CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Still adjusting to a power drain at the top of the lineup, Soddy-Daisy started with the middle and then turned to the little to turn back an intense Walker Valley upset bid.
The visiting Trojans wrestlers, gearing up for a Friday home meet with top-ranked Christian Brothers, rallied with four straight lower-weight victories for a 43-28 victory Tuesday.
"The biggest win? Making it out of here alive. That's impressive in and of itself," Soddy-Daisy coach Jim Higgins said. "We wrestled hard in places and not so hard in places."
The Trojans are still adjusting to life without 220-pound Billy Swanson and heavyweight Alex Seeley, both four-year starters and both considered rally-killers for at least the last two years.
In a meet that began at 132 pounds, Soddy-Daisy found itself down 3-0 after Tyrus Hamrick survived a scoring free-for-all with Alex Oliver. The Trojans rallied with three straight pins from middleweights Sheldon Roberson, Gage Richmond and Turbo Smith to go up 18-3 but then fell behind 28-24 on the strength of pins from Billy Raulston (195) and heavyweight Samuel Dworak and a major decision by Zack Miller (220).
Trojans 106-pounder Jacob McClure tied it at 28 with a major decision, and teammate Mason Blevins survived a rough third period at 113 pounds to put his team up 31-28. It was left to a veteran, 120-pound Jacob Stevens, to put the match away, and he did so with a 60-second pin. Just for exclamation, 126-pound Tucker Russo added a first-period pin.
The Trojans, currently ranked No. 2 in the state, had two starters (Jonah Smith at 132 and Josh Deckelman at 138) out of the lineup, each dealing with weight or weight descent issues and probably more with an eye on the Christian Brothers matchup.
Walker Valley, which won six of the 14 bouts, was without Caleb Langford at 145. His potential bout with Richmond would have been a meet highlight.
"They came to wrestle and certainly didn't give us any respect," Higgins said.
"I don't think any coach is ever going to be happy losing a match, but there are a lot of positives we can take from this," Walker Valley coach Alan Morris said. "We got some wins, but most all of our guys gave a lot of fight."
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 ...