FRANKLIN, Tenn. – As far as comebacks are concerned, the Hixson Wildcats had more success on Saturday than the Signal Mountain Eagles.
Both were competing in the consolation round of the TSSAA State Duals wrestling tournament’s Class A-AA division here at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Center.
Hixson, which finished fourth a year ago, won two matches on Saturday to claim third, the last one being a 40-32 victory over a really good Nolensville team. The Wildcats advanced to that round with a 39-35 victory over Greeneville.
Meanwhile, Signal Mountain was unable to overcome the disappointment from a tough loss to Nolensville in Friday’s opening round and fell to Greeneville by a 41-33 final in Saturday’s first match.
“That’s what I’m talking about,” blurted Hixson coach Garrick Hall while addressing his team following their third-place finish.
“Today we showed class, teamwork, effort and focus on family, but we won that match as a team. Even for the ones who lost, they had teammates who picked them up.
“Our season is not over. We lived to fight another day, but we have to go back to work on Monday to get ready for the next two weekends. The good news is that we finished today and they’re buying in to what we’re trying to teach.
“I thought we did a great job of shaving points in key areas, but Nolensville is a really good team. Finishing third isn’t great, but it sure beats the heck out of finishing fourth or lower,” Hall added.
Hixson got five pins in that last win over the Knights, including four in the first minute. None were any more impressive or quicker than 285-pound Devotis McCurdy, who won his last match in just 11 seconds after prevailing against Greeneville in just six ticks.
Other winners by pin for Hixson in that last match included Parrish Pacetti at 220, Conner Leffew at 113, Trevor Lewis at 126 and Kobie Smith at 160.
McCurdy, Leffew, Lewis and Silas Minton had pins in the win over Greeneville.
Signal Mountain had the lead three times against Greeneville, the last at 24-23 following Daniel Uhorchuk’s pin at 120, but Greeneville bounced back to win four of the next five matches and clinched the win with Kodiak Cannedy’s pin in the next-to-last match at 152 pounds, giving the Greene Devils an insurmountable 41-27 lead.
Signal’s Kevin Muschel received a forfeit in the final match for the final eight-point margin of victory.
Signal Mountain coach Joe Jellison just tried to be upbeat following Saturday’s loss, but you could tell that he was hurting for his team.
“It was hard to rebound from last night’s match and not having our heavyweight really hurt. We were counting on him for a pin, so that was at least a 12-point swing. The battle at 113 was a swing match too where we just got caught in a tough spot.
“Our effort was good, but we just need to go back to the room on Monday and regroup. The odds were certainly against us today, but the whole match changes when you’re missing one of your better wrestlers. Some times, life lessons are tough and I guess this is one of them,” he concluded.
Signal Mountain had four wins by pin, including Preston Worley at 182, Pearson Lindsay at 195, Caleb Uhorchuk at 106 and older brother Daniel at 120.
Hixson’s dual-meet record is now 30-3 while Signal Mountain is 17-5.
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)