Steve Henry is fond of saying that Region 4 is the state's toughest, and the Soddy-Daisy coach has the runners-up to prove it.
The Trojans claimed five championships and the team title in the state qualifier they hosted Friday and Saturday, and they're taking 13 wrestlers to the state tournament that begins Thursday at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo in Franklin.
Their positioning, though, isn't as good as Henry would have liked. It was that kind of weekend for a number of schools, as only seven No. 1 seeds met expectations.
"I'm fine. I'm not distraught," Henry said. "This is a tough region. That's what a lot of people tend to forget. Our kids did a great job. In the finals you have to put it on the line, and we probably could have done a better job with that."
His champions included 132-pounder Campbell Lewis, now a four-time region winner, Gage Richmond (138), Blaike Henry (170), Brett Ervin (182) and Billy Swanson (220).
Part of Soddy-Daisy's problem was Notre Dame, which took three individual titles in four head-to-head finals matches with the Trojans. Those Irish winners were Packy Mullin (120), Jack Boone (126) and Grayson Mullin (145). Boone and Grayson Mullin went into overtime to get their wins.
"We had a good Saturday and won some exciting matches when it could have been one of those sessions that went either way," Notre Dame coach John Mullin said. "I'm really proud of our guys. They've continued to get better all year."
Others who earned No. 1 slots in next week's brackets were Central's Cody Bowman (106), Larry Dickerson (152) and Trumond Martin (195); Tyner's DeAngelo James (113), who remains undefeated at 38-0; Hixson's Justin Mathieson (160); and Silverdale Baptist's Josh Mackey (285).
Central, like Soddy-Daisy a 2012 state duals team champion, finished runner-up to Soddy-Daisy.
"With a team like Soddy-Daisy you know you're underdogs coming in, but we're sending nine to Franklin. We started out slow and finished strong," Purple Pounders coach Marques Dotson said.
Soddy-Daisy is expected to be among the favorites along with Region 3 champion Cleveland for next week's tournament.
"They're strong and well-coached," Dotson said. "We expected they'd show up, and they did."
While he was disappointed with but nowhere near devastated by the number of champions, Henry waxed philosophical, agreeing that the strength of the region should come back to help his team next week.
"It's something we'll stress. This is a tournament that sharpens your skills," he said.
Chris Palacio, the top-seeded wrestler upset in the quarterfinals Friday, rebounded to finish third and pinned his way through four consolation matches.
Another upset victim -- and there were nine losers in the championship semifinals who didn't get one of the four qualifying spots per weight class -- was Ooltewah's Jay Rudwall. The senior 220-pounder entered the tournament with a 27-1 record. After his Friday semifinal loss to Red Bank's Paul Horne, Rudwall rallied to finish third by pinning Horne.
REGION 4 RESULTS
Team scores: 1. Soddy-Daisy (SD) 277.5, 2. Central (Cen) 175.5, 3. Notre Dame (ND) 147, 4. Hixson (Hix) 118, 5. East Ridge (ER) 106.5, 6. Ooltewah (Ool) 99, 7. Red Bank (RB) 89.5, 8. Tyner (Ty) 65.5, 9. Signal Mountain (SM) 56, 10. East Hamilton (EH) 31.5, 11. Chattanooga Christian (CCS) 31, 12. Howard (How) 30, 13. Silverdale Baptist (SB) 24, 14. Boyd-Buchanan (BB) 7, 14. Sequatchie County (Seq) 7, 16. Brainerd (Br) 3.
For 1st: Cody Bowman (Cen) dec. Austin Houser (SD), 4-2, OT. For 3rd: Chris Palacio (RB) pinned jared Andrews (ND), 3:58.
For 1st: DeAngelo James (Ty) pinned Brandon Whitley (ER), 0:57. For 3rd: Austin Robinson (ND) pinned Adam Brewer (SD), 6-2.
For 1st: Packy Mullin (ND) dec. Jacob Stevens (SD), 10-9. For 3rd: Dain Thomas (Ool) dec. Andrew Fite (CCS), 5-0.
For 1st: Jack Boone (ND) dec. Josh Deckelman (SD), 3-1, OT. For 3rd: Cody Stacks (Cen) major dec. Isaiah Hawthorne (Hix), 18-4.
For 1st: Campbell Lewis (SD) tech. fall over Chase White (ND), 5:24. For 3rd: Gio Palacio (Hix) dec. Joe Stegall (Cen), 3-2.
For 1st: Gage Richmond (SD) dec. Logan Griffith (Cen), 11-5. For 3rd: Michael Labbe (ND) dec. Kendall Small (ER), 3-0.
For 1st: Grayson Mullin (ND) dec. Turbo Smith (SD), 4-2 OT. For 3rd: Zac Fordham (Cen) pinned Antonio Walton (Ty), 3:23.
For 1st: Larry Dickerson (Cen) dec. Logan Sharp (RB), 5-3. For 3rd: Garrett Alexander (SD) dec. Jordan Russell (Ool), 4-0.
For 1st: Justin Mathieson (Hix) dec. Zac Sharp (RB), 8-1. For 3rd: Michael Frazy (Cen) pinned DeAngelo Johnson (ER), 3:47.
For 1st: Blaike Henry (SD) major dec. Matt Sealor (Ool), 11-3. For 3rd: Nathan Davis (SC) dec. Joe Drennan (SM), 4-1.
For 1st: Brett Ervin (SD) pinned Brandon Cantrell (ER), 3:33. For 3rd: Jordan Zink (Ool) dec. Harrison Hall (SM), 10-5.
For 1st: Trumond Martin (Cen) dec. Tyler Montgomery (SM), 3-2. For 3rd: Randall Lee (RB) dec. Luke Reno (SD), 11-6.
For 1st: Billy Swanson (SD) dec. Christian Varner (Hix), 5-3. For 3rd: Jay Rudwall (Ool) pinned Paul Horne (RB), 1:48.
For 1st: Josh Mackey (SB) dec. Alex Seeley (SD), 11-10. For 3rd: Zach Calhoun (Cen) dec. C.J. Baker (ER), 3-1.
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 ...