published Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Baylor third, McCallie fourth

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Baylor is in third place chasing second-place Father Ryan, and McCallie's in fourth tracking the Red Raiders.

With Division II wrestling's finalists decided, the consolation semifinals could be the difference. The question for these three teams is whether anybody can catch front-runner and pre-tournament favorite Christian Brothers.

The Purple Wave, duals champions two weeks ago, had 218.5 points through Friday's competition -- 30.5 better than Father Ryan. Baylor had 169; McCallie had 166.

Those four had separated themselves greatly from the rest of the field, and none of the four were backing off.

"Second is still a possibility although Ryan had a pretty good round just then," McCallie coach Mike Newman said following the championship semifinals and a round of consolations.

"It's a big amount [of points] to come up with, but the guys haven't quit all year despite a lot of adversity, and I don't expect them to now," Baylor coach Ben Nelson said.

The lead might have been 50 if not for an upset of Christian Brothers' Barrett Walthall -- a pin by Father Ryan's Ryan Hagen.

Christian Brothers is trying for its first wrestling sweep and would have been closer to that goal if not for the upset loss by Walthall, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga signee.

"That was a big swing," Purple Wave coach Chris Lewis said. "Over? Not by a long shot."

Baylor's three-point lead over McCallie meant little going into the morning.

"We have four in the consolation rounds, and we have to get some points from them," Newman said. "The consolation semifinals tomorrow will be huge."

Baylor has five ready to contend for championships: Michael Murphy (106 pounds), Brandon Brunner (132), Bryson Popp (160), Ryan Parker (170) and Houston Clements (182). That equals two head-to-head battles with McCallie: Brunner vs. Adam Connell and Clements against Nathan Hoodenpyle.

Other McCallie finalists are James Westbrooks (113) and Alex Elsea (120).

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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