Jake Yost says it doesn't matter who's at the wheel, Cleveland's bus is going to keep on rolling.
Yost, who took over as Cleveland's head wrestling coach prior to this season, was the one responsible for carting the Region 3 championship trophy home from Maryville on Saturday.
"I guess it really doesn't register that this was my first," he said. "I feel like the coaching staff is no different than last year. Yeah, a few different roles, but I'm glad we have the coaching staff we have had while I have been here. We have some very unselfish people and a great administration that has helped keep this staff together."
Yost, though, feels as if all he has to do come tournament time is slide behind the wheel of the van and make sure his guys get there safely.
He got them there and they paid the staff back handsomely. All 14 Blue Raiders qualified for the state tournament and nine won region championships: Chris Debien (113 pounds), Austin Stevison (120), Austin Oliver (126), Haden Hamilton (132), Joel Simpkins (145), Josh Hamilton (152), Aaron Lopez (160), Ethan West (182) and Koran Kennedy (285).
Kennedy was a third seed who was named outstanding wrestler for the upper weights.
"We had some guys wrestle above their seed, and it was really enjoyable to watch the guys wrestle as seeded and then watch as some outperformed others' expectations," Yost said.
The Blue Raiders had 268.5 points, easily outrunning second-place Walker Valley, which finished with 156. Bradley Central gave Bradley County a clean sweep of the top three spots with 128.5 points.
Walker Valley had two champions -- Caleb Langford (138) and Billy Raulston (195) -- and Bradley had one, Toribio Navarro at 106. Walker Valley earned nine state tournament qualifiers and Bradley's Bears qualified seven.
Langford was named outstanding wrestler for the lower weights.
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 ...