Soddy-Daisy never planned to open the wrestling season with a key match in what should be a rough-and-tumble district.
The Trojans, who last week postponed two matches because opponents still had parts of their squads with playoff football teams, notched their first 3-AAA victory with a 40-22 home decision over Walker Valley.
Although his team won nine of the 14 bouts, Soddy-Daisy coach Jim Higgins wasn't about to hand out numerous congratulatory handshakes.
"I can't say I was surprised at our lack of conditioning, but I will say we have some work to do. We're not in good shape," he said. "There's a lot of work to do. We wrestle [at] Cleveland next Thursday."
Two wrestlers who draw some praise were Emory Holcomb and Austin Williamson.
"Both of them looked very, very sharp," Higgins said.
Holcomb (138) took just 63 seconds to get the Trojans' first pin of the season, and Williamson just missed a first-period technical fall and wound up going just 12 seconds into the second before getting it.
It appeared that Walker Valley pushed the Trojans to their physical limits in more than one match, including 220-pound Xzayvier Beckingham's 8-1 decision over Dylan Aslinger. Beckingham, a freshman who approaches 6-foot-5, was making his first varsity start.
"He got after it as did Rob Varner, who's another freshman. He just have to learn to wrestle, and this gives us something to build on," Walker Valley coach Alan Morris said.
Soddy-Daisy won two key matches pitting wrestlers who will be ranked high, if they aren't already. Tucker Russo was hard-pressed in an 8-6 overtime win over Tyrus Hamrick at 145, and Gage Richmond decisioned Lawrence Cotton 6-4 at 160.
"It's the same story. Day after day after day you grind it out until February and see where the chips fall," Higgins said.
"I expected to see Soddy be tough, and they were. Now we have something to use as a measuring stick, but we have a lot of time," he said. "It's November, so maybe down the road we'll do a better job against them."
Soddy-Daisy also got pins from Garrett Alexander (170) and Garrett McNew (285) and major decisions from Jacob McClure (120) and Austin Houser (126).
Drake Haney won by major decision at 113 for Walker Valley, which got pins from Austin Gregory (132) and Ric Kinnet (195).
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.
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 ...