published Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Bears trounce Trojans

Baylor and Central help give the Chattanooga area a sweep of the state wrestling duals titles.

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    Ravenwood's Grant Jones, bottom, wrestles with Bradley Central's Brad Colbaught during the State Dual Wrestling Championships at Williamson County Ag Expo Center in Franklin, Tenn., Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011. (JAE S. LEE / THE TENNESSEAN)

FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- The Class AAA state duals wrestling championship was a reversal of fortunes.

For 16 days -- since his Bears lost a 70-match duals win streak and a 17-year home streak against Soddy-Daisy -- Bradley Central coach Steve Logsdon had worn on his wrestling team. He rubbed it in.

The Bears responded with a vengeance against the Trojans late Saturday, winning with an exclamation point -- 44-15 -- for their fourth straight state duals title.

The Chattanooga area wound up with another tournament sweep. Baylor took the Division II championship by edging Christian Brothers 27-25, and Central captured the A/AA crown by beating Pigeon Forge 30-26.

Soddy-Daisy coach Steve Henry's pre-finals response to the "Who's going to win?" query was that it could be a toss-up.

"It's going to be who wants it most," he said.

Bradley changed several outcomes from the regular-season meeting, including a pin from heavyweight Patrick Benson, a loss by regular decision rather than a pin at 171 (A.J. Shelton) and 189 (Devin McCulley) and a win rather than a loss at 103 (Dakota Brumley).

As one jubilant Bradley fan said, "That's a mouth-shutter right there."

Henry agreed.

"We didn't have them prepared to go, but preparation can only take you so far," he said. "They wanted it a whole lot more than we did. They came ready to wrestle, and we did not. We have gone toe-to-toe with everybody we've wrestled this year. They knocked a chink in our armor early, and we caved in. They took us out back and put it on us."

He said Bradley came through when it counted.

"People have wanted to talk about that match a couple of weeks ago, but this is where it counts. Not there," Henry said. "I hate it that in their last dual meet of the year our guys wrestled like this. Sure, Bradley was part of that, but we didn't wrestle like we're capable and like we have most of the year."

At one point Logsdon gathered his final five competitors: a top-ranked wrestler, two former state champions, an ex-runner-up and a previous sixth-place medalist.

"That's my murderer's row, and with them still waiting to wrestle we had to win just one of those five matches," he said. "I began to feel real good about our chances. We had so many kids come up with so many big wins."

Central got the school's first state title since 1990 by beating Pigeon Forge and surprising many in the state wrestling community.

"I told the guys you might wind up as a bum in a ditch in years to come, but nobody can ever take this from you," Purple Pounders coach Steve Price said. "I told our guys that Pigeon Forge had five studs and how I thought we needed to wrestle them. And then I reminded them that we don't have any superstars, but people who wrestle us can expect a scrap in every weight class."

Baylor and Christian Brothers slugged it out and swapped the lead a half-dozen times.

The Red Raiders' victory solution was simple, said first-year head coach Ben Nelson.

"Team effort," he explained. "The guys who couldn't afford to give up bonus points didn't, and the guys we expected to get bonus points did."

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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