The Blackman Blaze put together an impressive string of victories to win the Tullahoma Garner-Dyer Duals tournament which was held at Tullahoma High School. 10 teams from three states converged on Tullahoma, all hoping to be find themselves in the final dual of the day.
Coach Ronnie Bray and company had hoped to improve on last year’s disappointing 5th place finish and this year, things were indeed, very different. The tournament was divided up into two pools:
|POOL A||POOL B|
Pool A teams wrestle each other and Pool B does the same. The winner of Pool A wrestles the winner of Pool B for the Championship
Blackman’s first dual was with Centennial and it was a close one! Although Blackman won 46-34, it ended up being only a couple of key victories which sealed the win. The team looked a little flat and uninspired so at the ensuing break, Coach Bray had a “meeting” with the guys and lit the fire…. which would end up being the fuel the team needed to advance all the way to the Championship match!
Second match of the day was Williamson County powerhouse Independence. The Eagles reeled off the first three wins and went out to a 16-0 lead. Blackman’s Daniel Bradford (132) got things on track for the Blaze with a solid overtime win over last year’s Region 6 runner-up Owen Schnedler. Blackman would win 8 of the next 9 matches and cruised to a comfortable 51-19 win.
Bearden High School from Knoxville ended up next and Blackman didn’t let off the gas. Bearden’s top ranked 126 pounder Kyle Burns won an early match over Hunter Dallas and that would be their only victory (except for a Blackman forfeit). Bearden’s 4th ranked, 182 pounder, Max Grayson was held to only a 1 point escape in his 12-1 loss to Blackman’s defending TSSAA State Champ Matthew Sells. Blackman wins 70-12.
MBA (Montgomery Bell Academy) is a Division II private school from Nashville and the Big Red is a perennial powerhouse. The Blaze didn’t get the memo on their reputation as they sailed to a 42-29 victory. Maybe the most notable match from the dual was 138 pound Blackman freshman Brooks Sacharczyk avenging a loss from last week to three time state medalist John Glover. Sacharczyk pinned Glover in what was certainly a surprise for the MBA grappler and his coaches.
By winning the 4th match with MBA, Blackman was set to meet Alabama’s Grissom Wrestling team in the championship finals. After a short break, the dual started at 138 and after some back and forth it was 12-12 after the first four bouts. Landon Fowler and Matthew Sells scored pins for the Blaze to push the score to 24-12. After a loss and a forfeit, heavyweight Dylan Heath pinned his opponent and pushed the lead to 30-18. With four bouts to go, Grissom could still win it. Blackman’s Evan Smart wrestled tough all day and gave a clutch performance PINNING his opponent to push things out of reach for the Alabama wrestlers. Blackman would win 42-36!
Undefeated on the day were Brooks Sacharczyk, Landon Fowler, Matthew Sells & Dylan Heath. Big props to Evan Smart and Dylan Heath for stepping to a higher level and taking care of business all day long!
Pictures from the Tullahoma Duals can be found HERE.
Round 1 – Blackman 46 – Centennial 34
Round 2 – Blackman 51 – Indy 19
Round 3 – Blackman 70 – Bearden 12
Round 4 – Blackman 42 – MBA 29
CHAMPIONSHIP – Blackman 42 – Grissom (AL) 36
Blackman is off this week and returns to action this Friday and Saturday at the Bradley Invitational in Cleveland, TN.