Garrick Hall has always been one of those coaches who put his kids first as he’s been their number-one advocate since he joined the staff at Hixson High School.
The Wildcats hosted the Region 2-A/AA tournament on Saturday and they easily cruised to the team title with 264.5 points. But more importantly to Hall and his assistant coaches, all 14 Hixson individuals finished in the top four of their respective weight classes and earned a spot in next week’s traditional state tournament, which begins for A-AA teams on Friday and ends Saturday.
It was never really close as the Wildcats advanced a dozen young men into the championship finals. They ended up with eight champions, four who finished second and two more who claimed third.
Alcoa was a distant second with 193 while Polk County nipped Chattanooga Central for third as those teams had 74 and 73.5 points, respectively. Sale Creek was fifth in the team of 11 teams with 65 points.
While Hixson was the leader with eight individual winners, Alcoa had four and Greenback two.
Hixson’s champions included Caleb Miller at 106, Trevor Lewis at 113, Charles Burton at 120, Jeremiah Shackleford at 132, Jordan Lewis at 138 and Kaleb Mayes at 152. Deven Baker and Devotis McCurdy were the last two winners for the guys in black and gold at 182 and 285 pounds respectively.
Alcoa’s winners included Ryan Wimbley at 126, Alexander Richardson at 160, Noah Evans at 195 and Grant Brace at 220 while Greenback’s two winners included Jonathan Hawkins at 145 and Zach Malone at 170.
“The team score is always important, but I was most worried about getting as many qualifiers for next week as possible,” said Hall after the day-long tournament ended.
“I’m really happy to get all 14 and I’m not sure Hixson has ever done that before. It’s been a good day for us in anybody’s book, but it went about how I hoped it would go. You never know what will happen when you’re dealing with 15 and 16-year-old guys, but the thing that really excites me is just how young we are.
“We only have three seniors in our starting lineup, so I like what we have coming back. But anytime we put on our singlets, we have a shot,” he added when asked about his team’s chances next weekend.
Hixson’s Lewis and Greenback’s Malone were voted as the Outstanding Wrestlers while Hall was voted by his peers as the Coach of the Year.
While Hixson had eight champions, those four who finished second included Rylie Hart at 126, Nick McKee at 160, Jake Ivey at 170 and Benjamin Kuberg at 195.
Bruce Wilson and Parrish Pacetti both finished third at 145 and 220, respectively.
The Wildcats finished second in last year’s state tournament behind Pigeon Forge.
While Hixson was totally dominating Region 2, the Signal Mountain followed up their runner-up spot in last weekend’s State Duals by winning the Region 3-A/AA meet at Sequatchie County High School in Dunlap.
The Eagles finished with 168.5 points to edge Forrest, who was next with 160. Whitwell was third with 149.5.
Signal Mountain’s only two champions were Daniel Uhorchuk at 106 and Isaac Tate at 113. However, the Eagles will take seven others to Franklin as they had three seconds, two thirds and two fourths.
The top-ranked Cleveland Blue Raiders, fresh off last week’s state duals title, won the Region 4-AAA title at McMinn County High School on Saturday.
Cleveland was first with 224.5 points while Soddy Daisy was second with 175.5 and defending state champ Bradley third with 171.
By far the closest meet involving Chattanooga teams took place at Baylor where the Red Raiders knocked off McCallie by a scant 7.5 points.
The Red Raiders were first with 226.5 while the Blue Tornado was second with 219. Montgomery Bell Academy was a distant third with 111.
The Chattanooga Christian Chargers, who won the Division II Invitational last weekend over three other teams, was seventh with 47 points.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)