published Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Baylor, Duncan record-setters

FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- McCallie and Christian Brothers wrestled well. but Baylor wrestled better in the TSSAA Division II state traditional tournament.

"We put seven in the finals, and a lot of years that would have been enough to win it all," McCallie coach Gordon Connell said. "Not this year. You could see it after the seeding meeting that they were clearly the team to beat, and they outperformed their seeds."

While Baylor ran away with the team championship, all but locking away the title with an astounding semifinal performance Friday by putting 10 in the championship finals, much of the focus was on McCallie senior and Maryland-bound T.J. Duncan, who became the state's first five-time champion.

Duncan said five years ago as an eighth-grader that he intended to become the state's first five-time winner, and five years and much maturity later he fulfilled his somewhat brash proclamation.

Following his 15-6 major decision of Baylor's Spencer Craig, Duncan's sisters handed him a new T-shirt. The shirt was dark blue, and in blue lettering across the front it said "Grave-digger." Across the back was "First Tennessee 5-timer" and his title years -- 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2010.

"I really don't feel any different," he said with a big smile. "I guess now, though, I'm glad it's over."

Baylor had two four-time state champs crowned in senior Stuart Doster (140) and junior Zach Watson (125), who could be the state's next five-timer. And along those lines, one of Baylor's state champions was eighth-grader and 103-pounder Cole Holloway, now another five-timer possibility.

Unbeaten junior Michael Hooker became the first wrestler at the tradition-rich school to post 50 wins in a season with a 15-2 major decision of Father Ryan sophomore Mark Marchetti. The two will be teammates next year. Hooker, because of illness in his family, is moving home to Nashville. He will begin classes Monday at Father Ryan.

The Red Raiders broke their own team scoring record, becoming the first team in TSSAA tournament history to top the 300-point mark. They finished with 305 points, shattering the mark of 289 set in 1989.

Baylor's other winners were Brandon Brunner (119), Alex Manley (130) and heavyweight Barrett Gouger (285). McCallie's other winner was 171-pound Chase Martino.

Christian Brothers finished with 256 points and McCallie was third with 222.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com 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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