The rosy picture that was Baylor School wrestling to start the season is beginning to regain some clarity.
A snapshot marred by a seemingly endless string of injuries looked a lot better after the Red Raiders posted a 33-19 victory over McCallie.
The win was the fourth consecutive victory over a ranked opponent, and the list includes No. 3 Soddy-Daisy; No. 9 Bradley Central; Science Hill, which has since dropped from the top 10, and the sixth-ranked Blue Tornado.
The latest decision allowed the Red Raiders to improve to 15-3 -- their three losses also coming to ranked opponents Cleveland, Maryville Heritage and Father Ryan.
Both schools will be in action Friday and Saturday in the Division II portion of the Tennessee duals championships at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo in Franklin.
When asked how close his lineup was to being what the Red Raiders would like to have had all season, coach Ben Nelson responded, "A lot closer, and closer than we have been all season."
Baylor claimed nine of the 14 bouts and got bonus points in five.
"They just outwrestled us," McCallie coach Mike Newman said. "The close matches they pulled out, and they got more bonus points. We have to get better at the basics. When we watch film we'll see immediately where we can improve our fundamentals."
Baylor's bonus points came often and early. With the meet starting at 145 pounds with a 4-1 victory by the Red Raiders' Cole Holloway, they bounced out to a 15-0 lead thanks to major decisions by Blake Sutherland and Ryan Parker sandwiching Bryson Popp's technical fall at 160 pounds.
McCallie finally got on the board at 182 when Nathan Hoodenpyle pulled out a 3-1 overtime victory over Houston Clements. It was the first loss but only the fourth match of the season for Clements, who has been among the Red Raiders' walking wounded.
Other Baylor winners were Michael Murphy (106), Caleb Powell (120), Brandon Brunner (138) and Will Thomas (285).
"The guys wrestled hard, but this group has always put out the effort," Nelson said. "We need to get more refined at a lot of the weights -- polishing up little stuff. We have a lot of guys still knocking the rust off."
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
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 ...