It’s no surprise that day one of the TSSAA State Wrestling Tournament was full of highs and lows. Coming in to this event, every competitor hopes that they can exceed their own expectations but unfortunately, wrestling has a way of dishing out humility like no other sport can.
On the first day of the tournament, there are 448 wrestlers in AAA hoping to advance. By the end of the night, HALF of those hopeful athletes will see their season come to an end.
As for Blackman, the Blaze entered 10 wrestlers in the tournament and three were eliminated on day one. That’s a little better than average but still not an acceptable casualty rate. The Blaze left some points on the mat in a couple of matches and under-performed in a couple others. Blackman ended the day in 5th place in the team race. (1-Cleveland, 2-Bradley, 3-Science Hill, 4-Wilson Central, 5-Blackman). Not bad.
The Blaze still have four in the championship round:
113 Pounds – Sophomore Alex Rose
152 Pounds – Senior Jalen Brown
170 Pounds – Senior Landon Fowler
182 Pounds – Junior Brooks Sacharczyk
Those four will wrestle Friday morning in the quarterfinal rounds. A win in the quarterfinal guarantees you a state medal but these are tough wins to get. Toughest win of these will be Alex Rose’s match against Rossview’s Sammy Shires. Shires is a freshman but not any ordinary one. He has the ability to be dangerous from any position and getting past him would be an outstanding achievement for Rose.
In the consolation round, Blackman has three wrestlers who could fight their way back.
138 Pounds – Senior Evan Smart
160 Pounds – Junior Gabe Gomez
220 Pounds – Junior Bowdy Boyce
In order for these guys to get a medal, they have to win three in a row. That may sound easy but these guys in the bottom of the bracket are fighting for their wrestling lives. For many of them, these will be the last matches of their career. No one goes down easily. The good news is these three wrestlers are capable. If they want to get third place they must win five in a row.
Done for the season are 106 pounder Adam Tibitoski, 126 pounder Liam Elam, and 132 pounder Austin Marlatt. All three had great seasons and for Liam, it was his last. Its always heartbreaking to see young athletes come up short but the lessons they learn are invaluable and will serve them well.
Saturday morning wrestling starts at 10am. There will be some fantastic match-ups and fireworks from the Blaze. Several other area wrestlers will have some great matches as well. Riverdale’s Frankie Medina could make the semis in a loaded 120 bracket. Smyrna Senior Cameron Henderson is almost a lock in the quarters and will have a great semi-final match at 138. Oakland Junior Jackson Riley could make the semis if he can get past Walker Valley’s Jadon Langford.
Whatever you do, get to the Ag Expo Center in Franklin tomorrow and support the Blaze! — For photos from Day 1, click HERE.
TEAM SCORES AFTER DAY 1 (TOP 25)