Christian Brothers blew out to a big lead, then had to gather itself for a final push Friday in slipping past Soddy-Daisy in a clash of Tennessee high school wrestling titans.
The second-ranked Purple Wave from Memphis, ahead at one juncture by 16 points, fell behind 27-25 with two matches two go and won both to hand No. 5 Soddy-Daisy its first loss of the season.
The final score was 31-27.
Both teams will be in action most of the day today along with top-ranked Cleveland, third-ranked Father Ryan, Baylor and McCallie at the annual Cleveland duals. That tournament is scheduled to begin on six mats at 9 a.m. with the last two teams standing battling for the championship at 6 p.m.
Friday's victory was the third for Christian Brothers but the first real challenge the Purple Wave have faced. They beat both Collierville and Cordova by nearly 70 points and then put 11 in the championship finals in winning the Blackhorse Invitational tournament last weekend.
Christian Brothers turned to its veterans to edge the Trojans. Defending state champ and Arizona State signee Kaleb Baker dominated Turbo Smith in a 6-1 victory at 152 pounds that put the Wave back in the lead at 28-27, and Luke Parrish then iced the victory by pinning Branndon Hunt.
Soddy-Daisy split with the other half of the Brothers' big four to open the meet. Soddy-Daisy's Garrett Alexander pulled out a 1-0 victory over Brandon Hataway at 170 pounds, but James Walthall, somehow avoiding a close pinning combination, turned the tables on the Trojans' Blaike Henry, a 2012 state finalist, in a wild 17-16 match.
"I thought Blaike was very, very close to having that pin," Soddy-Daisy coach Jim Higgins said.
It is, though, early in the year and neither Christian Brothers nor Soddy-Daisy is close to having lineups set.
"They're what they always are -- strong competition," Higgins said.
"This is why we come here every year -- to wrestle good people," said CBHS coach Chris Lewis. "To get a win on their home floor is big. But they're better than they think they are. They're going to be fine when they get everybody slotted."
The Purple Wave also are wrestling most guys up a weight class from where they'll be after Christmas.
Among Soddy-Daisy's big wins were pins by freshman Tucker Russo (126) and sophomore Austin Williamson (138).
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 ...