Cleveland On Track To Win Another State Wrestling Title

Lady Raiders Hold Solid Lead In Girls' Competition

  • Saturday, February 24, 2024
  • Richard Roberts

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — After a full day of state tournament wrestling the Cleveland Blue Raiders appear on track to capture yet another state championship.

At the conclusion of Friday's action, the scoreboard showed 166.5 points for Cleveland, 42.5 points in front of Summit — coached by former Blue Raider wrestler Pete Miller — with 124.

The Walker Valley Mustangs finished the day in 13th place with 23 points and Bradley Central will head into the final day of the championships 16th place with 16 points.

On the girls' side, the Lady Raiders hold a solid 102-85 point lead over second place West Creek.

After bringing 13 wrestlers to the tournament, the Raiders stumbled a bit early and will send six to Saturday's championship finals.

Jose Cordero (106) pounds, Zac Bosken (126), Cy Fowler (157), Logan Fowler (165), Lucas Szymborski (190) and Tyson Russel (285) will all be looking to being home gold for Cleveland.

Russel earned the right to challenge for the top spot in the state winning a head-to-head-battle with Walker Valley's Jeremiah Townsend.

“I thought we wrestled pretty well. It started off a little rough this morning. It kind of felt like we found our stride as the tournament went on. Some of that was the weight cut and stuff like that,” said Blue Raiders head coach Joey Knox. “We were a little flat footed on our first round, but we started wrestling better, and better and better. As momentum kept going things got better.”

The Lady Raiders will be represented in the championship finals by Senna Grassman (114) and two-time state champion Piper Fowler (165).

“Emotional,” said Lady Raiders head coach Josh Bosken at the end of a very long day of wrestling. “ We had three seniors (Makya Parker (107), Bella Harris (152), Diamond Young (185) who came into the tournament wanting to win a state title, but lost early. But, we're gonna go back to the hotel and get our weight off and they are going to come back and fight for their team tomorrow and win us another team state championship. As long as we do what we're supposed to do on the back side we'll be fine. But, we've got to get over some heartbreaking losses and fight for the team now.”

Bradley Central, for the first time in what seems like forever, will have no Bears in the state finals, but will return to the mat Saturday looking to move up in the final standings

We had an OK day overall. All the guys and girls we brought are still in the tournament for Saturday,” said first-year head coach Bryant Blackmon. “I thought we were good in spots and flat in others, but the kids battled to stay in the tournament. I’m proud of the fact they are still fighting. Nataleigh Shane battled a tough quarters match and then had a solid win in the semis to make her a two-time state finalist as a sophomore. Tomorrow is a big day for us. The early rounds are where we can make a run at some state medals.

The Walker Valley Mustangs will also be looking to improve in the final standings with three wrestlers looking to win medals.

“It was a solid effort for our one girl and all our boys. We had a couple of tough losses, especially Christian Wilson our only senior. Everybody else are juniors. But, he responded and got a win in consolation. We're hoping he can end his career on a good note,” said Mustangs assistant coach Andy Morris

“It's a big day tomorrow. It's a little bit different format compared to last year with it being a two day tournament. The guys in the consolations have to get up in the morning and be ready to get after it. It was a very impressive showing by Troy Dyszkiewicz and Jeremiah Townsend getting to the semis. To be juniors and get to to that point serves them well for next year. But, the message for anyone wrestling in consolations tomorrow is show up and finish the job.”

With six Blue Raiders still in the hunt for gold, Cleveland will be looking to lock down its seventh straight state championship.

“It's the finals, there are always going to be some tough matches in there. But, most of the guys we've seen,' said Knox. “I like our chances in most of those matches, but there's still gonna be some tough ones in there.”
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