Hard work is finally paying off for the Signal Mountain wrestling team as they were rewarded with their first-ever Region 5-A/AA title on Friday night at Red Bank. As a result, coach Joe Jellison will be taking his Eagles to Franklin next weekend for the state duals.
Jeremiah Welch scored a 1-0 decision in the first match at 285 pounds to give the Lions an early 3-0 lead, but they only won three of the next 13 matches as the Eagles ran away with the 52-19 victory at the John Farr Wrestling Arena.
With the win, Signal Mountain improves to 14-4 while Red Bank is now 6-7.
The Eagles have a young team with mostly freshmen and sophomores in the starting lineup. Isaac Tate and Will Davis are the only two seniors and they both responded with first-period pins as Signal Mountain won five of their 10 matches by pin.
Jellison had a hard time containing his happiness once the match ended.
“I’m really proud of our effort tonight as they guys have totally bought into what we’re trying to teach, but we’ve never won a region title before and this is a big deal,” he said while the rest of his team was celebrating and posing for pictures.
“It got kind of crazy at times, but we had to keep our poise and that was a key. Red Bank is a very physical team, but they made some mistakes and we were able to capitalize on them.
“It’s such an emotional feeling right now that it’s really hard to describe, but all of our hard work is paying off. These guys have a lot of fun while they work and they knew just how important this match was, but they were able to keep the fun in it,” the coach added.
While the Lions won the first match, the Eagles got pins from Noah Shriner and Daniel Uhorchuk and a decision from Isaac Tate for a 15-3 lead and it never got much closer.
Gage Evans had a pin at 126 and Caden Cline posted a 16-7 major decision at 138 as Red Bank crept within 18-13, but Signal Mountain then won the next six matches for a commanding 52-13 lead before the Eagles forfeited the final match at 220.
Red Bank coach Nathan Wehunt really didn’t know what to say after his team lost in their final home match on senior night.
“That was tough,” he began his post-match comments.
“We have to change our work ethic around here and we need to start planning for matches like this before the day of the match. Normally, we’re a smarter team than we showed tonight, but Signal Mountain wrestled great.
“We are trying to change the culture here and it’s tough as they’ve had three coaches in the past three years. We have to learn how to take more pride in our sport. I knew this was going to be a tough match and I’m disappointed it wasn’t a little bit closer,” he nodded.
BAYLOR PULLED off a big win with a 40-24 victory over second-ranked McCallie on the Blue Tornado mat Friday night.
The Red Raiders won the first seven matches and had a 31-0 lead before McCallie rallied with five straight wins to get within 31-24.
Andrew Pace then won a 5-2 decision at 138 pounds to seal the deal for Baylor before Austin Atchley finished the match with a pin for a little icing on the cake.
"I've been better," said McCallie coach Mike Newman after his team had lost for only the second time this season.
"We let a couple of close ones get away early and that hurt, but I really felt like we had a chance to win this match. We just have to keep getting better as there's still a lot of wrestling to be done," the veteran coach added.
Connor Duffy, Riley Bodine and Atchley all had pins for Baylor while Jack Braman, Emory Taylor and Cody Chittum all won by pins for McCallie.
Both teams will be in Franklin next weekend for the State Duals.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN 52, RED BANK 19
(Match Began At 285 Pounds)
106 – Noah Shriner (SM) pinned Kyle Harper, 1:24;
113 – Daniel Uhorchuk (SM) pinned Noah Hudson, :59;
120 – Isaac Tate (SM) dec. Dylan Cagle, 4-3;
126 – Gage Evans (RB) pinned Kale Albritton, 3:02;
132 – Kevin Muschel (SM) dec. Zach Gee, 2-0;
138 – Caden Cline (RB) major dec. Samuel Wickizer, 16-7;
145 – Eli Buttram (SM) pinned Leon Stone, 3:08;
152 – Preston Worley (SM) pinned Alex Cagle, 1:40;
160 – Oliver Goodgame (SM) won by forfeit;
170 – Jake Woodlief (SM) major dec. Ashton Tubbs, 14-5;
182 – Spencer Leonard (SM) won by forfeit;
195 – Will Davis (SM) pinned Gabriel Welch, 1:18;
220 – Jackson Hash (RB) won by forfeit;
285 – Jeremiah Welch (RB) dec. Riley Daniels, 1-0.
BAYLOR 40, McCALLIE 24
152 - Alex Atchley (B) maj dec David Fisk, 13-4, 4-0
160 - Connor Duffy (B) pinned Hayden Rowland,3:49, 10-0
170 - Mason Reiniche (B) won by forfeit, 16-0
182 - Riley Westlake (B) dec. Thomas Sell, 10-5, 19-0
195 - Sam Reynolds (B) dec. Walker Robinson, 2-1 OT, 22-0
220 - Stephen Morgan dec. Chase Looper, 3-2, 25-0
285 - Riley Bodine (B) pinned Austin Gentle, 3:33, 31-0
106 - Jack Braman (M) pinned Hunter Banks, :34, 31-6
113 - Christian Morris (M) dec. Porter Kaufman, 2-0, 31-9
120 - Emory Taylor (M) pinned Jacob Weekley, 3:23, 31-15
126 - Cody Chittum (M) pinned Grant Slye, 2:18, 31-21
132 - Alex Whitworth (M) dec. Hayden Hartline, 8-2, 31-24
138 - Andrew Pace (B) dec. Zach Ward, 5-2, 34-24
145 - Austin Atchley (B) pinned Mason Hughes, 3:57, 40-24
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)