published Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Baylor, Cleveland, Duncan take titles

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    Staff Photo by Robin Rudd/Chattanooga Times Free Press Baylor's Cole Holloway wrestles McCallie's Adam Connell at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Arena in Franklin.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Baylor had a banner weekend to win Tennessee's Division II state wrestling championship, but the Red Raiders shared the limelight with rival McCallie's T.J. Duncan becoming the state's first five-time champion and the Division I team title dogfight among defending champion Bradley Central, Soddy-Daisy and Cleveland.

"Baylor had to crash and burn for anybody else to have a chance, and they didn't," McCallie coach Gordon Connell said.

"It is the best we've wrestled in the three years I have been at Baylor," Red Raiders coach Ben Nelson said.

Over in Division I, only three teams ever had the lead, and the came down to those three with Cleveland coming from behind at least twice to win the most hotly contested race in the tournament's 50-year history.

The Blue Raiders finished with 203 points to 200.5 for Bradley and 197 for Soddy-Daisy.

"There we were with the 215-pound match going on -- one match to go and nobody knows who's going to win the tournament," Cleveland coach Eric Phillips said. "When's the last time that happened? Ever?"

The Blue Raiders qualified 13 wrestlers and 11 of them got in the medals, including champions Marvin and Aaron Lopez.

Duncan finishes his prep career with a record of 206-20.

"It never really hit me that it was almost over until we were out there warming up before the finals," he said. "We had always talked about next year, and it seemed to hit me that this was it."

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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