Region 4 wrestling coaches didn't come out in unison to hand Soddy-Daisy this weekend's championship. but actions occasionally do speak louder than words.
The coaches accorded Soddy-Daisy 10 finalist spots in the region seeding meeting Monday. Ooltewah was second with five.
The tournament is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Friday at East Hamilton. Weigh-ins are at 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday. Friday's rounds will carry through at least one round of consolations. Saturday's wrestling resumes at 10 a.m., and the teams will wrestle straight through the consolation and championship finals.
"I know maybe it sounds stupid, but I really wasn't even keeping up with it," Soddy-Daisy coach Steve Henry said about the voting. "After looking at it, I felt we might could have a couple more No. 1 seeds."
Much depends on how the Trojans react after their disappointing state duals championship showing against Bradley Central.
"They admitted they were feeling the pressure [in the duals finals], but then we also discussed some discipline issues," Henry said. "We talked, lifted weights and then ran three miles."
The Trojans had four top-seeded wrestlers: two-time state champion Campbell Lewis at 130 pounds, Jacob Stevens (112), Turbo Smith (152) and Brett Ervin (189).
Other No. 1 seeds are Ooltewah's Tyler Harvey (125), Goose Manning (171) and Jay Rudwall (215); Hixson's Gary Cosey (140) and Justin Mathieson (160); Red Bank's Chris Palacio (103) and Logan Sharp (145); Notre Dame's Jack Boone (119); Signal Mountain's Logan Henley (135); and Silverdale Baptist's Josh Mackey (285).
Soddy-Daisy's No. 2 seeds are Jonah Smith (103), Kyle Eustice (119), Jacob Adams (135), Blaike Henry (171), Billy Swanson (215) and Alex Seeley (285). The other second-seeded wrestlers are Signal's Brock Pressley (160); Tyner's DeAngelo James (112); Central's Cody Stacks (125), Zac Fordham (140) and Larry Dickerson (152); Notre Dame's Grayson Mullin (130); and Ooltwah's Matt Sealor (145) and Lamech Jones (189).
Ooltewah coach Wendell Weathers has had plenty of time and fuel to promote the Owls' underdog role, at least within the confines of their wrestling room. Three of the region teams were in the state duals: Soddy-Daisy, which finished second in Class AAA; Central, which won Class A/AA; and Hixson, which lost to Central.
"Ooltewah is a sleeper to some of these teams," Henry said. "Maybe people have written them off, but I'll tell everybody, 'Don't turn your back on them.' I think they are at worst our primary challenger."
Weathers said it had been hard to keep his guys excited and focused.
"We've been in the wrestling room, and it will be more than two weeks since we have wrestled by the time the region gets here," he said. "I know our kids are tired of practicing, although we have had some extremely intense practices."
The tournament includes a handful of undefeated wrestlers, including Tyner's James (38-0), Signal Mountain's Henley (30-0) and Hixson's Mathieson (10-0).
The top four wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the traditional state tournament Feb. 17-19 at Franklin.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...