Walker Valley ran its wrestling dual-meet win streak to 13 on Friday, No. 13 coming in the championship match of Hixson's Vandergriff Duals.
The Mustangs, who last lost to Bradley Central in the Tullahoma Duals on Dec. 8, hammered handicapped Gordon Lee 53-24 for their second Vandergriff title in four years.
They won three of the 14 bouts by forfeit but also picked up pins from Logan Smith (113) Lawrence Cotton (145) and Sam Dworak (285). Zach Miller, Walker Valley's 220-pounder, also got six team points on an injury default.
The match wasn't a total loss for the Trojans, whose 195-pound Cory Jewell avenged a defeat by Billy Raulston in last week's Bradley Central Invitational finals by pinning the Mustang in 5:33.
"They pushed the pace," said Gordon Lee coach Brent Raby, who had some starters out and others out of place in the lineup. "I knew we were going to be light, and we had some rough spots today. I wanted to come to get the extra mat time. It's a good tournament, and I was pleased with the competition and the officiating."
The Trojans were making their first trip to the Vandergriff Duals but will have very little time to recoup. When they boarded the bus following the finals, they were headed directly to Atlanta to compete today in the John Maynard Duals.
"We open with Kennesaw Mountain, which is the No. 4 ranked team in [Georgia] Class 6A, and then we get the No. 2 team in the country in Brandon, Florida," Raby said.
While Gordon Lee, Georgia's top-ranked Class A team, wrestles again today, it's likely that Walker Valley coach Alan Morris will allow the Mustangs a brief respite. They aren't scheduled to wrestle again until Jan. 3 --a gainst county rival Bradley, which edged them 38-36 in Tullahoma.
"There are two halves to the season, and we ended the first half on a positive note," Morris said. "We learned to fight through adversity, and we have had guys step in at various times and do a good job."
While he was pleased with the intensity his team showed in its five Friday wins, Morris specifically pointed out Miller and Cotton.
"They stand out because they brought [their intensity] to a level where they know we're going to need to be when we get to the state tournament," he said.
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 ...