Ravenwood battles to take third in state wrestling
By Joe Williams
After falling behind 29-4 after seven of fourteen matches Saturday in the consolation finals of the TSSAA duals wrestling championships, Ravenwood needed a near miracle to take the third spot in the state in Class AAA.
The Raptors got one, though it was more determination than miracle, as Ravenwood won the next seven straight matches, sending perennial East State power Soddy Daisy home with their hopes completely dashed.
“A bunch of our guys stepped up big,” said a hoarse Ravenwood Coach Josh Peck after the match. “It was just a team effort.”
Peck was worried after getting behind, saying he was even a bit “amazed,” that his Raptors recovered from the deficit. “We’ve always been a momentum team, whether that’s good or bad. It started off bad, but then the big guys just brought us back.”
The start was so bad that only Chris Rowland at 132-pounds was able to scratch out a victory in the first seven matches.
Taylor Warren started the second half blitzkrieg at 152-pounds, pinning Sheldon Roberson less than half-way through the match. Robin Klingensmith followed with another pin at 160 pounds, cutting the Soddy Daisy lead to 29-16.
The real momentum swing started with Alex Omessi’s near major victory at 170 against the state top ranked wrestler at that weight, Garrett Alexander, who carried a 39-3 record into the match. The win sliced the lead by another three points as momentum started to change.
The next match at 182 sent Cade Smith into the circle against Tyler Hixson, who entered the event at 34-15 on the season with 28 pins. Smith pinned Hixson twice, but neither was acknowledged. Rather than complain, Smith continued to impose his will on the opponent, winning the match 10-2 to take a major victory and tack an extra point on to the Ravenwood total, leaving the match at 29-23 with three matches to go.
With Smith setting the table, Ravenwood’s Ryan Geltch cleaned it up. Geltch, wrestling at 182 pounds, battled back and forth with Soddy’s Hunter Maynor. Geltch forced a one-minute sudden death period, ignoring a bloody nose to bring his teammates to their feet. Less than twenty-seconds in, Geltch dropped Maynor with a two-point takedown to win the match and close the deficit to 29-26.
Ravenwood took the lead on an almost anti-climatic move by Rex Shotts at 220-pounds when the Raptor pinned his opponent’s shoulders to the mat at the 45-second mark of the first round. The pin scored six points for the Raptors, giving them their first lead of the contest at 32-29 with one match remaining.
With the Raptors flying high and Soddy trying to get off their heels, Rhondell Walker entered the mat at 285 and looked like a predator hunting prey. Walker was in control for the entire 3:22 of the match before finally putting the East Tennessee representative out of their misery with a pin, handing Ravenwood a 38-29 victory.
The finish rocketed Ravenwood from ninth to fifth in the state according to the coaches poll. All of the participants are expected to see action tomorrow and Saturday in the Region 6-AAA individual qualifier at Ravenwood. The individual qualifiers advance to the state tournament next weekend at the Williamson County Ag/Expo Center.
Brentwood, BGA, BA all made the state
Brentwood got off to a good start, dropping Collierville before falling to Soddy Daisy in the second round. The Bruins made their exit just short of the consolation quarter-finals, losing to Cookeville.
In Division II, Brentwood Academy drew the tough task of opening with second ranked Father Ryan. A loss there sent them to a consolation match with St. Benedict at Auburndale, ending in the Eagles second loss and elimination.
For BGA, a run in the Division II Small School Invitational started well, sneaking away with a 36-35 victory over St. George’s. The Wildcats finished second in the invitational after falling to FRA.
Posted on: 2/6/2014