Last weekend Coach Bray and the Blaze wrestling team captured the TSSAA Region 5-AAA Individual Championship Title. The tournament was hosted by Tullahoma High School. The win was Blackman’s first win at the individual state qualifier since 2011 and as expected, it was a close contest and not an easy victory for the Blaze.
Blackman scored 188.5 points in the winning effort edging out Tullahoma (177) and Stewarts Creek (169.5). The Blaze qualified 9 wrestlers to the upcoming TSSAA State Tournament. State is this weekend at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center in Franklin. Qualifying 9 wrestlers to state is impressive but Blackman could have easily had 10 or even 12.
Junior Ryan Heath, the #1 seed at 170 pounds, sustained a chest injury in his semi-final match. After the injury time and regaining his composure, Heath tried to tough it out but wasn’t able to continue. He was a certain state qualifier and probable region champ. At 113 and 120, Blackman’s Liam Elam and Wiley Van Voorst were both only one match away from qualifying. Both were in winnable matches but came up just a little short.
Region 5 Champions were Daniel Bradford (132), Brooks Sacharczyk (138), Landon Fowler (152), and Matthew Sells (160).
Additional state qualifiers were Evan Smart (4th at 106), Jalen Brown (2nd at 145), Spencer Layne (3rd at 182), Dylan Heath (3rd at 220), and Jamil Hughes (3rd at 285).
In the finals matches, Landon Fowler defeated Tullahoma’s John Bonee by a score of 2-0. Bonee wrestled up to the occasion and gave a heck of a fight. However, Fowler controlled him the entire match and hung on to capture his 2nd Region 5 title.
In the 160 final, Senior Matthew Sells had a 1st period pin over Ben Bos of Cookeville. The win gave the Sells his 4th Region 5-AAA title. He becomes only the second wrestler in Blackman history to achieve this. (Tyler Garrison – 2012-2015)
Freshman Brooks Sacharczyk earned his first region title against Stewarts Creek’s Treavor South by a score of 4-0. Sacharczyk looked solid and he showed that he may be the next 4-time region champ. Regardless, he will only get better from here.
At 132, Junior Daniel Bradford avenged an earlier loss to Stewarts Creek’s Gabe Rogers by winning a 6-4 decision. Bradford was extremely active and his offense made all the difference this time. The win gave Bradford his first Region Championship.
Blackman’s sweep of the Region 5 Dual and Individual titles is a noteworthy accomplishment for the Blaze. Blackman lost the individual tournament last year by one point and as previously mentioned, hadn’t won this tournament since 2011. Typically Blackman is focused on the dual team tournament so getting this win is a sign that things are going in the right direction.
Blackman coaching staff has been doing more with less as the Blaze have lost several quality wrestlers this season. A couple of guys got injured, and several quit because of the intensity of practice or the inability to get into the starting line or maybe because they were just not committed enough to do what it takes to stay on top. Either way, the coaching staff has done a great job working with those who are committed to succeed!
At the end of the evening, the superlative trophies were handed out as follows:
Best Match: 113 Pounds – David Medina (Riverdale) over Will Moran (Tullahoma)
Outstanding Wrestler Lower Weight: Luke Dezember (Lawrence County)
Outstanding Wrestler Upper Weight: Nick Boykin (Riverdale)
Outstanding Freshman: David Medina (Riverdale)
Assistant Coach of the Year: Steve Britton (Tullahoma)
Coach of the Year: Al Morris Jr.: (Tullahoma)
As you may have noticed, Blackman was shut out of the superlative awards. The Blaze will just have to use the TWO Region 5 Championship plaques to keep them warm until next season.
Blackman is on to state!!! Come to the Ag Center this weekend and support the Blaze!! You will find the Blaze faithful sitting in the front row. 😉
TONS of pics from the Region 5 Championships can be found on our PHOTOS page.