CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- In one of Tennessee's biggest dual wrestling meets of the season, second-ranked Soddy-Daisy fired on all cylinders and third-ranked Cleveland fired blanks.
The visiting Trojans smoked the defending state champions 43-15.
"There were six or seven swing matches -- matches we could have won or should have won -- and they won all six or seven," most disappointed Cleveland coach Eric Phillips said.
By a draw from a hat the meet started at 170 pounds, almost right into the teeth of the Trojans' upper-weight strengths, and they made the most of it with a 21-3 advantage. The bulk of the points came on pins from meet-opener Blaike Henry, Brett Ervin (195) and heavyweight Alex Seeley.
"We got on a roll and it snowballed," Soddy-Daisy coach Steve Henry said. "I'm always pleased to get a win. They're not just people we compete against. They're friends and that intensifies [the meet]. The gloves come off."
They did on one side anyway.
Soddy-Daisy won 10 of the 14 matches, getting an additional pin from Campbell Lewis (138) and a major decision from Josh Deckelman (126). Other Trojans winners were Gage Richmond (132), Jonah Smith (145), Turbo Smith (152) and Branndon Hunt (160). Hunt just moved into the starting lineup.
"I wasn't sure what to expect," Henry said. "That final score wasn't expected, but our guys have been moving mats the last two days getting ready for our tournament this weekend, and I'm sure some of them had sore shoulders."
He didn't want to read more into the final result than the fact that his team was more ready to wrestle on this night than the Blue Raiders.
"My head's not in the sand. I remember what happened last year," Henry said. "We beat Bradley [Central] during the season and what happened at the state [duals]?"
Bradley blistered the Trojans at Franklin and eventually won another state duals championship.
"I'm glad it's January," Phillips said. "Getting beat is one thing, but I never expected that. Hopefully we can prove we're tougher than we demonstrated tonight. No excuses. Soddy-Daisy went out, wrestled well and wrestled hard."
The Blue Raiders' four winners were Chris Debien (106), Austin Stevison (113) and Austin Oliver (120), each by major decision, and Jesse Jones (182).
"Soddy-Daisy wrestled great," Phillips said. "They wrestled hard and they wrestled like they cared about each other. We will right the ship and we will fight. We can wrestle with anybody."
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 ...
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