Securing its second 20-win season in school history, the Walker Valley wrestling team manhandled Hixson on Tuesday. The Mustangs' 48-17 victory over the host Wildcats made them 20-3 for 2012-13.
"We had a guy out, but this is probably as close as we have come this season to having our lineup like we want it for the postseason," Walker Valley coach Alan Morris said.
While Micah Langford returned to the lineup at 160 pounds, the Mustangs are without 195-pound Billy Raulston for the next week or so with a shoulder injury.
Walker Valley, ranked 11th in the latest Tennessee prep coaches' poll, made an argument for promotion by winning 10 of the 14 bouts and earning bonus points in seven.
Leading the charge with the match's quickest pin was 220-pound Zach Miller. Recently returned from the U.S. Army football combine for juniors in San Antonio, he took just 18 seconds to stick Anthony Kring. Miller, who rushed for more than 400 yards in one game this past fall for Polk County, wrestles for the Mustangs as part of the schools' co-op program.
Heavyweight Sam Dworak also had a sub-60 pin, getting the Wildcats' Mitchell Bird in 0:51.
Other pins were recorded by Drake Haney (106), Lawrence Cotton (145), Ryan Hager (152) and Chase Gregory (182). Caleb Langford added a major decision.
"I wasn't real happy with a couple of performances, and the holidays may have played into it," Morris said. "We didn't look as conditioned as we were before Christmas, but we have time to fix that."
The Mustangs will have a couple of days off before hosting a duals tournament Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. The eight-team field consists of the Mustangs, Alcoa, Greeneville, Halls, Maryville, Maryville Heritage, Signal Mountain and Tullahoma.
Hixson dropped to 12-4 with the other three losses coming to third-ranked Soddy-Daisy, 10th-ranked Bradley Central and Gordon Lee, which shares the top seed in the Georgia Class A duals at Macon this weekend.
The Wildcats were coming off a lopsided tournament win in Greeneville, where they finished 95.5 points ahead of the runner-up hosts.
When asked if his team had its bubble burst, Hixson coach Garrick Hall shrugged, possibly because he knew beforehand what awaited his Wildcats.
"Maybe it will wake them up. We had a close match or two and won one of them, so maybe they'll start seeing and believing that working hard works," he said. "It isn't hard to get some of our guys focused, but some of the young guys are still in that middle school mindset of a short season. They've already wrestled double their number of middle schools' matches and we're just halfway through the season."
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 ...