Returning Division II medalists from 2013
• 1. Michael Murphy (Baylor), also 5th at 106, 2012, 2. Trey Chaalifoux (Father Ryan), 3. Addison Cornell (McCallie), 4. Justin Becci (Brentwood Academy), also 4th at 106, 2012; 4th at 103, 2011, 5. Sam Bellet (MBA), 6. Matthew Klett (BGA).
• 1. Elijah Oliver (Christian Bros.), also 1st at 106, 2012, 2. James Westbrook (McCallie), also 3rd at 106, 2012, 3. Kirby Simpson (Father Ryan), 4. Caleb Canada (Baylor), 5. Christian Dilucchio (Brentwood Academy), 6. Xavier Greer (MUS).
• 3. Michael Eckhart (Father Ryan), also 2nd at 106, 2012, 5. Jonah Neuman (BGA), 6. Mark Floyd (MBA), also 6th at 106, 2012.
• 2. Hal Fisher (Father Ryan), also 5th at 120, 2012, 6. Connor Stewart (MUS).
• 1. Adam Connell (McCallie), also 1st at 120, 2012; 2nd at 103, 2011, 5. Robert Croom (Christian Bros.).
• 3. Blake Sutherland (Baylor), also 4th at 138, 2012, 4. Griffin Davis (McCallie), also 5th at 126, 2012, 5. Bailey Whitman (Christian Bros.).
• 4. Wells Hamilton (MBA).
• 2. James Simpson (Father Ryan), 4. Ben Barton (MBA).
• 1. Bryson Popp (Baylor), also 2nd at 145, 2012; 4th at 145, 2011, 3. Chandler Teelfer (Ensworth), 6. Nicholas Kilmer (Briarcrest).
• 1. Ryan Parker (Baylor), 2. John Hagey (Father Ryan), 6. Blake Patton (MBA).
• 1. Nathan Hoodenpyle (McCallie), also 4th at 182, 2012, 3. Jacob Cretin (Brentwood Academy), 4. Houston Hooker (Father Ryan), 6. James Little (Knox Webb).
• 33. Joshua Greer (Brentwood Academy), 5. Ben Stacey (Father Ryan), 6. Emory Norred (Baylor).
• 3. Jeremy Brandon (Christian Bros.), 4. Jon Schmissrauter (Baylor), 5. Brian Phillips (McCallie), 6. Boque Waller (Franklin Road Academy).
• 1. Jashon Robertson (MBA) also 2nd at 285, 2012; 6th at 285, 2011, 4. Tucker York (Brentwood Academy), also 5th at 285, 2012, 5. Gauge Thompson (Knox Webb), 6. Will Thomas (Baylor).
FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The new-look parts of the Tennessee high school state wrestling championships will be unveiled today when the Division II and Class A/AA tournaments get under way at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo.
For the first time, Division II teams had regional qualifiers for their state tournament and wrestlers will be in eight-man rather than 16-man brackets. And this is the TSSAA's first attempt at splitting the non-financial-aid schools into two classifications.
"It's a new twist and something we'll have to figure out from this year on," McCallie coach Mike Newman said of the Division II changes.
The change has been followed by D-II schools, but reluctantly.
"It's hard to explain. Like everything else [the TSSAA] has reorganized the postseason for us this year," Baylor coach Ben Nelson said. "If the rationale is to drive interest for the sport in Division II, I don't think it's a very strong plan."
Growing the sport was definitely the rationale in Division I.
"It will be great for the sport. It affords chances for kids to come to the state that might not get here otherwise," Hixson coach Garrick Hall said about pulling the smallers schools out into their own brackets. "Already we have schools in the state like Sale Creek, Sequatchie and Lookout Valley that haven't been here. It think it's a win-win."
Hixson is one of two clear-cut favorites to win the A/AA championship. With 12 qualifiers, the Wildcats lost in the A/AA duals semifinals to the other favorite, Pigeon Forge.
Of the Chattanooga area's other A/AA entrants, Central and Red Bank have seven qualifiers, East Ridge six, Notre Dame five, Signal Mountain and Tyner four each, Brainerd three and Boyd-Buchanan, Lookout Valley, Sale Creek and Sequatchie County one apiece.
"It's nothing different than the region. We're coming to win it," Hall said. "Pigeon Forge is good. They're well coached and they get after it. It will be interesting to see how they respond after winning the state dual. It could go one of two ways. If we show up and wrestle like we did in the region, we'll be fine."
The same might be said for Baylor and McCallie although each will be in chase mode in DII.
"[Father] Ryan has to be the team that's favored. After winning the region they look like they're set to have a pretty good tournament, barring upsets," Newman said.
"Ryan's the one we're all going to be chasing," Nelson agreed. "McCallie is going to be right there. It will be interesting between the three of us."
A unique twist to the Division II tournament is a wrestle-in for each weight class. The West region No. 3 will wrestle the East/Middle's No. 6 with the winner then earning the eighth slot without any points being awarded.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com 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 ...