palacio (220) and Brody Gregory (285) while 145-pound Ronny Huff is still battling through the consolation brackets.
Hixson coach Garrick Hall spent most of Friday making sure everything was running smoothly, but he was a happy fellow when the last match had ended and his Wildcats were in first place.
"My guys have done what we asked them to do for the most part. We told them that we needed bonus points and we got them in many cases, but we just have to keep rolling. I'm really pleased as we have 13 still alive with 12 in the semis. I would have really been happy to have all 14 alive, but that's life.
"I keep telling them that this is their tournament and they have to want it at this point," Hall nodded.
East Ridge coach Chris Bird was all smiles after Friday's action.
"I thought we came out cold, but we did about as well as we could for the first day," the first-year head coach nodded.
"I've been on pins and needles all night, but I just want my kids to do well. There was some really good wrestling here tonight and not all were wearing orange singlets. But I can assure you that we'll be ready to compete on Saturday," he added.
Red Bank coach Shane Turner was another one with a big grin on his face.
"It's going good right now," he began as the second round of consolation matches continued.
"I'm really pleased with how we battled, but we just lost one match in the first two rounds, so I'm really pleased with where we are at this point. It's what I was expecting, but you never know what to expect out of teenaged boys and how they'll respond. But these last two weeks have been our two best of the season preparation wise and it showed tonight," Turner nodded.
"We only have 10 guys in the room now, but they are the ones who are willing to pay the price. I don't think there's any question that Hixson will win this tournament, but they'll beat us on depth, not on quality," Turner concluded.
John Lennon feels the same way about his Central team.
"It's still the first day and there's a lot of wrestling left, but we'll take any wins that we can get at this point. This is a great group of kids who I wouldn't hesitate to take anywhere. Winning wrestling matches is just a bonus.
"We aren't trying to be fancy. We're just trying to punch our ticket to the state tournament next week. Wrestling is by far the toughest sport on a high school campus. That's why so few kids do it," the former two-time state champion at Cleveland who compiled an amazing 102-2 prep record added.
Saturday's action begins with the championship semis at 10 a.m. and will be followed by the remaining consolation rounds. The championship and consolation finals are set to begin around 2:30.
The top four finishers in each age group advance to the state tournament, which will be in Franklin at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center next Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
LEGEND AND TEAM SCORES
1. Hixson (Hix) 54.5; 2. East Ridge (ER) 53; 3. Red Bank (RB) 41; 4. Chattanooga Central (CCen) 38.5; 5. Tyner (T) 33; 6. Signal Mountain (SM) 32; 7. Notre Dame (ND) 21; 8. Whitwell (W) 18.5; 9. Brainerd (Bra) 15; 10. Chattanooga Christian (CCS) 10; 11. Sequatchie Co. (Seq) 9; 12. Howard (How) 8; 13. Lookout Valley (LV) and Sale Creek (SC) tied with 6; 15. Silverdale (Sil) 4; 16. Boyd-Buchanan (BB) 2.
Here are the match results for the two championship rounds.
Quarterfinals: Trent Comeaux (RB) pinned Stanton Grisham (CCS); Spencer Groves (Hix) won by technical fall over LaDedrick Lane (Bra), 4:00; Ned Warwick (ND) pinned Gary Wayne Smith (Seq); Robert Owens (ER) pinned Andrew Weaver (BB).
Quarterfinals: Luke Mullin (ND) advanced with a bye; Blake Reichel (RB) pinned Jarrod Smith (BB); Warren Weaver (SM) advanced with a bye; Cedrick Harris (Hix) pinned Logan McDonald (ER).
Round of 16: Hunt Drennan (SM) pinned Cornelius Woodruff (Bra).
Quarterfinals: Trent Walliser (LV) pinned Cody Davis (W); Connor Ziegler (Hix) dec. Gavin Gardner (Seq), 10-5; Drennan (SM) pinned Jared Nelson (ND); Cody Baugh (RB) pinned Josh Williams (ER).
Quarterfinals: Brandon Whitley (ER) pinned Kenny Diaz (BB); Issac Coffman (CCen0 dec. David Hodges (ND), 10-8; Carter Thomas (CCS) pinned CaDarius Harris (T); Isaac Yates (Hix) pinned Daidrick Dunham (How).
Round of 16: Grayson Layne (Hix) pinned Slade Dickerson (Sil).
Quarterfinals: Packy Mullin (ND) pinned Steven Davoren (BB); Layne (Hix) pinned Andrew Fite (CCS); Spencer Griffy (ER) pinned Matt Lewis (Seq); Bryson Lemons (CCen) pinned Domonique Rahman (How).
Round of 16: Gabe McDuffie (RB) major dec. Justin Hitchcock (ER), 13-5; Justin Wheeler (CCS) pinned Michael Minnick (LV); Jacob Newman (SM) pinned Kyle Gross (SC); Chaysen Patrick (T) pinned Hans Casseus (CCen); Cameron Thomas (How) pinned Jerrick Daniel (Seq).
Quarterfinals: McDuffie (RB) pinned Casey Brock (ND); Wheeler (CCS) dec. Zane Williams (BB), 3-1; Newman (SM) dec. Patrick (T), 8-6 in overtime; Jovarrus Stegall (Hix) pinned Thomas (How).
Round of 16: Heyward Alonso (CCen) won by technical fall over Mark Warren (BB); David Johnson (RB) pinned Cordaro Cummings (Bra); Hunter Daugherty (T) pinned John Pendergrass (How); Jarred Keener (Seq) dec. Greg Layne (W), 10-5.
Quarterfinals: Alonso (CCen) major dec. Alex Hundley (CCS), 16-5; Johnson (RB) dec. Ronny Huff (Hix), 6-4; Daugherty (T) pinned Jalyn Allen (ER); Noah Bankston (ND) pinned Keener (Seq).
Round of 16: Landon Goforth (Hix) pinned Dakota Silvers (Seq); Avery Shrum (W) pinned Jacob Anderson (SC); Xavier Norwood (CCen) major dec. Jonathan Griggs (ND), 9-1; Zach Peters (ER) pinned Brandon Spurling (BB); Chase Daugherty (T) pinned Niejel Billingsley (How).
Quarterfinals: Goforth (Hix) pinned Grant Williams (Sil); Kain Kell (RB) dec. Shrum (W), 11-5; Norwood (CCen) pinned Kobeia Ford (Bra); Daugherty (T) dec. Peters (ER), 6-4.
Round of 16: Matthew Mapp (ER) dec. Juan Camacho (T), 5-1; Robert Perry (RB) dec. Michael Quatrano (ND), 7-2; Kyler Kayanek (SM) pinned Ryan Turner (Hix).
Quarterfinals: Sam Morgan (SC) pinned Mapp (ER); Daniel Mikel (W) won by technical fall over Richard Daniels (Seq), 4:00; Perry (RB) pinned Jayson Smith (BB); Kayanek (SM) pinned Kenzell Robinson (Bra).
Quarterfinals: DeAngelo Johnson (ER) dec. James Beckett (T). 11-4; Chris Nicholson (Hix) dec. Denzell Robinson (Bra), 14-9; Seth Petarra (SM) pinned Hayden Foster (Seq); Devin Crawl (RB) pinned Kell Stott (BB).
Round of 16: Nakota Culver (ER) dec. Marcus McMillan (Bra), 3-2; Eddielee Joseph (T) pinned Michael Nelson (CCS).
Quarterfinals: Cale Shelton (SM) pinned Matt McCulley (Sil); Culver (ER) pinned Charles Von Canon (Seq); Joseph (T) pinned Jeremiah Parker (How); Dylan Bargerstock (Hix) pinned Calvin Conn (BB).
Quarterfinals: Truman Martin (CCen) pinned Doug Salvador (ER); Gabe Smith (RB) advanced with a bye; Seth Cumby (W) pinned Kevin Cortes (T); McKenzie Martin (Hix) advanced with a bye.
Quarterfinals: Micah Pressley (SM) advanced with a bye; Curtis Noiseaux (CCen) pinned Juliah Capehart (SC); Gulliane Palacio (Hix) and Christopher Hornsby (ND) both advanced with a bye.
Round of 16: Sedrick Jordan (Bra) pinned Hunter Whiting (ND).
Quarterfinals: C.J. Baker (ER) pinned Anthony Ottinger (RB); Jordan (Bra) pinned Jared Leslie (T); Brody Gregory (H) pinned Charles Shamblin (Sil); Sam Stephenson (CCen) pinned Andre Calloway (How).
Semifinals: Baker (ER) major dec. Jordan (Bra), 15-7.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)