published Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Signal Mountain wrestlers have shot at state duals spot

The Signal Mountain wrestling team is coming off a disappointing finish in the East Hamilton Invitational. The program still is looking for its first tournament championship after finishing second to Dalton.

However, the Eagles remain unbeaten in dual meets (9-0) and in the hunt for a berth in the A/AA state duals.

"They guys are working hard and I feel like they're going in the right direction," Eagles coach Joe Jellison said.

The season's big test comes Friday when they travel to Hixson. That 6 p.m. meet will be for that state duals berth.

"It seems like Hixson has a young team but a fairly good guy at every weight," Jellison said. "We are probably going to have to look at matchups and shift some people in order to keep it close."

Signal already has a win over Red Bank and placed fifth in the Ooltewah Invitational, second in Chattanooga Christian's Charger Invitational and second at East Hamilton. The Eagles' biggest accomplishment likely came at the Soddy-Daisy Showdown, where they finished 10th in a field dominated by AAA powerhouses.

The Eagles, who will wrestle at East Ridge on Thursday, are led by Cale Shelton (170) and Micah Pressley (220).

Tyner duo faring well

Tyner twins Hunter and Chase Daugherty are making names for themselves while targeting berths in the first A/AA state tournament.

Hunter (145) is 26-3 and Chase (152) is 26-4. They earned their first championships last weekend at East Hamilton and now have six 2013-14 medals between them.

The two attend Arts & Sciences but wrestle with Tyner thanks to the TSSAA's co-op program.

"They're good. They're tough. They'll give you a battle for the whole six minutes," Tyner coach Wayne Turner said. "There's no quit in either one of them, and you get your money's worth from them every day in practice. Some of the kids don't like to work out with them because they are gung-ho.

"I think both should be state qualifiers, especially now that the state has split Triple-A and A/Double-A, but I think they would've been state qualifiers without the split."

Cleveland back on top

Cleveland has returned to the top spot in the Tennessee coaches' poll.

The Blue Raiders, who won Brentwood's G.P. West Invitational last weekend, regained the No. 1 spot after a win over Bradley Central and Baylor's loss last Thursday to Father Ryan.

Ryan is second and Baylor third in the latest ranking. Wilson Central is fourth, Bradley fifth, Soddy-Daisy sixth, McCallie seventh, Ravenwood eighth and Montgomery Bell Academy ninth. Walker Valley is tied for 10th with Blackman, and Christian Brothers is No. 12.

With all 14 wrestlers getting medals, Cleveland ran up 271.5 points and got individual championships from Colton Landers (106), Chris Debien (126), Austin Stevison (132), Josh Hamilton (170) and Ethan West (195).

McCallie was second with 181.5 points, with Ravenwood, Blackman and Clarksville third through fifth. The Blue Tornado finished with six finalists and three champions: Ethan Dendy (120), Adam Connell (138) and Nathan Hoodenpyle (182).

Mocs' freshmen shine

True freshmen played a big part in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's fifth-place finish in the Virginia Duals over the weekend.

Mike Pongracz (141) and Scottie Boykin (197) each went 4-1, and heavyweight Dawson Peck went 5-0.

"Dawson did a great job," coach Heath Eslinger said of Peck, who just joined the Mocs last week as a transfer from Virginia Tech. "He fits in well and he's going to be a great addition this year and for the future."

Eslinger said 149-pound Shawn Greevy may not wrestle Sunday when the Mocs visit Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Greevy suffered a sprained MCL this past weekend. If he's unable to go, the spot likely would be filled by Austin Sams.

Baylor third in Bama

After being forced to wrestle Father Ryan and MBA on Thursday, Baylor wrestled seven meets in the Alabama Duals over the weekend and finished third.

The Red Raiders had their schedule completed -- including the Alabama tournament -- when they were told they would have to wrestle Ryan and MBA for seeding purposes for the Tennessee state duals and the traditional Division II state tournament -- in spite of the first-year state qualifier Baylor is scheduled to host before the month is out.

The Red Raiders beat Oxford 59-12, Gulf Breeze 64-16, Mountain Brook 66-6, Calera 78-3, James Clemens 66-16, Mountain Brook 68-9 and Oak Mountain 59-15 before losing to Jesuit, 36-34. They then defeated Buckhorn 48-22.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.

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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