Monday, November 12, 2012 - by B.B. Branton
It was a Blue Tornado wrestling reunion this past weekend at the University of the Cumberlands’ Patriot Open (Ky.) as former McCallie state champions T.J. Duncan and Alex Ward both claimed individual titles.
Ward won the 133-pound class for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, while Duncan won at 157 for Shorter University (Rome, Ga.).
After winning five state championships for McCallie, Duncan enrolled at Maryland in the fall of 2011 with hopes of plying his mat talents in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
But it wasn’t a good fit for Duncan who left Maryland mid-semester and enrolled at Chattanooga State for the 2012 spring semester.
“I thought my wrestling career was over once I left Maryland, but the Shorter wrestling coach (Josh Henson) contacted me this past spring about wrestling for them and now I am back on the mat,” said Duncan.
"Shorter is a good fit for me as it is a Christian college and it is close to home.
“I am pleased with a first and second place finish in my first two tournaments this fall, but I have a lot of work to do to get back to 100%,” stated Duncan who under went right shoulder surgery in the summer of 2011 and until this fall had not wrestled since winning his fifth state crown 18 months ago (Feb. 2011).
Duncan placed second at The Citadel Open (Nov. 3) followed by first place at the Patriot Open via forfeit over Shorter teammate Gabriel Bird.
“Gabe and I decided that if we both reached the finals we would flip a coin for first place since we wrestle each other everyday in practice,” Duncan said.
Ward recorded three pins (one in the finals) and a major decision on the way to his title.
Two UTC Champs at Wolfpack Open: While Ward was winning in Kentucky for the Blue and Gold, UTC’s Josh Condon (165) and Niko Brown (197) claimed titles at the tough Wolfpack Open at North Carolina State.
Condon defeated Nijel Jones of host N.C. State in the finals, while Brown edged Kevin Bealzey (Old Dominion), 6-4 for his title.
The Mocs Nick Soto (133), Dean Pavlou (141) and Levi Clemons (174) all placed second, while Marvin Lopez (133), John Lampe (165) and Jared Johnson (197) each placed sixth.
Zack Watson Takes 5th: Former Baylor five-time state champ Zack Watson placed fifth at 133 for Virginia, beating UTC’s Marvin Lopez, 8-2.
King College Wrestlers: Jeremy Miller (King College) took third at 157 after reaching the championship semis. Miller won a TSSAA state championship for Greenback as an eighth grader in 2007 … Two King teammates – Madison Martin (0-2 at 133 … Heritage HS) and Billy Swanson (1-2 at 285 … Soddy Daisy HS) – also competed. Martin is dropping to 125 and was 2-2 at the Hokie Open Nov. 3.
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com