Class AAA Championship
CLEVELAND 78, WILSON CENTRAL 4
106--Tristian Blansit (C) pinned Lane Dickeson, 1:27; 113--Christopher Debien (C) pinned Christian Cerrito (Wilson) 1:29; 120--Austin Stevison (C) pinned Nick Insalaco, 3:12; 126--Austin Oliver (C) pinned Jonathan Hayes, 1:34; 132--Haden Hamilton (C) pinned Eddie Small, 0:55; 138--Ezra Taylor (C) pinned Austin Richard, 3:51; 145--Aaron Oliver (C) pinned Bryson Hutchison, 3:35; 152--Josh Hamilton (C) pinned John Davidson, 0:50; 160--Sean Vonpotts (C) pinned Jonathan Ward, 1:31; 170--Aaron Lopez (C) pinned Jacob Myers, 2:19; 182--Ethan West (C) pinned Perry Balte, 1:11; 195--Oleg Stukanov (C) pinned James Smith, 1:35; 220--John Kramer (WC) major dec. John Gaither, 14-2; 285--Koran Kennedy (C) pinned Christian Frans, 1:41.
FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Cleveland had a message for Wilson Central and delivered it with innumerable exclamation points Saturday night:
"Welcome to the real world that's Tennessee high school wrestling."
The Blue Raiders, taking just 28 minutes to roll up a 54-0 lead with pins in the first nine matches, nailed down the Tennessee Class AAA duals championship with a 78-4 victory.
"We've got a good thing going," Cleveland coach Jake Yost said.
The Blue Raiders were the only one of the Chattanooga area's six representatives across three classifications to win a championshipinned
Baylor finished third in Division II, needing a McCallie team point deduction and then winning on tie-score criteria in the consolation final, and Hixson beat East Ridge to nail down its seventh straight duals trophy and a third-place finish. Rebounding from a tumultuous start to the weekend -- the dismissal of three starters -- defending champion Soddy-Daisy finished third in Class AAA.
Cleveland's entire match -- all 14 bouts -- took a grand total of 48 minutes, and the Raiders had what is thought to be a state record with 13 pins in the championship match.
The 78 points is by 24 points the largest winning total in a AAA duals final, bettering the 54 Bradley Central scored against Ooltewah in 2008. And the Blue Raiders' 74-point margin of victory almost doubled the previous best -- 44 from Bradley in that same win over Ooltewah.
"I have often said that when we get on a roll, well, we're that kind of team," Yost said. "We have high expectations every time out, and we expect the kids to fight their tails off. But so much of it is about support. The [school] superintendent is in the stands. There are three principals from the Cleveland community in the stands. Shoot, even a teacher and a couple of students came up to livestream our matches on the Internet."
The Blue Raiders, in four meets Friday and Saturday, lost four total individual matches, a feat that left the talkative Yost near speechless.
"That's impressive," he responded.
"That was fun," added Yost assistant and former Blue Raiders head coach Eric Phillips. "There have been some unbelievable teams -- Bradley Central and Soddy-Daisy -- do some incredible things, but this is the most amazing thing I've been a part of."
The loss was the first to a Tennessee team for Wilson Central, which entered the match without an in-state loss in 31 matches. The string included a semifinal victory over defending champion Soddy-Daisy.
The Wildcats later revealed that they had lost two matches to out-of-state teams -- neither of which was entered on their NWCA website.
Greeneville won the A/AA championship 36-34 over Pigeon Forge in the night's final bout, and Christian Brothers won its second straight Division II crown with a 43-23 decision of Father Ryan.
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 ...