published Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Wave win duals title

Soddy-Daisy's Billy Swanson controls Christian Brother's Phillip Nichols in the 220-pound class.  Swanson pinned Nichols in the finals of the Cleveland Duals held at Cleveland High School.
Soddy-Daisy's Billy Swanson controls Christian Brother's Phillip Nichols in the 220-pound class. Swanson pinned Nichols in the finals of the Cleveland Duals held at Cleveland High School.
Photo by Robin Rudd.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Christian Brothers had to go through four opponents to get a second shot, but the Purple Wave did it and managed to turn the tables on Soddy-Daisy to win the Cleveland Duals wrestling championship Saturday.

In Friday's battle of the state's top-ranked teams, No. 1 Soddy-Daisy was the victor. Saturday with a trophy on the line, No. 2 Christian Brothers pulled out a 31-27 win.

Purple Wave coach Chris Lewis is among coaches who vote in the state's prep wrestling poll, and he had mixed emotions on whom he would vote No. 1.

"I don't know," he said. "I think on any given day when we wrestle it could be a different outcome. They had a huge semifinal match against [Marietta] Pope, but then we had Cleveland in our semifinal. If we wrestled tomorrow it could be a completely different outcome."

The major differences came at 145 pounds when the Wave's Kaleb Baker provided a nine-point swing by reversing a Friday loss by decision to Turbo Smith with a pin and at 170 pounds where Barrett Walthall avenged a loss by decision to Blaike Henry.

"We thought about bumping Turbo to 152, and we probably should have, but I just felt that match needed to be wrestled," Soddy-Daisy coach Steve Henry said. "Sometimes it's time to put on your big boy pants and be a big boy. I told the kids [after the meet] that it's time to grow up and be men."

In the semifinals, Soddy-Daisy edged Pope 30-29 while Christian Brothers bested Cleveland 38-19. Baylor finished 3-1 while McCallie went winless.

The loss to Christian Brothers couldn't have frustrated Henry any more than the victory the night before.

"The thing about it is that we have good kids and they do a good job, but we have to get tougher mentally and physically," he said. "We have some people in the lineup we ought to be able to count on, and we're not getting the consistent performances they ought to be giving."

His biggest disappointment was in the lack of dedicated effort, he indicated.

He told the team at tournament's end, "We're better than 99 percent of the teams in Tennessee, but don't we want to be the best?"

Georgia's Collins Hill, a multiyear defending champion, opted to go to Ohio, but Cleveland coach and tournament director Eric Phillips wasn't sure that team was missed.

"Christian Brothers is a great team along with Soddy-Daisy, Pope and Father Ryan, and Cleveland's pretty good," Phillips said. "There were good, solid teams here. Collins Hill is always welcome back, but this tournament didn't miss a beat."

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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