published Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Soddy-Daisy Trojans, Cleveland Blue Raiders are region wrestling favorites

Soddy-Daisy's Jacob Stevens, right, controls Cleveland's Austin Stevison in a match at Soddy-Daisy in this file photo.
Soddy-Daisy's Jacob Stevens, right, controls Cleveland's Austin Stevison in a match at Soddy-Daisy in this file photo.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

It could be rebound and rampage wrestling this weekend for area high school powers.

Soddy-Daisy hopes to rebound from a third-place state duals finish and regain its form in the Region 4 wrestling tournament at Ooltewah. Cleveland, meanwhile, will be at the Region 3 tournament at William Blount in Maryville and looking to continue its state duals rampage that led to a 78-4 finals victory.

"I think we have a good shot," Soddy-Daisy coach Jim Higgins said of his Trojans, the Region 4 favorites with seven No. 1 seeds. "At the same time we got kicked in the butt a little last week, so we'll have to work a little harder. Still, I think we can pull it off."

Soddy-Daisy fell shy of an anticipated finals rematch with Cleveland after Higgins dismissed three starters from the team before the duals started.

"I'm looking for some distractions this week," he said. "Our kids battled through a tough situation last week, and I know their minds are probably still on it, at least a little bit. I want them to remember that wrestling isn't all there is in life."

The top-seeded Trojans this weekend are James McClure (106 pounds), Austin Houser (113), Jacob Stevens (120), Tucker Russo (126), Austin Williamson (138), Garrett Alexander (170) and Blaike Henry (182). Others accorded No. 1 seeds are Hixson's Landon Goforth (132), Notre Dame's Michael Labbe (160), Central's Michael Frazy (145) and Larry Dickerson (152) and the East Ridge trio of Brandon Cantrell (195), C.J. Baker (220) and Will Garner (285).

Cleveland was accorded eight No. 1 seeds in Region 3, and all 14 of the Blue Raiders are expected to move on to the traditional state tournament Feb. 14-16 in Franklin.

Can Jake Yost's Blue Raiders continue the onslaught of last weekend, when they won 47 of 51 individual matches?

"If you think about it like that you're setting yourself up for failure," Yost said. "You have to think about it like you want to go out and compete to the best of your ability. That's what we were thinking about last weekend, but the goal is to compete at your highest level and I think some of our haves have more to give. I think we can legitimately improve. We still have goals we want to reach."

His eight top seeds are Chris Debien (113), Austin Stevison (120), Austin Oliver (126), Haden Hamilton (132), Joel Simpkins (145), Josh Hamilton (152), Aaron Lopez (160) and Ethan West (182). Other No. 1 seeds are Bradley Central's Toribio Navarro (106), Walker Valley's Caleb Langford (138) and Billy Raulston (195), Maryville's Chad Solomon (170), William Blount's T.J. Satterfield (220) and Maryville Heritage heavyweight Joey Evans.

Heritage suffered a couple of setbacks over the weekend, losing team captain Skyler Boring (145) to an ankle injury and Keagan Matlock (170-182) to a knee problem.

The Region 4 tournament at Ooltewah will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday and continue through the championship quarterfinals and two rounds of consolations. They'll resume at 10 a.m. Saturday with the semifinals on two mats and consolations beginning on a third mat. Tournament officials believe they'll start the championship and consolation finals at 2 p.m. Price of admission is $8 per person per day.

Region 3 will begin wrestling at 6:30 Friday and run through the semifinals that night. They'll start at 11 a.m. Saturday with finals scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

about Ward Gossett...

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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