CLEVELAND, Tenn. – The host Bradley Bears were the two-time defending champs in their own Bradley Invitational this weekend at Jim Smiddy Arena, but they weren’t able to make it a three-peat.
The Commerce Tigers, a powerhouse Class A team from Georgia, had a slim three-point lead going into Saturday afternoon’s medal rounds, but after winning all four of their championship matches and both of their matches for third, they headed back home with the first-place trophy after finishing the weekend with 198 points and eight medalists.
Bradley also finished with eight in the medals and they too had four in the championship finals, but 120-pound Daniel Mroz was the only one to win as the Bears finished second with 187.
The Alexander Cougars, a talented team from Douglasville, Ga., was third with 174.5 points while Blackman and Mountain View were fourth and fifth with 137 and 134 points, respectively.
East Hamilton was the highest finishing Chattanooga team as the Hurricanes used individual titles from Elijah Vance and Cade Meeks to finish ninth in the 31-team field with 96 points.
Hixson was 17th with 65.5 while Signal Mountain was 22nd with 48.5. Ooltewah and Central were 26th and 28th with 19.5 and 18 points, respectively.
“Everything seemed to turn out okay, but this is always one of our favorite tournaments because we see great competition and it’s always so well organized,” said Commerce coach Kendall Love once all the matches had ended.
“We have a good mix of older and younger kids, so for us to claim four individual titles makes me really happy. We felt like they could make the finals, but you never know what will happen when you get to that point.
“We just got started about two weeks ago as most of these guys play football and we went pretty deep in the playoffs, but we knew what we needed to do and were able to get on a roll in the finals. This is a great way for us to begin our season,” he said, later admitting that his team is the four-time defending state champs in their classification.
Bradley coach Ben Smith wasn’t quite sure what to think after Friday’s rounds when several of his kids got beat unexpectedly. Needless to say, things were better on the second day and Smith was somewhat more happy with the final results.
“We’re still learning how to compete at this level as a lot of our guys don’t have a lot of varsity experience,” he said as the individual awards were being presented.
“I’m really pleased with where we finished after Friday’s action, but we fought pretty well in spots. Wrestling is a sport where split-second decisions are so important. Mental lapses in critical spots cost us at least 25 or 30 team points, but today was much better than yesterday.
“I’m really proud of Daniel Mroz. He’s a first-year starter and this is his first tournament win, but I kind of have a sour taste in my mouth after only winning one of four in the finals.
“Commerce has an outstanding team and they did what they had to do to win. They’re really tough, but this was a good test for us. I feel a whole lot better today than I did last week after the Cleveland Duals,” Smith concluded.
Commerce led the way with four champions, including Tucker Flint at 138, Chase Forrester at 170, Knox Allen at 195 and Cade Ridley at 285. Flint was a state runner-up last year while the other three were state champs.
East Hamilton and Alexander both had two winners while Signal Mountain, Bradley, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Gilmer County and Heritage all had one apiece.
Vance and Meeks were champs for the Hurricanes while Vinny Ferrara (126) and Little Nelson (152) were winners for Alexander.
Other champions included Signal Mountain’s Daniel Uhorchuk at 113, Bradley’s Mroz at 120, Smyrna’s Cameron Henderson at 132, Mt. Juliet’s Dylan Quinn at 160, Gilmer’s Ryan Crump at 182 and Javier Salvadore of Heritage at 220.
Nelson was one of three champions to get a pin in the finals and was awarded the Outstanding Wrestler award for his effort.
Gilmer’s Crump and Siegel’s Christian Salter earned Best Match after Crump scored a 2-1 decision in overtime at 182 pounds.
Heritage’s Vili Bussey earned the Most Pins award after finishing fifth at 132 pounds. He had five pins for the tournament in a combined time of 15:40.
There was a moment of silence before the finals began in memory of Ron Moore, a long-time president of the Bradley wrestling booster club and a huge supporter of the Bears who died unexpectedly on Thursday.
FINAL TEAM SCORES: 1. Commerce 198; 2. Bradley 187; 3. Alexander 174.5; 4. Blackman 137; 5. Mountain View 134; 6. Gilmer County and Heritage tied with 128; 8. Knoxville Halls 99.5; 9. East Hamilton 96; 10. Bearden 80; 11. North Gwinnett 79; 12. Etowah 78.5; 13. Mt. Juliet 77; 14. Greeneville and Oakland tied with 74; 16. Jefferson Co. 70; 17. Hixson 65.5; 18. Huntsville 64.5; 19. Gadsden Southside 61; 20. Athens 59.5; 21. Smyrna 50.5; 22. Signal Mountain 48.5; 23. Stewarts Creek 33.5; 24. Siegel 33; 25. Hardin Valley 30; 26. Ooltewah 19.5; 27. Greenback 19; 28. Central 18; 29. Union Co. 16; 30. Sevier Co. 14; 31. St. George’s 0.
106 – Elijah Vance (East Hamilton) major dec. Josh Wallin (Greeneville), 16-7;
113 – Daniel Uhorchuk (Signal Mtn.) dec. Wes Devaney (Bradley), 8-5;
120 – Daniel Mroz (Bradley) dec. Jacob Dease (Southside), 8-2;
126 – Vinny Ferrara (Alexander) won by technical fall over Seth Carpenter (East Hamilton), 3:40;
132 – Cameron Henderson (Smyrna) dec. Rex McDaniel (North Gwinnett), 10-3;
138 – Tucker Flint (Commerce) dec. Kyle Burns (Bearden), 1-0;
145 – Cade Meeks (East Hamilton) dec. Andy Robinson, 2-1;
152 – Little Nelson (Alexander) pinned Steven Weist (Mt. Juliet), 2:54;
160 – Dylan Quinn (Mt. Juliet) major dec. Chase Standridge (Mtn. View), 12-2;
170 – Chase Forrester (Commerce) dec. Landon Fowler (Blackman), 9-6;
182 – Ryan Crump (Gilmer Co) dec. Christian Salter (Siegel), 2-1 in overtime;
195 – Knox Allen (Commerce) pinned D.J. Gibson (Bradley), 2:15;
220 – Javier Salvador (Heritage) pinned Jaeger Clark (Huntsville), 5:38;
285 – Cade Ridley (Commerce) dec. Anthony Zilke (Gilmer Co.), 7-0.
CONSOLATION FINALS FOR THIRD PLACE
106 – R.J. Aguirre (Mtn View) won by forfeit over David Jackson-Dodd (Alexander);
113 – Dawson Legg (Commerce) dec. Rick Shores (Mtn View), 3-2;
120 – Kenny Harless (Stewarts Creek) dec. Lucas Lopez (Gilmer Co.), 7-5;
126 – Samaj Burton (Oakland) dec. Charles Burton (Hixson), 5-4;
132 – Ian Morgan (Halls) dec. Chandler Cadman (Alexander), 3-2;
138 – Blake Smith (Etowah) dec. Zayd Anseri (Alexander), 3-2;
145 – Dawson Mathews (Alexander) pinned Seth Brown (Greeneville), 4:28;
152 – Jalen Brown (Blackman) dec. Joshua Teaster (Heritage), 3-1;
160 – Nick Patrick (Commerce) dec. Brooks Sacharczyk (Blackman), 2-1;
170 – Max Grayson (Bearden) major dec. Garrett Spikes (Mtn View), 13-5;
182 – Trent Knight (Greeneville) won by medical forfeit over Thomas Carter (Athens);
195 – Brent Buckman (Halls) dec. Alex Pham (Etowah), 7-2;
220 – Kevin Gentry (Bradley) dec. Harrison Spikes (Mtn View), 3-1 in overtime;
285 – Elijah Morrow (Huntsville) pinned Brandon Elkins (Halls), :53.
CONSOLATION FINALS FOR FIFTH PLACE
106 – Ethan Wilson (Bradley) dec. Diana Holmes (North Gwinnett), 9-6;
113 – Andrew Smith (Southside) major dec. Grayson Patterson (Gilmer Co), 13-2;
120 – Dalton Tyuan (Union Co) pinned Jeremiah Savage (Blackman), 2:49;
126 – Gaven Hughes (Bradley) won by forfeit over Tristian Kendall (Gilmer Co);
132 – Vili Bussey (Heritage) pinned Logan Fisher (Jefferson Co.), 3:33;
138 – Chase Brown (Halls) dec. Daniel Bradford (Blackman), 4-3;
145 – James Ahern (Heritage) pinned Kole Burchett (Commerce), 2:30;
152 – Seth Bradford (North Gwinnett) won by forfeit over Cole Williams (Huntsville);
160 – Josh Pietarila (Hardin Valley) won by forfeit over Ross McDaniel (North Gwinnett);
170 – Henley Headrick (Bradley) pinned Gabriel Santiago (Alexander), 2:14;
182 – Skyler Shuman (Etowah) pinned Luke Hennebaul (Mtn View), 2:43;
195 – Chris Humphreys (Mt. Juliet) major dec. Taylor Brogdon (Gilmer Co), 15-5;
220 – Branson Boone (Oakland) pinned Elijah Burns (Commerce), 2:19;
285 – Jamil Hughes (Blackman) pinned Devotis McCurdy (Hixson), 1:49.
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)