Rene Weller

It’s that time of year – the 47th year – for the three-day marathon known as Tennessee’s annual high school state wrestling tournament.

A sweetheart of a sporting event for Chattanooga, this year’s prep version of organized hand-to-hand combat starts today - Valentine’s Day - and concludes with a whirlwind finish Friday afternoon (first whistle at 4 p.m.), crowning 28 individual champs and two team winners in two divisions.

A few mothers will receive a great Valentine’s Day gift night when their sons record upsets in the round of 32 or 16 and advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals.

“Ladies and gentlemen welcome to McKenzie Arena and the 2007 TSSAA state wrestling tournament … It’s 4 o’clock and it’s time to wrestle”: - With those familiar words this afternoon from public address announcer Vickie Meredith – and you can set your watch by her words, actually the time on her watch is the only one which counts – 16, 103-pounders will walk to center circle on eight mats – (“the best part of a basketball floor are wrestling mats from door to door’’) and on the referee’s whistle, the 47th state tournament will begin.

For Division I, two rounds (rounds of 32 & 16) will be held today, followed by Thursday’s quarterfinals (10 a.m.), first round of consolations and then semifinals and consolation second round at 6 p.m.

For Division II, the round of 16 is Thursday (noon), followed by quarterfinals and semifinals (6 p.m.) and consolations.

Friday: Consolations in both divisions begin at 9 a.m. with parade of champions and finals starting at 4 p.m.

Web Site: Follow the tournament at www.tssaa.org.

46 Years Ago: Changes from 1961 to 2007 … 2 mats to 8 … 12 weights to 14 … 8 schools to 100+ … 4 officials to 22 … place medals from four to six … championship finals, 7:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. … Scoring … regular decision and pin to decision, major decision, tech. fall and pin …

Early Start: 2007 is the first year in which the tournament has started on a Wednesday.

Valentine’s Day I: Father Ryan coach Pat Simpson became engaged after the Friday semis in 1997.

Valentine’s Day II: Last time tourney started on Feb. 14 was 2002 … also first year in McKenzie Arena … First time the state touney started on Feb. 14 was 1969 at Brainerd HS.

10th Year of Two Divisions: The first tournament with two team titles was 1998 with Bradley Central winning Division I (the school’s first) at UTC’s Maclellan Gym, while Father Ryan claiming Division II laurels (the school’s seventh) at Father Ryan in Nashville. Both tournaments came under one roof - McKenzie Arena – in 2002.

Pre-Tournament Favorite: (Division II preview on Thursday) Ten times in the first 47 years a school has won consecutive titles and defending traditional champ Soddy Daisy is the slight favorite against Bradley Central to become No. 11.

The senior-laden blue and gold clad Trojans won five in-season tournaments as well as their fourth state duals title 11 days ago in Clarksville. Coach Steve Henry’s team depth – 13 state qualifiers, experience – eight seniors among the 14, and state tournament savy – seven returning medallists.

The Trojans strongest test will come from longtime rival and 2005 traditional champion Bradley Central. The Bears of Steve Logsdon – eight-time traditional tourney winner - have 11 state qualifiers and five returning medallists in this week’s tourney, including a pair of defending state champs in Hunter Randolph (now at 112) and Travis Creagan (160). The Bears have top seeds in Tanner Withrow (135), Justin Spain (152) and Creagan.

Wendell Weathers’ Ooltewah Owls look to make plenty of noise with a top five or higher finish a real possibility and are led by Jake Young (171) and Cody Sliger (285).

Franklin, third a year ago, has enough depth for a top five finish led by two-time defending champ Kelly Felix (145) and a trio of other returning medallists in Dustin Ortiz (125), Ryan Konz (135) and Ben Heacock (152).

Three-Timers ??: Jay Adamson (119, Notre Dame), Kelly Felix (145, Franklin), Travis Creagan (160, Bradley Central) and Courtney Coffey (215, Centennial-won it twice at Ppe John Paul II in D-II) look for their third titles.

Only 15 Division I wrestlers in the past 47 years have won at least three titles. The first was Red Bank’s Jack Baker (63-64-65) and the most recent is Red Bank’s Darren McKnight (1999-00-01).

Returning Champions: Joining Adamson, Coffey, Creagan and Felix as returning champs are Hunter Randolph (112, Bradley Central), Brandon Wright (160, Houston), Tyler Roberson (189, Soddy-Daisy) and Frankie Morgan (215, Union County). Kent Johnson (Collieville) won the state at 103 in 2005.

By The Numbers:

21 – coaches who have won at least one traditional Division I championship … (five of those – Ralph Gabriel, Steve Henry, Jeff Jordan, Steve Logsdon, Al Miller - are coaching in this year’s Division I tournament …Gordon Connell, Pat Simpson and Schaack Van Deusen are coaching in the Division II tourney) …

14 – schools which have won at least one traditional tourney …

2 – teams competing in this year’s Division I tournament – Red Bank and Notre Dame – also competed in the 8-team field in the first state championship in March 1961 at Red Bank High School. McCallie and Baylor, which also competed in 1961, are in Division II.

46 Years of Greatness

5 Years Ago: 2002 – TSSAA put both Division I and Division II tournaments under one roof - at McKenzie Arena - for the first time … A maximum eight mats were necessary to handle 24 weight classes and simultaneous championship finals were held on two mats … Baylor won Division II, while Bradley Central captured Division I … Members of Baylor’s first state championship team from 1962 were honored before the finals …

Prior to 2002, the Division II finals were held at Father Ryan from 1998-2001 and Division I had a run of 17 years - 1985-2001 - across the street at Maclellan Gym.

10 Years Ago: 1997 – Coach Ralph Gabriel’s Overton Bobcats capped a perfect season and won the last unified tournament with champions Casey Brewster (103) and twin brothers Derrick Jordan (145) and Eric Jordan (152) … The Bobcats (173 pts.) had 14 state qualifiers and a tournament-high seven medallists … Cross-town rival Father Ryan was second (166 pts.) with 12 state qualifiers and two champs (Matt Mondelli and Nick Garmon) among its six medallists … Overton clinched the title at 152 as Eric Jordan defeated Ryan’s Joey Gootee, 5-3 … Overton was fifth after day one in 1996 and 1997 and rallied to win both years … Outstanding Wrestler – Bradley Central 112-pounder Josh West (38-0) …

First Female: Warren County senior and school Homecoming Queen Andi Jones made tournament history in 1997 as she competed in the 103-pound class as the first girl to wrestle in the state tournament … She lost to a couple of future state champs in Shawn Weller (Baylor) and Matt McCarty (Clarksville) … She qualified for the state with a fourth place region finish.

103 Weight Class Legends – In 1997, five of the 32 wrestlers at 103 would win at least one state championship each before graduating … Future state champions were Casey Brewster, Erik Floyd, Matt McCarty, Phillip Simpson (an 8th grader) and Shawn Weller …all were in the bottom half of the draw, along with Jones … Fastest Pin: MBA’s David Sanders set a state record for the fastest pin when he stopped Jason Maze of old Chattanooga City High School in 11 seconds in a round of 32 match at 112 … The previous best was 13 seconds by Joshua Harris (Rhea County) who pinned Martels Carter (Chattanooga Howard).

20 Years Ago: 1987 – Father Ryan coach Pat Simpson won his first state title and the school’s fifth … the first champion outside of Chattanooga in a decade … The team’s 97 points is the last time a champion has scored less than 100 ... Runner-up Baylor with 93 points had three champions in Andy Alisago, Steve Sandlin, Jamey Stubblefield … Last time the first weight was 98 pounds … Changed to 103 in 1998 … In the two day event, wrestlers had a maximum of four matches - round of 32, 16 quarters and semis - on the first day …

OW – Michael Murray (155, Whites Creek).

30 Years Ago: 1977 – Coach Bob Garmon led Father Ryan to its second title in three years with champions John Crowley (126), Chris Wilson (155) and Kevin Thoni (167) …

Held at Maclellan Gym for the second time in three years with Dr.LeRoy Fanning as director, the Irish won with 71 points ... Current Knox. Halls coach Chris Vandergriff won his second of two heavyweight titles at the East Tennessee school … Ooltewah started varsity wrestling under coach Felix Inglis … OW – Tony Kennedy (North Stratford) …

40 Years Ago: 1967 – East Ridge won its second straight title and the first for coach Ed Woodham … The Pioneers (68 pts.) had only six qualifiers, but three champions in Kenny Whitworth (98), Lynn Goss (106) and Lonnie Clark (115) to outdistance runner-up Red Bank with 64 points and eight qualifiers … Father Ryan had 10 state qualifiers and was fourth ... All but one of the individual state champions - Yogi Walsh (Father Ryan) – were from Chattanooga schools … Walsh is Ryan’s first state champion ever …

East Ridge, which finished second in Region 2 to Red Bank, had the above mentioned three champions, a runner-up and third place finisher among its half-dozen entrants … Whitworth became the school’s first three-time winner … He was the state’s first repeat tourney OW (1965-’66) … He also won two region OW awards … OW - Ernie Rose (189, Kirkman) – he also won his third state title …

Division I, Weight by Weight Capsules:

103 – Top Half: No. 1 seed Talan Noman (Sr., Overton) … 2x medallist at 103 … became a U.S. citizen two weeks ago … refugee from Iraq … family lived in tents until they escaped … cousin of Overton’s Rijar Emin (145) and 2003 Overton state champion Ari Ibrahim at 112 … Jeremy Miller (8th, Greenback) vs. Noman in quarters in re-match of Father Ryan finals … Matt King (So., Greeneville) and Kelby McAlister (Fr., Bradley Central) should meet in quarters on Thursday …

Bottom Half: No. 2 seed is Jason Kilby (Sr., Cumberland County) … 4x state qualifier at 103 and 6th in 2005 … Justin Hammons (So., Soddy Daisy) is Kilby’s toughest obstacle to Friday at 4 p.m. finals …

112 – Top Half: No. 1 seed Josh Jadoobirsingh (Jr., Cleveland) is odds on favorite to win …2nd at 112 in 2006 to Demetrius Johnson now at 119 … Ooltewah’s Chris Bradbury has a shot to meet J.J. in the semis …

Bottom Half: No. 2 Tee Boone (So., Notre Dame) and No. 3 Hunter Randolph (Sr., Bradley Central) should battle it out in the semis … a key match for Bradley in team point total … Randolph won state at 103 in 2006, while Boone was third at same weight …

119 – Top Half: No.1 seed Jay Adamson (Sr., Notre Dame) is defending champ at this weight ... goes for his fourth final and third title … state champion at 103 (D-II) in 2004 with win against Baylor’s Ben Johnson … lost to Johnson in 2005 in 112 final … first wrestler to win a title in both D-I and D-II …

Bottom Half: No.2 seed Demetrius Johnson (Sr., Brighton) is 3x Region champ and state champ at 112 in 2006 … headed to UTC … Brighton and Munford are a co-op team … Johnson choice to win it all, but must sidestep a solid Logan Biddy (So., Bradley Central) in the quarters and possibly Wes Brett (Sr., Soddy Daisy) in the semis …

125 – wide open weight, top to bottom … Top Half: three-four guys have legit shot at finals … No.1 seed is Caleb Myers (Sr., Greenville) is 55-2 … Region 1 lower weights OW …lost to Alabama wrestler and Demetrius Johnson (Brighton) at McCallie invite in December … To reach semis, Myers has big hurdles in David Graham (So., Bradley Central) in the quarters and possibly Cody Hood (So., Ooltewah) in semis … Other returning medallists in top half are Jason Casteel (Sr., Oakland) and Sean Ford (Jr., Ravenwood) … Possible round of 16 showdown tonight – Ford vs. Hood …

Bottom Half: No.2 Dustin Ortiz (Jr. Franklin) was 5th at 119 in 2006 … Rene Karteron

(Sr., Tullahoma) could give Ortiz a battle in the quarters …

130 – Top Half: No.1 Kent Johnson (Sr., Collierville) was 103 champ in 2005 …Has jumped four weights in two years … did not medal in 2006 … Matt Drish (Sr., Science Hill could meet Myers in quarters, but Chattanooga’s Joel Clayton is a battler in that quarter … Soddy junior Mikey Fuller looks for his first medal and is expected to reach the semis …

Bottom Half: No.2 Tanner Johnson (Bradley Central) … One of the best first round matches – Blake Ridenour (Sr., Maryville)-Zach Nicholson (Sr., Ooltewah) … Ridenour beat Johnson earlier in the season ... Johnson must get by a very athletic Amos Jones (So., Cordova) in the round of 16 … when smoke clears in bottom quarter, Ty Zarbo (Jr., Franklin) should be waiting in the semis ...

As in musical chairs, only six medals and at least seven with legit shot to place - both Johnsons, Drish, Fuller, Nicholson, Ridenour and Zarbo.

135 – Top Half: No.1 Tanner Withrow (Bradley Central) … has medaled at Walker Valley and Bradley …Withrow should advance to finals …

Bottom Half: No.2 Ryan Konz (Jr., Franklin) … state runner-up at 112 as a freshman … jumps four weights in 2006 and placed third … excellent daily workout partner in two-time champ Kelly Felix (145) … Soddy senior and No.3 seed Ulric Winesburgh has tough draw to catch Konz in semis … Matt Craig of Cordova was region OW … won the region from the fifth seed ...

140 – Top Half: No.1 seed Jason McCroskey (Sr., Soddy Daisy) is odds on favorite to win … two-time medallist …

Bottom Half: tough battle with No.2 Robert Boebert (Jr., Kenwood), No. 3 Nick Shields (Jr., Maryville) and unseeded region 3 champ Dean Pavlou (Jr., Bradley Central), Notre Dame medalist Ryan Burdette and region champ Chris Reynolds (Sr. Cordova) … Pavlou will upset a few folks along the way to a medal … and Reynolds is solid.

145 – Top Half: No.1 Kelly Felix is odds on favorite to win third straight … and second title at this weight … state runner-up as freshman at 125 in 2004 … verbal commitment to UTC …

Bottom Half: no returning medallists, thus no seeds in this half … Look for a top round of 16 match tonight with Bradley’s Josh Disney and Ooltewah’s Tim Stephens … winner could meet Overton’s Rijar Emin in quarters … Emin has lost only to a trio of No.1 seeds in McCroskey (Soddy) and Felix (Franklin) in D-I and Josh Baucke (Sr., Christian Brothers) in D-II … Emin is cousin and teammate of 103-pounder Talan Noman … both are Iraq refugees and fled to America … also a cousin of 2003 Overton state champion Ari Ibrahim (112) … Richey Ward of Ravenwood is solid in top quarter …

152 – Top Half: No.1 seed Justin Spain (Sr., Bradley Central) … two-time state runner-up at 152 … four-time region champ at same weight … will wrestle at Princeton … is second to teammate Travis Creagan in career wins at 161 … Kyle Jones (Sr., Springfield) is very physical … Ben Heacock (Jr., Franklin) is down a weight after placing 6th at 160 in 2006 … Joel Brimer (Jr., Greeneville) is coached by his dad, Bill Brimer … Bill was a state qualifier from Jefferson County in 1976 as a 191-pounder in what was then the unlimited division (heavyweight) … only Jeff. County wrestler to make the state that year …

Bottom Half: No.2 Morgan Abrigo (Sr., Forrest) was runner-up at 140 in 2006 … tough quarter match with Justin Scott (Sr., Hillwood) … No.3 Jarriett Toney (Sr., Soddy Daisy) should reach the semis …

160 – Top Half: No.1 Travis Creagan (Sr., Bradley Central) will wrestle at Columbia next year … going for his third title … third at 125 as a freshman … Bradley all-time win leader with 165 … A Soddy Daisy-Bradley match-up in round of 16 with Creagan the choice vs. Stephen Strain …

Bottom Half: No.2 Brandon Wright (Sr., Houston) won the state at 152 in 2005 vs. Spain … edged Creagan at Bradley tourney in mid-December …Wright, 39-1 this season; 14-26 for a career … lost to Brendan Prince (Grissom H.S., Ala.) … is considering UTC … Red Bank’s Danny Tolbert should reach the semis … Creagan-Wright should be a marquee final …

171 – Top Half: No.1 Brad Robbins (Sr., Jefferson County) … upper weights OW in Region 1 … one of toughest early draws for a top seed ... should meet Ooltewah sophomore Jake Young (45-1) in a headliner match in tonight’s round of 16 ... Young lost to Bradley’s Creagan in 2006 semis as a freshman and placed third …

Bottom Half: Strong half with No.2 Monterrace Reams (Jr., Glencliff), No.3 Brendan Gipson (Sr., Cordova) and unseeded region 4 champ Patrick Flynn (Jr., Notre Dame) …

Flynn split matches with Young, winning in region 4 final … last time two unseeded guys reach the finals? … Young and Flynn in a winner-take-all is a possibility …

189 – Top Half: No. 1 Tyler Roberson (Sr., Soddy Daisy) won the state at 171 in 2006 and a two-time medallist and four-time region champion … the favorite to win at 215 this year … only loss was in Florida tournament …

Bottom Half: No.2 Landon Hall (Sr., Maryville) … region champ and was second at 160 to Bradley’s Creagan … No.3 Chris Wolfe (Jr., Ravenwood) was 5th at 189 in 2006 … Spencer Jennings (Sr., Greeneville) is Region 1 champ ... knocked off 2006 region champ Ben Davis (Dobyns-Bennett) in tourney final …

215 – Top Half: No.1 Courtney Coffey (Sr., Centennial) won state the past two years at 215 for Pope John Paul II … placed fourth at this weight as a freshman … has a chance to win the state in both divisions … joins Kilby (103, Cumberland County) and Spain (152, Bradley) with four years in the state at same weight … Cookeville’s Aaron Birman could stop Coffey in the quarters … is school’s first, 2x region champion …

Bottom Half: No.2 Frankie Morgan (Sr., Union Co.) won state at 189 in 2006 and two-time medallist … No.3 Matt Lettner (Sr., Soddy-Daisy) is undefeated and was second at this weight in 2006 …

285 – this weight is deep throughout … Top Half: No.1 Ben Murray (Sr., Science Hill) was third at this weight in 2006 … meets Soddy’s Bill Zimmerman in tonight’s round of 16 … Robert Mycyk (Jr. Kenwood) waits for winner in the semis …

Bottom Half: No.2 G.L. Waynick (Jr., F.C.) and No.3 Cody Sliger (Jr., Ooltewah) are seeded t reach semis … top round of 32 match-up is Jeremy Jones (So., Brighton) vs. Enoch Hill (Sr., Clarksville) …Jones bench presses 385 … possible Sliger-Murray final.

Contact B.B. Branton: bbbranton@peoplepc.com

The State's Youngest Wrestling Champion

Source : https://www.chattanoogan.com/2007/2/14/101693/State-Wrestling-Tournament-Starts-Today.aspx

3077
UK’s speedy coronavirus vaccine approval sparks hope (and questions)

Source:POLITICO

UK’s speedy coronavirus vaccine approval sparks hope (and questions)