Region 5-AAA State Tournament Recap

posted in: High School Wrestling | 0

Daniel Bradford from Siegel wrestles Blansit from Cleveland


With the 2016 TSSAA State Wrestling Tournament in the rear-view mirror, we wanted to take a look back and see how Region 5-AAA did as a whole. If we want more success on an individual level, we have to have more success as a team. And if we want more team success, we have to build more region success. Looking at the success of the region and comparing to others can give us important insight on what can be done to improve the sport of wrestling in Region 5 and Middle Tennessee.

Region 5 is comprised of 15 high schools. (list HERE) Out of 15 schools, a respectable 12 of them had at least one wrestler qualify for state. LaVergne, and Warren County failed to produce a state qualifier this season and Lincoln County did not field a team.

Each region in the state sends 56 wrestlers to the state tournament. So those 56 wrestlers came from the before mentioned 12 schools within our region. Blackman had the most state qualifiers this year with 11. The rest of the region is as follows:

Region 5 State Qualifiers

Blackman 11
Stewarts Creek 10
Siegel 8
Cookeville 6
Smyrna 6
Tullahoma 6
Oakland 3
Riverdale 2
Coffee Co. 1
Franklin Co. 1
Lawrence Co. 1
Shelbyville 1


Ryder Gebhardt runs a power half on Beech's Garrett

The good news is that most of the wrestling programs in the region are doing well enough to have at least one state qualifier. More good news?  Region 5 had TWO State Champions. Both Matthew Sells (Blackman) and Nick Boykin (Riverdale) brought home state titles to their respective schools. In addition, region 5 had 6 other state medalists.   See the below list.

Region 5 State Medalists

Matthew Sells (160) Blackman 1st
Nick Boykin (285) Riverdale 1st
Tyler Barber (220) Stewarts Creek 2nd
John Olivieri (170) Stewarts Creek 3rd
Luke Dezember (106) Lawrence Co. 5th
Dylan Pearson (195) Tullahoma 5th
Chester Peden (220) Smyrna 6th
Landen Patterson (285) Siegel 6th


The bad news? Region 5 only had 8 medalists….out of 56. That means for every 1 kid from region 5 who got a medal, 7 went home with nothing. Compare that with the Chattanooga area where region 4 had 23 state medalists from only 7 schools. Nearly half of the region 4 kids who qualified for state went home with a medal, and 20% of kids from Regions 1, 6 and 7 medaled as well. Other region results are in the tables below:

State Medalists by Region

Region # Placers Percent Medalists
Region 4 23 41%
Region 7 12 21%
Region 1 11 20%
Region 6 11 20%
Region 2 10 18%
Region 5 8 14%
Region 3 6 11%
Region 8 3 5%


State Champions by Region

Region 4 7
Region 7 3
Region 5 2
Region 1 1
Region 3 1
Region 2 0
Region 6 0
Region 8 0


Tyler Barber from Stewarts Creek Appears to Score 2 in the Final Seconds of his Championship Match


On a side note, one interesting piece of data from the tournament.  If you placed 4th at your region tournament, your chances of medaling at state were ZERO.  Of the 84 State Medalists, 60 of them finished #1 in their region.  15 finished 2nd in their region.  9 finished 3rd.  Absolutely no one who finished 4th in their region tournament won a state medal.  If you know what to make of that, feel free to comment below.

Region Finish # of Medalists Percent
1st 60 71%
2nd 15 18%
3rd 9 11%
4th 0 0%


So, looking at some of these numbers from the state tournament, it’s clear that Region 5 has some major work to do if we want to knock off or even attempt to knock off the current kings of the mountain. So what can be done?

First, encourage your coaches and student athletes to keep practicing!!! The wrestling off-season is the perfect time to sharpen fundamentals and enhance ability. Many teams (including Blackman) are beginning Freestyle and Greco-Roman workouts and many others (including Blackman) are offering weekly “Fight Nights” where high school wrestlers can drop in a room and get in an hour or so of live wrestling against area competition. If your coach is a ghost during the wrestling off-season, you need to encourage him to keep something rolling! The top programs in Chattanooga are just as busy in the off-season as they are during the “in-season”.

Secondly, compete!!! If your athlete has not wrestled Freestyle and Greco, they are missing out on valuable experience.  Most of the 23 medalists I mentioned from Region 4 are all competing in Freestyle and Greco in the off-season. The TN Freestyle schedule will be out soon and will include several tournaments. The Iron Man Tournament will be held at Blackman on April 30th for one. The season culminates in a final Freestyle/Greco State tournament usually held at Summit High School. In addition to the local freestyle schedule, there are many other tournaments available to wrestle any style. Getting some out of state or national tournament experience can be so important and it’s also a fun way to experience wrestling in a different setting. For example, the NHSCA tournament in Virginia Beach, the Brute Nationals in Kansas City, or the Disney Duals offer exciting venues and great memories for high school athletes and families.

Lastly, we have to work to create a better environment for competition and cooperation amongst area schools. Friendly rivalries are fine during the season but iron sharpens iron and if your team’s philosophy is to live on an island, you’re not going to achieve to your fullest potential. Ask your coaches to have open mat nights or take advantage of other teams’ open rooms and encourage your athletes to feel comfortable asking other coaches to join their open mats and fight nights.

Congratulations to all of the wrestlers, coaches, and parents from Region 5! Without a doubt, it was a great season and despite the lack of tremendous success as a whole, it’s clear that there is huge potential…and it’s only a short distance away.

I took a few extra pics of the Region 5 guys.  I didnt get everyone though..  Check out what I have HERE.  See you on the mats!

Christian Salter gets his hand raised after a win over Karnes


Bradley Central Count 9
Tennessee Count 6
Cleveland Count 5
Beech Count 4
Gibbs Count 4
Knoxville Halls Count 3
Soddy Daisy Count 3
William Blount Count 3
Wilson Central Count 3
Brentwood Count 2
Centennial Count 2
Franklin Count 2
Heritage Count 2
Independence Count 2
Jefferson Co. Count 2
Ooltewah Count 2
Rossview Count 2
Science Hill Count 2
Stewarts Creek Count 2
Walker Valley Count 2
Anderson Co. Count 1
Arlington Count 1
Bearden Count 1
Blackman Count 1
Bolton Count 1
Dobyns Bennett Count 1
East Hamilton Count 1
Hardin Valley Count 1
Houston Count 1
John Overton Count 1
Lawrence Co. Count 1
Mt. Juliet Count 1
Northwest Count 1
Ravenwood Count 1
Rhea Co. Count 1
Riverdale Count 1
Siegel Count 1
Smyrna Count 1
Stone Memorial Count 1
Summit Count 1
Tullahoma Count 1
West Creek Count 1