published Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Bradley Central Bears intend to command attention

Tennessee state wrestling schedule

Today

1 p.m. -- Gates open

2 -- Weigh-ins

4 -- Division I Round of 32, Round of 16, two consolation rounds

Friday

8 a.m. -- Gates open

9 -- Weigh-ins Divisions I & 2

10 -- Division I quarterfinals; Division II round of 16 & quarterfinals

7 p.m. -- Championship semifinals (Divisions I & II) and consolations

Saturday

8 a.m. -- Gates open

9 -- Weigh-ins

11 -- Donsolation semifinals and consolation finals (Division I & II)

6 p.m. -- Championship finals (Division I and II)

Admission: $10 per person per day; parking is $5.

Division I 2012 medalists in the field

106 -- Devan Cyree (Tullahoma/4th at 106)

113 -- Chris Debien (Cleveland/1st at 106)

120 -- Jacob Stevens (Soddy-Daisy/1st at 120); Austin Stevison (Cleveland/1st at 113); Byron Smith (Cordova/3rd at 113)

126 -- Austin Oliver (Cleveland/3rd at 120); Packy Mullin (Notre Dame/6th at 120); Glen Shoemake (Cookeville/6th at 126); Joseph Dodgen (Pigeon Forge/4th at 126); Dakota Ream (Bradley Central/5th at 113)

132 -- Hayden Hamilton (Cleveland/4th at 132); Sidney Blackwood (Germantown/4th at 113); Dylan Treloar (Hendersonville/4th at 120)

138 -- Caleb Langford (Walker Valley/5th at 132); Austin Richard (Wilson Central/6th at 132)

145 -- Gage Richmond (Soddy-Daisy/3rd at 138); Joel Simpins (Cleveland/5th at 119); Jacob Freeman (Ravenwood/3rd at 132)

152 -- Larry Dickerson (Central/6th at 152)

160 -- Aaron Lopez (Cleveland/1st at 140); Blake Solomon (Eagleville/6th at 160); Andres Leyva (Gibbs/6th at 145)

170 -- Connor Rohrbaugh (Halls/5th at 170); Chad Solomon (Maryville/5th at 160)

182 -- Ethan West (Cleveland/1st at 182 in Georgia Class A); Blaike Henry (Soddy-Daisy/2nd at 170); Steven Wilson (Fulton/5th at 182)

195 -- Scottie Boykin (Riverdale/2nd at 195); Trevor Shropshire (Daniel Boone/4th at 195)

220 -- T.J. Satterfield (William Blount/2nd at 220); John Kramer (Wilson Central/6th at 220)

285 -- Bruno Reagan (Clarksville/4th at 285); Taylor Podany (Beech/5th at 285)

The forgotten children, anything but members of a lost cause, will be in Franklin this weekend, eager to leave their stamp again on the Tennessee high school state wrestling tournament.

Bradley Central, just two years beyond same-season dual and traditional state championships, was left at home for this year's state duals and for the first time finished behind both Cleveland and Walker Valley in the traditional region tournament.

No headlines, very little notoriety beyond 106-pound Toribio Navarro, but the Bears didn't fall off a cliff. They might have slipped and had to grab a branch, but they're still hanging on.

"Forgotten child? Yeah, I think a lot of people look at us that way," Bears coach Ben Smith said. "Until this weekend. I think we're going to have a good tournament and people are going to remember who we are. At least I hope so."

The Division I portion of the tournament begins this afternoon at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo and will continue till late tonight as it covers the rounds of 32 and 16. The Division II tournament begins Friday. Championship finals in each are scheduled for late Saturday afternoon.

There was a time when any Tennessee high school athlete who laced up wrestling shoes recognized that black singlet with the golden-colored bear's paw on the back. Bradley's Bears had a stranglehold on almost any worthwhile Tennessee wrestling trophy for more than two decades.

In their trophy case are 12 state duals championship trophies, another 10 traditional title plaques and a large collection of regional and invitational awards.

A year ago, Bradley Central struggled to finish 13-8. This season the Bears improved with a 19-5 dual record, their only losses coming to teams ranked ahead of them in the state coaches' poll.

"When you're taking over for a guy (Steve Logsdon) that won 20 state championships and you're not beating Cleveland and then you finish behind Walker Valley in the region, how would you feel?" said Turner Jackson, the Bears' athletic director and the coach who laid the groundwork for a dynasty.

"I told Ben he's doing everything he needs to be doing. I was here in 1979, and his team now would look really good compared to that one," Jackson continued. "I know what it's like to be behind and what it's like to second-guess yourself. When you're used to having two or three or four state champions in the room and they're not there, what is there to say?

"When you're on top and things are going good, then everything is nice and easy. It hasn't been nice and easy the last couple of years."

Smith was part of many of those championship showings with Logsdon, and it has pained him to see the Bears' drop-off under his watch. Those in the know saw it coming and knew there were bumps in the road to overcome in Bradley's youth and feeder school programs.

"We're still working just as hard and trying our best, but it has been a quick fall from the top," Smith said. "It bugs me how quickly people have forgotten, but we are still Bradley. When you have worked with guys like Turner, Steve Logsdon and Chad Laxton, well, it's an elite group that I'm a part of. I want to continue and improve the Bradley culture and make Bradley athletics proud.

"We're not going anywhere, and we're going to Franklin with our teeth gritted. We're going to be noticed whether people want to acknowledge us or not. We just have to do what we're capable of doing."

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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