After a disappointing performance on opening day of the TSSAA State Duals, Blackman hoped that day number two would be different. Thankfully it was!
The Blaze arrived to the Ag Center at 7am to prepare for weigh ins. Shortly after everyone weighed in, Coach Bray got the guys together to have a meeting and a “pep talk”. Whatever he said in that meeting should be bottled and sold because the Blaze truly came out on fire and ready to wrestle!!
The match with Mt. Juliet looked very tough on paper. Mt. Juliet has a terribly strong core group and they have been improving much over the last couple of seasons. They certainly pass the look test. In their first match, the Golden Bears gave eventual third place Tennessee High all they wanted in a contest that went all the way to the last match. Tennessee won the match by a three point margin 38-35.
Blackman’s first match started with Blackman heavyweight Jamil Hughes. Jamil made a small mistake and gave the bench a scare when he gave up the first takedown. He recovered quickly and after securing the escape, he took the Mt. Juliet wrestler down straight to his back and got the pin with 1 second left! Mt. Juliet forfeited at 106 and after the first two weight classes, the score was Blackman 12 – Mt Juliet 0. At 113, Wiley Van Voorst game out guns blazing and within 5 seconds he himself a takedown. It didn’t take long for him to turn his opponent and he got a nice pin! Liam Elam wasn’t going to let Wiley have all the fun. Liam and Mt. Juliet’s Christopher Miller went back and forth for almost 2 and a half periods. Both wrestlers were on their backs at one point or another but Liam had the gas and with one minute left in the match, he hit a seat belt and pinned Miller!! Score at this point – Blackman 24 – Mt Juliet 0.
At 126, Daniel Bradford faced off against Austin Plymlee. Plymlee is a very accomplished wrestler and his matchup with Bradford was much anticipated. Bradford gave up the first takedown early in the 1st period but was able to manage a reversal before the period ended. In the second, they started neutral and as they struggled for angles and position, Bradford hit a nice throw which ended up with Plymlee on his back. After a struggle, Bradford got the pin at 3:02 in the match! At 132, Mt. Juliet scored their first points of the dual as Cole Lukens got caught in a mean spladle and ended up pinned. Brooks Sacharczyk had a tough match with Donovan Henry at 138 which resulted in a 3-0 decision for Brooks. Henry is strong and athletic and Brooks had his hands full keeping him from scoring any points! At 145, Jalen Brown was set to face Mt. Juliet stud Zackrey Wilkins. Wilkins is ranked #3 at 145 but Brown didn’t seem to notice. Jalen came out of the gate on fire with shots and reshots. As he was working for the takedown, he lifted Wilkins in the air and wasn’t able to control the return to the mat. Wilkins took a hard return to the mat and Brown was called for an illegal move. Because Wilkins could not continue, Brown was disqualified. At this point, the match score was Blackman 33-12. At 152, Landon Fowler hit a super nice ankle pick on Steven Weist to open the scoring. Weist wasted no time in getting the escape but Fowler wasn’t done scoring. Landon scored the next takedown as well before turning Weist and pinning him late in the 1st period. At 160, Matthew Sells faced 6th ranked Dylan Quinn. Quinn is also an athletic kid and he gave Sells a workout! Matthew scored the first takedown and stayed on the gas. Quinn wouldn’t go down without a fight and at one point scored a reversal on Sells on the edge of the circle. In the end Sells prevailed with an 8-3 decision which put the Blaze ahead 42-12. With a 30 point lead, Coach Bray decided to forfeit out the remaining weight classes, 170, 182, 195, & 220. FINAL SCORE – Blackman 42 – Mt. Juliet 36.
While the win over Mt. Juliet was not totally unexpected, the margin of victory was. The way the Blaze handled themselves was remarkable! Creating synergy is a tough job and today Blackman found some!!
The win moved Blackman into an 11:00am match with Wilson Central. Central has been a powerhouse for the last few years and it’s been a while since the Blaze had a win over them. The match started at 106 with Evan Smart grinding out a much needed 10-9 deciion over Grant Fetters. Central got on the board next with two pins in a row over Wiley Van Voorst and Liam Elam. At 126, Daniel Bradford earned a hard fought decision over Central senior Sean Sesnan. Sean and Daniel are both great competitors and they gave the fans a great match which Bradford won 4-2. Central won the next two matches with a win at 132 over Lukens and an overtime win over 138 pound Sacharczyk. Jalen Brown had another good showing against 145 pound Prentice Belcher. Brown won the match by decision 6-2. The 152 pound match also went into overtime and for the second time, the Blaze didn’t get the win. Gabe Gomez wrestled a tough match but didn’t have enough gas to get the takedown in the overtime period. At this point in the match, the score was Blackman 9 – Central 24. Central gave forfeits to Fowler at 152 and Sells at 160 which brought the score to 21-24 Wildcats. At 182, Smith pinned Ryan Heath and Noga pinned Spencer Layne. Dylan Heath earned a pin of his own at 220 but it was already too late. Coach Bray gave Kramer the forfeit at 285 and Central won the match 42-27.
Although Blackman was eliminated from the tournament, it was hard not to notice how the team came together and fought past a poor showing on the first day. Wrestling teaches young men how to overcome adversity and our guys are absolutely learning.
Blackman finishes the season 25-5 and firmly a top 12 team in Division 1. This was the team’s 8th state duals appearance in the last 10 years.. It’s a great accomplishment considering how young our team is and how many guys we have lost. It’s now time to get focused on individuals for the region and state tournaments! Region tournament begins Friday at Tullahoma. Do your best to come and support the Blaze!!
Pictures from the TSSAA State Duals Tournament will be up soon.
Blackman 42 – Mt. Juliet 36
285 – Jamil Hughes (Blackman) over Bryan Horner (Mt. Juliet) Fall 1:59
106 – Evan Smart (Blackman) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
113 – Wiley Van Voorst (Blackman) over Gabe Tracy (Mt. Juliet) Fall 0:41
120 – Liam Elam (Blackman) over Christopher Miller (Mt. Juliet) Fall 5:00
126 – Daniel Bradford (Blackman) over Austin Plymlee (Mt. Juliet) Fall 3:02
132 – Jalen Henry (Mt. Juliet) over Cole Lukens (Blackman) Fall 0:21
138 – Brooks Sacharczyk (Blackman) over Donovan Henry (Mt. Juliet) Dec 3-0
145 – Zackrey Wilkins (Mt. Juliet) over Jalen Brown (Blackman) DQ
152 – Landon Fowler (Blackman) over Steven Weist (Mt. Juliet) Fall 1:50
160 – Matthew Sells (Blackman) over Dylan Quinn (Mt. Juliet) Dec 8-3
170 – Zack Garringer (Mt. Juliet) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
182 – Christopher Humpherys (Mt. Juliet) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
195 – Nathan Walling (Mt. Juliet) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
220 – Daniel Smith (Mt. Juliet) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
Blackman 27 – Wilson Central 42
106 – Evan Smart (Blackman) over Grant Fetters (Wilson Central) Dec 10-9
113 – Gage Bachus (Wilson Central) over Wiley Van Voorst (Blackman) Fall 0:54
120 – Thomas Oakley (Wilson Central) over Liam Elam (Blackman) Fall 0:42
126 – Daniel Bradford (Blackman) over Sean Sesnan (Wilson Central) Dec 4-2
132 – Simon Pergande (Wilson Central) over Cole Lukens (Blackman) Fall 0:49
138 – Alex Pergande (Wilson Central) over Brooks Sacharczyk (Blackman) SV-1 4-2
145 – Jalen Brown (Blackman) over Prentice Belcher (Wilson Central) Dec 6-2
152 – Matthew Hester (Wilson Central) over Anthony Gomez (Blackman) SV-1 7-5
160 – Landon Fowler (Blackman) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
170 – Matthew Sells (Blackman) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
182 – Damon Smith (Wilson Central) over Ryan Heath (Blackman) Fall 1:12
195 – Niko Noga (Wilson Central) over Spencer Layne (Blackman) Fall 0:54
220 – Dylan Heath (Blackman) over Aundres` Trotter (Wilson Central) Fall 2:32
285 – Michael Kramer (Wilson Central) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf