published Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Blue Raiders, Trojans head stout Chattanooga region wrestling field

REGION 4-AAA PAIRINGS AT WALKER VALLEY

106 - Drake Haney (WV) bye; Chase Payne (SD) vs. Colton Landers (Cle); Briar Potter (EH) bye; Ryan McElhaney (BC) bye.

113 - Toribio Navarro (BC) bye; Zane Smith (WV) vs. Jordan Goempel (EH); Mason Blevins (SD) bye; Triston Blansit (Cle) bye.

120 - Knox Fuller (BC) bye; Braxton Stratton (Ool) vs. Taylor Bishop (Cle); Matt Meeks (EH) vs. Logan Smith (WV); Jacob McClure bye.

126 - Chris Debien (Cle) bye; Nick Akins (EH) vs. Austin Gregory (WV); Hunter Parker vs. Geddes Sherrell (Ool); Shawn Olinyk (MC) vs. Austin Houser (SD).

132 - Austin Stevison (Cle) bye; Brayden Robinson (RC) vs. Joe Munoz (WV); Taylor Kazy (BC) vs. Alex Wohlford (Ool); Emory Holcomb (SD) bye.

138 - Tucker Russo (SD) vs. Dakota Boggess (MC); Jordan Massingill (Ool) vs. Mikel Gregory (WV); Stephen Scott (BC) vs. Ethan Vandehei (EH); Vance Ives (RC) vs. Ezra Taylor (Cle).

145 - Gage Richmond (SD) vs. Jacob Wolfe (EH); Tyler Wilson (MC) vs. Caleb Adkins (BC); William Haas (Cle) bye; Joshua Brooks (Ool) vs. Tyrus Hamrick (WV).

152 - Austin Williamson (SD) bye; Brett Turner (RC) vs. Aaron Oliver (Cle); Colter McConnell (BC) vs. Peyton Spalding (EH); Jordan Chafi (Ool) vs. Ryan Hager (WV).

160 - Garrett Alexander (SD) bye; Greg Wilson (BC) vs. Jonathan Martin (Cle); Tyler Reid (Ool) bye; Tanner Holsomback (RC) vs. Lawrence Cotton (WV).

170 - Josh Hamilton (Cle) bye; Donovan Thomas (Ool) vs. Carlos Galo (MC); Nathan Adams (BC) vs. Krischan Goins (RC); Matt Pankey (WV) vs. Tyler Hixson (SD).

182 - Billy Raulston (WV) bye; Chilynn Williams (EH) vs. Hunter Maynor (SD); Sam Garcia (Cle) vs. Victor Bednarski (Ool); Brett Brown (BC) bye.

195 - Etha West (Cle) bye; Terry Louallen (RC) vs. Mack Fairley (Ool); Christian Dean (SD) vs. Zach McFarland (BC); Ric Kennett (WV) bye.

220 - Koran Kennedy (Cle) vs. Bradley Central TBD; Kelvin Leon (Ool) bye; Zxayvier Beckingham (WV) bye; Dylan Aslinger (SD) vs. Daniel Cochran (RC).

285 - Zack Miller (WV) bye; Jesse McNew (SD) vs. Jerry Johnson (BC); Jacob Keltch (Ool) vs. Cameron Sliger (EH); John Gaither (Cle) bye.

Tennessee's high school wrestling power balance has undergone a decided shift.

With the addition of a Class A/AA state tournament, the Chattanooga area's AAA teams have been dumped into one muscle-bulging region that will advance four wrestlers per weight class to their state tournament Feb. 13-15 in Franklin.

Those wrestlers will settle their one-through-four pecking orders Saturday at Walker Valley. Wrestling is to begin at 10 a.m. and continue through the 5 p.m. championship finals.

Cleveland coach Jake Yost is one of those coaches who look for the positive.

"You can be negative and say that it makes it harder for our kids to qualify for the state," he said. "They want to pile us all in the same region and, yeah, that makes it tough. I say OK, but when we get through [the state tournament], this region is going to have more place-winners than ever."

Cleveland and Soddy-Daisy lead the eight-team Region 4 contingent, which also includes Bradley Central, the host Mustangs, East Hamilton, McMinn County, Ooltewah and Rhea County.

The A/AA regional, which has its seeding meeting today, will be held Friday and Saturday at Hixson. The Division II East/Middle qualifier, also new this year, will be held Friday at Baylor. DII coaches are to meet in Monteagle this evening for their seeding meeting.

Cleveland won the Region 3 tournament a year ago prior to a runaway showing the following week at the state tournament, while Soddy-Daisy won the Region 4 tournament.

Cleveland's Blue Raiders, coming off a commanding state duals championship showing, were awarded five top seeds and three No. 2s, and Soddy-Daisy got four No. 1 seeds and four No. 2s. If the seeds hold true to form, each of those teams will advance 14 to the state tournament.

"I think it's pretty even and I think that's fitting," Soddy-Daisy coach Jim Higgins said. "The records and head-to-head competition speak for themselves. I don't think, though, that you can look ahead and see who's going to win it. It's all about how you perform that day."

Soddy-Daisy is coming off a disappointing state duals showing in fourth place.

"We have a chance [this week]," Higgins said. "Our kids have to show up, perform, show heart and be competitive on an individual basis. If the talent in the lineup shows up, it's anybody's game."

Top challengers are Walker Valley, with 12 top-four seeded wrestlers, and Bradley with 11.

Wrestlers accorded No. 1 seeds are Cleveland's Chris Debien (126 pounds), Austin Stevison (132), Josh Hamilton (170), Ethan West (195) and Koran Kennedy (220); Soddy-Daisy's Tucker Russo (138), Gage Richmond (145), Austin Williamson (152) and Garrett Alexander (160); Walker Valley's Drake Haney (106), Billy Raulston (182) and Zach Miller (285); and Bradley's Toribio Navarro (113) and Knox Fuller (120).

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765.

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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