published Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Baylor, McCallie in third, fourth

FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Baylor went from first after two rounds to third after Friday's championship semifinals in the TSSAA Division II wrestling tournament.

Father Ryan had 220.5 points, Christian Brothers 181 and Baylor 180.5 with McCallie breathing heavily on the Red Raiders' necks at 178.5.

Baylor put five in this evening's championship finals at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo, but McCallie got six finalists.

"We're behind going in -- there were a couple of semifinals that were close, but we didn't come out on top -- but we'll have a great round of wrestle-backs," Baylor coach Ben Nelson said.

The Red Raiders are on the verge of seeing an eight-year string of state titles -- either dual or traditional or both -- broken.

"Nobody's given up on them and they haven't given up on themselves or stopped fighting, and we have five in the finals," Nelson said.

His five finalists were Zach Watson (126 pounds), who'll be gunning for his fifth state title with Christian Brothers' Tait Robinson as his opponent; Brandon Brunner (132); Bryson Popp (145); Matthew Cate (152); and Matt Bodine (182).

Robinson gave Watson a scare in the state duals, hitting him with a five-point first-period move before Watson rallied strongly in the final two periods for the victory.

"It's going to be a fun match to watch," Nelson said. "Zach is wrestling great right now, very focused. He has been a match-by-match wrestler, and he has plenty of time to focus on his finals opponent."

McCallie's finalists are Alex Elsea (113), Adam Connell (120), Tim Westbrooks (132), Alex Ward (138), Eliot Berz (160) and Tye Youngblood (285).

The championship finals begin at 6 p.m. EST.

Contact Ward Gossett at or 423-886-4765.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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