The 2017 TSSAA State Wrestling Championships will begin this afternoon in Franklin at the Williamson County Expo Center. Blackman qualified nine wrestlers at last weekend’s Region 5-AAA tournament and those guys are all hoping to put an exclamation point at the end of their season.
We will take a quick look below at each of Blackman’s state qualifiers. For a list of Every Blackman state qualifier from all-time, click HERE.
106 POUNDS – EVAN SMART
Sophomore Evan Smart has impressed this season on his way to compiling a 26-16 record. He placed 4th at the region tournament with pins over Coffee County and Smyrna. Evan will be making his first trip to state and his draw is a tough one. He will face Gabe O’Callaghan from Bartlett. They have wrestled before with O’Callaghan winning the first meeting between the two. Evan has improved much this season and if he works to score early, he has a good chance to advance. -106 Pound Bracket HERE-
132 POUNDS – DANIEL BRADFORD
Region champion Daniel Bradford has made quite a splash in his first season at Blackman. He is a Junior with a record of 40-6 and he has gained a ton of confidence and experience this season. Daniel got a great draw in the bracket and ended up in the 4th seed spot. He will face Darion Milner from Kingsbury High School in his first round match. Milner placed 4th at the region 8 tournament. Assuming Bradford wins that match, we expect him to face returning medalist Landon Adzima from Gibbs. That match should be winnable for him if he stays on offense and forces his opponent to defend his shots. And along those same lines, if everything goes well, we think Bradford has a good chance of seeing Bradley’s Ryan McElhaney in the semi-finals. -132 Pound Bracket HERE-
138 POUNDS – BROOKS SACHARCZYK
At 138, Region 5-AAA champion Brooks Sacharczyk is only one of three freshman in the 138 pound bracket. Sacharczyk has made quite a name for himself this season by putting up a very solid 35-11 record. He has beaten several quality opponents and his off-season training makes him much more lethal than what the casual observer may expect. Brooks will face Powell freshman Josh Hanson in his first match at state. We expect a victory in this match which will set up a likely meeting with senior Nicholas Freeman from Ravenwood. The match is not a given but we think Sacharczyk can prevail. If so, he will likely face Cleveland Junior Cody Matthews in the quarter-finals. -138 Pound Bracket HERE-
145 POUNDS – JALEN BROWN
Jalen Brown will have to have a perfect evening Thursday night to make it unscathed into Friday. Brown is 35-12 this season and he ended up with a tough draw which put him near the top of the bracket….. and one match away from #1 seed, Knox Fuller. Jalen’s first round match will be against Centennial’s Keifer Bangham. Bangham is tough and took third in his region and should give Brown a solid effort. We think the match is winnable for Jalen and a good warm up for the rematch between him and Fuller. Fuller owned the first meeting between the two and is the favorite. However, Brown has a mean top game and could pull off the upset! -145 pound bracket HERE-
152 POUNDS – LANDON FOWLER
Landon Fowler won his second Region 5 Championship last weekend and moved to 43-3. This weekend he hopes to earn a second state medal to go along with one that he already has. In order to get there, the Blaze sophomore is going to have to beat at least a couple of returning state medalists. Fowler’s bracket has 6 former state medalists and 4 of them are in the top side. Fowler’s first match will be against Kenwood’s Bryan Tucker. Assuming he wins that match, he will likely face Jay Graham from Rhea County. Graham placed 4th last year at 152 and will not go down easily. If Fowler wins that match, he will likely face Bryson Henley from Tennessee High. Henly was 5th at 145 last season and only has a handful of losses this season. We expect Landon to see Beech State Champion Trevor Rippy in the semi-finals. Rippy and Fowler are both accomplished and the match should be a great one. Judging by what we have seen from Fowler this season, he has a great chance to upset the defending state champ. -152 pound bracket here-
160 POUNDS – MATTHEW SELLS
Defending state champion and four time region champ Matthew Sells will have his work cut out for him this season at state. Sells is 44-0 and the #1 seed at 160. A quick look at his bracket reveals that most of the toughest kids at 160 are with him in the top half of the bracket. In his first match, he will face Tennessee High’s Will Poore. Poore is a senior and like all Tennessee High wrestlers, he will put up a good fight. Assuming a positive outcome, the second match on Thursday night is a tossup between Cleveland freshman Zach Brezna or Seymour sophomore Ryan Breeden. Matthew is expected to win both matches. Friday the competition will get more fierce. We expect a Friday morning quarter-final match with either Hunters Lane senior Kamale Strong or Mt. Juliet Sophomore Dylan Quinn. Either match will be a test for Sells. -160 Pound Bracket HERE-
182 POUNDS – SPENCER LAYNE
Blackman sophomore Spencer Layne will be making his first trip to state. He placed third in the region tournament and compiled a 24-14 record. Like several of our younger guys, he has really matured this season and proven that he can win big matches. Spencer’s first match will be against Brentwood junior CJ Grissim. Grissim is tough and placed second at his region tournament. Spencer will need to wrestle up to his potential like he has been if he wants to get the win. If he defeats Grissim, he will likely face Wes Brown from Science Hill in his second round match. -182 Pound Bracket HERE-
220 POUNDS – DYLAN HEATH
Blackman senior Dylan Heath placed 3rd in the region tournament and has a record of 28-12. He will face off against Hardin Valley sophomore Keenan Sloan in his first match every at the state tournament. Heath has made quite the decent from his days playing football and over the last few weeks, he has been becoming more and more familiar with his new 220 pound frame. He has a great shot of winning his first match and then things may get tough. His second match should be against #2 seed Ty Boeck from Soddy Daisy. Boeck is a returning state medalist and deserves attention but as we all know, upper weights are a different ball game. If Heath plays his cards right, he could upset Boeck. -220 Pound Bracket HERE-
285 POUNDS – JAMIL HUGHES
Junior Jamil Hughes has made big gains as we have approached the end of the season. He has steered himself to a 25-9 record and has beaten several quality opponents. He was third in the region with his only loss to Riverdale’s Nick Boykin. Jamil’s first trip to state should be a good one!! His first match will be against Derrick Debusk from Knoxville Central. If Hughes makes it past Debusk, he will see #2 seed Michael Kramer from Wilson Central. Kramer is a quality opponent and it will take a lions effort to defeat him. However, Hughes has shown that he has a lions heart and he is surely capable of the upset. Either way, we expect him to battle and shock the world! -285 Pound Bracket HERE-
No matter what happens, its going to be a great weekend of wrestling!! Get yourself to the Expo Center in Franklin and come support the Blaze!!!