The off-season grind has continued for many Blackman wrestlers this spring and summer. Between fight nights, freestyle and Greco practice, competition and weightlifting, our guys are getting some great opportunities to get better!!
Blackman sent three down to Atlanta for the Southeast Regional Freestyle & Greco Roman competition which was held at the Georgia World Congress Center. Matthew Sells, Landon Fowler and incoming freshman Brooks Sacharczyk all made the trek to the ATL to see how they stack up against the regional competition.
The competition at the tournament was deep with kids from 25 different states all hoping to make the top of the podium. Top states by participation:
- Georgia – 188 Wrestlers
- Florida – 134 Wrestlers
- North Carolina – 93 Wrestlers
- Louisiana – 59 Wrestlers
- Illinois – 54 Wrestlers
- Tennessee – 50 Wrestlers
- Alabama – 44 Wrestlers
(On a side note, Florida is producing some HAMMERS lately. And by the numbers above, it’s clear why they are getting so good.)
Day 1 of the tournament was Greco Roman competition. At Cadet 145, Brooks had a good showing going 2-2 on the day with wins over North and South Carolina. At Cadet 160, Landon Fowler ended the day 3-2 and earned 5th place. Landon’s day got kind of interesting at the end. He was able to get some sweet revenge in his 5th place match against the kid from North Carolina who had beaten him earlier in the day. At Junior 160, Matthew struggled to get anything going. His first match was a loss against Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson from Illinois (who won the tournament), and the second was a loss against a kid from Iowa. Two and out!
Chinese buffet and ice cream from Baskin Robbins cured everyone of the blues and by day 2, the guys seemed ready for Freestyle competition.
As a rising 9th grader, the competition was stiff for Brooks and he had to face a lot of mature competition….and Cadet 145 was just full of hammers. His first match ended up a solid tech over a kid from Pennsylvania and he ended up giving two losses to North Carolina and Louisiana.
Landon had a strong start with two wins over Georgia and Illinois to put him in the semi-finals. In that match, he faced a very talented David Key from Georgia and lost a close one! He rebounded with a fall over another Georgia kid in the consolation semi-finals. The third place match was an all Middle Tennessee final and Knott from Summit got his revenge on Landon for pinning him in the TN State Freestyle tournament earlier this year. 4th place for Landon!
Matthew lost his first match to a state champ from Louisiana and fell to the consolation bracket early. There he battled through two wins over a couple of kids from Georgia before running into former 2X TN state champ Tucker Russo who also had been banished to the loser’s bracket. The match was win or go home for both and we noticed that many Tennesseans had lined the rails to see the action. Russo and Sells was one of the most highly anticipated matches of the 2016 TN State Tournament but it never happened. This day, it did, and the match belonged to Sells. Final score Sells 6 – Russo 2. Matthew went on to win the next match against Georgia before being defeated once again by the Louisiana kid who beat him earlier in the day. 5th place for Sells (although they don’t give Juniors medals for 5th and 6th).
All in all, a GREAT weekend of wrestling. A few pics of the Blackman guys and a couple other Rutherford County kids can be found HERE. Overall, Tennessee kids did well, but it was clear that the numbers were low and our kids are mostly behind the curve when it comes to freestyle and greco. Got to get better Tennessee!!
In other news, Fight Nights have been a huge success this year and we are seeing kids from all over the mid-state coming out to grind and stay in shape. It’s not uncommon to see three and sometimes four state champs in the room on Tuesday nights. If that’s not enough, we are also seeing multiple state medalists, several college wrestlers and some coaches coming in to roll. With that said, we will be stopping fight nights soon until school starts back.
Blackman heads to a lake trip this weekend so if you see some cauliflower ear on the water, say hello!