Day one of the TSSAA State Duals tournament for turned out as most wrestling fans in Tennessee expected. Blackman solidly defeated Sevier County in Round 1 and then was defeated by Cleveland in Round 2.
Many across the state expected that result with the exception of the Blackman coaching staff. “We have the tools to come up with a win”, said Head Coach Ronnie Bray. “We need a few key wins in a few places, but there is a path for us”, Bray continued.
Indeed, on paper, the matchup was intriguing. That all has to translate to the mat however, and last night, the Blaze fell short.
The match started off at 126 with Cleveland sending Fargo All-American and returning state champ Trae McDaniel to the table first. Blackman opted to bump Freshman Mason Sells and sent Hugo Sanchez out instead. Hugo has come a long way, but he isn’t equipped to deal with a nationally ranked guy like McDaniel. McDaniel secured the pin quickly.
At 132, Mason Sells won a tight match with Blake Randall in which there was only one takedown. Sells was called for stalling in the final moments of the match and won 2-1. Following Sells’s effort, Freshman Justin Brown faced Cleveland senior Burns Meagher in the 138 match. Brown gave up the first takedown but quickly rebounded with an escape and a takedown at the end of the first period to go ahead 3-2. Despite some chatter from the Cleveland bench about fading and gassing out, Brown seemed to get better and better as the match progressed. Brown finished with a nice 9-4 decision and his win tied the dual 6-6.
At 145, Josh Chew battled tough in the first period against Cleveland’s Garrett Stevenson but was caught and pinned early in the second period. At 152, Cole Hays had his hands full early with Cael Laxton and he was pinned as well. Cleveland up 18-6.
At 160 David Wilkinson has shown a few sparks lately. His match with Nate Schilling went the distance with Wilkinson losing by major decision and saving the Blaze from losing valuable bonus points. At this point in the dual, nothing had went exceptionally far from the plan.
At 170, Senior Anthony Gomez mad a misstep and fell to his back in the first period and was immediately covered and pinned by Zack Brezna. In a match where every point counts, giving up bonus points here was costly. At 182, Blackman Senior and Arkansas commit Brooks Sacharczyk took care of business and quickly dispatched Riley Harris. The win brought an important spark back to the Blackman bench.
At 195, Cleveland bumped Tetoe Boyd and he and Jaylan Hughes had a brawl which went to overtime. Boyd came out on top and got the final takedown. The hits didn’t stop there. Bowdy Boyce lost by fall to Fargo All-American Ashton Davis at 220 and Jayden Hemphill lost a decision to Nick Nicodemis at Heavyweight.
Cleveland forfeited out the remaining bouts and the final score was 40-30.
Blackman is in action again TODAY at the TSSAA state duals. Check out Trackwrestling.com or follow along on Facebook live to catch the action. First match is Science Hill at 11:00.