With the 2020 TSSAA State Wrestling Championships upon us, it's time for my second annual weight-by-weight break down!
The state tournament will include 75 Williamson County wrestlers across the three classifications and in the girls tournament. This comprehensive summary includes the 73 male wrestlers competing on the state stage and also highlights local favorites in Class AAA, Class A-AA and Division II.
I also try my hand and picking state champions across each division. Be sure to follow coverage through the tournament online!
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Freshman Russell Ford of Independence has produced a 48-7 record this season for the Eagles. The youngster captured the Region 7-AAA title with a 5-2 decision over sophomore Owen Gobel of Franklin. Ford begins his first state tournament Thursday against Houston’s Connor Baltz. Two wins would line up Ford with state favorite Ethan Wilson, who took fourth last year.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Franklin’s Gobel went 1-2 in his state debut last year as a freshman. He placed fifth at the Johnny Drennan Invitational in January and claimed the title at the Franklin Rebel Invitational as well, where he beat another qualifier in Page’s O’Neal Sebastian. A pair of freshman are looking to make some noise in Class A-AA in Fairview’s Josh Helm and Nolensville’s Cole Dorsett. Both finished runner-up at regionals.
State title picks: AAA – Ethan Wilson, Cleveland; A-AA – Caleb Uhorchuk, Signal Mountain; DII – Nick Cordey, Baylor.
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Brentwood Academy’s Tre McTorry is just an eighth grader, but considered a contender in Division II. Eagles coach Scott Wells says the youngster is experienced despite being just in the 8th grade and could challenge Baylor sophomore Jackson Bond if the two meet in the final. McTorry comes from a wrestling family, which includes his dad, who went on to wrestle at Nebraska. The youngster debuts Friday against junior Matthew Tieng of Knoxville Webb.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: A trio of competitors in Class AAA finished Nos. 2-4 at the Region 7-AAA tournament Saturday, led by Summit’s runner-up Jackson Masters (29-7). Page’s Thomas Brown (28-7) took third at the regional, while Brentwood’s Patton Bailey battled into the true fourth place match to qualify with back-to-back pins.
State title picks: AAA – Thomas Borders, Wilson Central; A-AA – Gregory Gomez, MLK; DII – Tre McTorry, BA.
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: There’s two here in Centennial senior Dylan Ables and Independence sophomore Timothy Ford. These two have battled into overtime in multiple matches this season with the latest meeting swaying in favor of the veteran Ables, who captured his first Region 7-AAA championship Saturday over Ford. The two are competing in a loaded AAA bracket with seven returning medalists, but both are eyeing the podium Saturday. “I’m really, really hungry to place,” said Ables, who qualified for state at 113 last year. The senior opens with Walker Valley senior Alex McCord Thursday, while Ford battles Science Hill senior Giovanni Demetrikopolos.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Joining Ables and Ford in AAA is Summit sophomore Austin Grooters, who took third at the regional. In Class A-AA, Fairview senior Zach Derrick will represent, along with Nolensville freshman Tate Crowell. Derrick has a potential semifinal meeting against two-time state champion Daniel Uhorchuk of Signal Mountain. In Division II, Brentwood Academy freshman Jack Ward, a regional runner-up, will also represent.
State title picks: AAA – Trey Bates, Beech; A-AA Daniel Uhorchuk, Signal Mountain; DII – Jack Braman, McCallie.
Riley Bennett has reached the state final in back-to-back years for the Fairview wrestling t…
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Nolensville junior Riley Lippincott was my wrestler to watch at 106 last year and went on to take third. Up a few weights this year, Lippincott has helped lead the Knights again. He can run into Fairview sophomore Blake Mitchell in the second round and seems poised for a championship berth. He didn’t give up a point in streak spanning a couple weekends, which included a tournament championship at the Franklin Invitational. The Region 3 champ wrestles Upperman freshman Jacob Watkins Friday.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Centennial junior Presley Dittmer leads a trio of qualifiers in Class AAA. The former Indy grappler claimed his first Region 7-AAA title Saturday with a major decision over Jacob Gifford (33-5) of Page. The two have had a couple battles and split this season. Summit junior Austin Noll added a third-place showing at the regional. Gifford faces a tough battle early with a potential matchup against Rossview’s Samuel Shires in the second round. Shires took third at 113 last season. Dittmer could run into favorite Trae McDaniel of Cleveland in the quarterfinals. McDaniel was champion at 106 last year and the runner-up there in 2018.
State title picks: AAA – Trae McDaniel, Cleveland; A-AA – Riley Lippincott, Nolensville; DII – Emory Taylor, McCallie.
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Centennial senior Leo Gearheart produced his first Region 7-AAA title Saturday and is looking to keep that momentum going into the state tournament. Gearheart settled for fifth in the regional last year, missing state but has produced a solid senior season. He opens Thursday against Soddy-Daisy senior Jacob Allen and could face two-time medalist Franky Medina of Riverdale in the second round.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Franklin junior Gabriel Green captured third at the regional Saturday, while Brentwood senior Kizer Hensley captured a state berth by winning the true fourth place match in the adjusted tournament format at the regional. If both could reach the quarterfinals, the two would run into the Nos. 1- and 2-ranked wrestlers in the weight class. Also competing at 132 is Brentwood Academy sophomore Riley Clark, who faces returning three-time state champion Noah Horst of Baylor in the first round Friday.
State title picks: AAA – Ethan Moore, Rossview; A-AA – George Gillman, Gibbs; DII – Noah Horst, Baylor.
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Riley Bennett of Fairview has finished runner-up at the state tournament in back-to-back seasons. The junior returns to the state stage with just three losses this season. Bennett fell to Union County’s Jake Insko in the quarterfinals at the Johnny Drennan Invitational at Father Ryan and again in the the third place match. The Kentucky standout, who lost to eventual champion Christian Isbell of Clarksville in the championship, posted a 9-4 decision in the first meeting with Bennett and earned a third-round pin in the second go-around. Bennett could battle Pigeon Forge’s Garrett Foreman in the final. The two met in the semis at 126 last year with Bennett scoring a pin in the final seconds to advance to the title match.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Nolensville senior Jacob Vogelpohl will also represent in A-AA. He placed sixth at 113 as a sophomore and could potentially run into Foreman in the semis. In Class AAA, Tanner Willett of Independence (47-5) and Will Parcel of Page (28-15) will represent. Willett enters as the fifth-ranked wrestler in AAA.
State title picks: AAA – Christian Isbell, Clarksville; A-AA Riley Bennett, Fairview; DII – Garrison Dendy, Baylor.
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Junior Alex Ables placed sixth at 132 last season for Centennial and returns to the state stage with just one loss. That setback came against fellow state title contender Thomas Williams of Rossview, a 5-3 overtime decision in January. “I’m not satisfied with just placing this year,” Ables said. “I want to be a state champ.” The junior could get his rematch with Williams if both reach the semifinals, but another returning medalist in Lebanon’s Eli Clemmons could be waiting in the quarterfinals as well. Ables opens Thursday against Houston freshman Henry Tate.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Joining Ables on the AAA stage will be Brentwood’s Cooper Finch (35-6), who fell by a 4-1 decision to Ables in the region championship Saturday, as well as Page’s Dylan Miller (34-11), who took fourth at the regional. Finch, a senior, could see Wilson Central returning medalist Steven Fisak in the quarterfinals. Fisak took fourth at 126 last year, but fell by decision to Finch earlier this year. In A-AA, Fairview freshman Malachi Bennett will make his state debut. The younger brother of two-time runner-up Riley Bennett, has produced a 49-10 record this year. Nolensville senior Sean Allen is also in the field, while Brentwood Academy freshman Quinn Rosenbaugh is the representative in Division II.
State title picks: AAA – Alex Ables, Centennial; A-AA – Kodiak Cannedy, Greeneville; DII – Evan Anthony, Christian Brothers.
A handful of Williamson County wrestlers are leading contenders for state titles at the TSSA…
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Nolensville senior Gavin Channell (34-10) will battle in a tough division that features five returning medalists. Channell took fifth at 145 last year and is coming off a Region 3 championship. Also moving up a weight is Pigeon Forge sophomore Colby Dalon, who won 145 last year. Channell opens Friday against Tyner Academy freshman Demetri Lovick and could face the winner of Gibbs junior John Pittman and Alcoa senior Ryan Wimbley in the semifinals. Both are two-time state medalists with Wimbley taking fourth at 145 a year ago. Dalon sits on the opposite side of the bracket.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Ken Curtis of Fairview joins Channell in A-AA. The freshman helped the Yellow Jackets take second in the state duals earlier this month and likely will see a stiff test in the second round against Whitwell senior Jacob Roberts, who took sixth at 170 last year. Centennial junior Ethan Duck (46-8) leads a trio of qualifiers in AAA. Duck, who has battled a shoulder injury, took second in regional, while Summit senior Miles Grady and Page junior Seth Wright join Duck on the big stage. In DII, senior Manny Scott of Brentwood Academy traded in his football cleats for a bit and also qualified.
State title picks: AAA – Mason Smith, Beech; A-AA – Colby Dalon, Pigeon Forge; DII – Garrett Bowers, Christian Brothers.
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Brentwood Academy junior Logan Spell has placed in all three of his state tournaments and returns as favorite in Division II. Two years ago, his older brother Airin, won the heavyweight championship. “He’s a fun kid to watch and is never out of a match,” BA coach Scott Wells said of Logan. Spell opens Friday against Chattanooga Christian senior Lachlan Brandt, who was sixth in the division last year. Spell took third at 152 last year, fourth at 138 as a freshman and fifth at 132 as an eighth grader. On the opposite side of the bracket sits three-time state champion James Whitworth of McCallie.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Battle Ground Academy junior Jack Revere will join Spell in the DII field. Revere is coming off a runner-up region performance and took fourth at 160 last year. In A-AA, Fairview’s Marco Pukl (23-7) and Nolensville’s Gavin Rich will represent, while seniors Cooper Grills of Franklin and Garner Jones of Brentwood take to the mats in AAA. Grills won a battle with Jones in the third place match at the regional Saturday.
State title picks: AAA – Jared Harter, Science Hill; A-AA – Preston Worley, Signal Mountain; DII – James Whitworth, McCallie.
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Centennial senior Jacob Knight (50-3) takes the state stage eager to make some noise. In the previous three years of wrestling, injuries and sickness plagued the 170-pounder, but he’ll open coming off a Region 7-AAA title Thursday against Rhea County sophomore Francisco Campos. “He’s worked so hard to get to this point and he’s finally healthy, so watch out,” Centennial coach Philip Pelkey said. If Knight could reach the quarterfinals, he’ll likely battle Clarksville senior Gabriel Smith, who took fourth in the division last year.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Knight stopped friendly rival Jakob Oxford (39-9) of Independence in the region final. Oxford will likely run into returning two-time medalist Josh Pietarila of Hardin Valley in the second round. Also in the AAA field is Page senior Ezra Chrisman (37-10), who took third in the regional. In A-AA, Fairview veteran Luke Maxwell, coach James Derrick’s nephew, and Nolensville freshman Joshua Bryant will compete, while BGA sophomore Miller Barnett faces three-time McCallie medalist Gavin Cagle in the first round at DII.
State title picks: AAA – Josh Pietrarila, Hardin Valley; A-AA – Caden Cline, Red Bank; DII – Gavin Cagle, McCallie.
Check it out! Here's the front page of the @wherald sports section for Thursday! Our designer Robin Choate produced this! Pick up a copy Thursday and join me at the Ag Center in Franklin for the start of the state wrestling tournament! I'll bring copies! pic.twitter.com/13ESAXPfF4— Charles Pulliam (@cspulliam) February 20, 2020
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Page junior Mitchell Lambert came away as the region champ Saturday by rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the final seconds with a take down and near-fall to win his first region championship. Lambert (42-6) narrowly missed the state stage last year. “I’m just hoping to go out there and do my best and show that I can compete with the best,” the junior said. Lambert opens with Cookeville senior Erik Motykowski in the first round Thursday. He sits on the same side of the bracket as Blackman senior Brooks Sacharcyk, who took second in the division last year.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Independence junior Gabriel Hall clinched third in the regional. He opens against Jefferson County senior Hunter Bryant. Brentwood freshman Alikhan Makhamadaliev also qualified AAA. In A-AA, Fairview senior Cody DeLano faces a field with three returning medalists, including Pigeon Forge junior Joseph Skidmore, who was runner-up at 152 last year. The two didn’t face off in the state championship dual earlier this month as DeLano moved up to 195 for the battle, but could meet in the semis. Nolensville sophomore Nathan Montpool is also in the A-AA field. Juniors Russell Holbrook of Brentwood Academy and Maxwell Sale of BGA qualified in DII. Holbrook took sixth at 170 last year and opens with two-time medalist Riley Looper of McCallie, while Sale takes on favorite Connor Duffy of Baylor, a three-time medalist and champion at 160 in 2017.
State title picks: AAA – Brooke Sacharcyk, Blackman; A-AA – Joseph Skidmore, Pigeon Forge; DII – Connor Duffy, Baylor.
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Johnny Mac Feldhacker of Brentwood won a second region title this year jumping up more than 30 pounds from 160 last year. He placed fifth at state in the lower weight in 2019 and returns as a top contender. He spends most practices battling All-American Skylar Coffey. “He makes me better everyday,” Feldhacker said. “I’m super excited to be here again. This is what I’ve been working for all year.” The senior is joined by Jason Brumlow of East Hamilton as the only returning medalists in the division. Brumlow, who sits on the other end of the bracket, placed sixth at 195 in 2019. Feldhacker (38-1) opens Thursday against Andrew Gilbert of West.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Centennial coach Philip Pelkey said his senior Samari Suddeath (43-5) proved he’s a podium contender as well after pushing Feldhacker in the region championship. Suddeath fell by a 4-1 decision and opens with Ethan Adams of Knoxville Halls Thursday. A pair of returning local medalists who split in the regular season are among the contenders in A-AA. Fairview sophomore Jacob Clevenger (37-12), who was fifth at 182 as a freshman, and Nolensville senior McKinley Wagner (51-7), who was fifth at 195 last year, take to the mats Friday. The pair could run into one another in the state semifinals. However, defending champion Jonathan Morton of Elizabethton is on the other side of the bracket. BGA junior Iman Lohrasbi could face Father Ryan favorite Parker Petersen in the semifinals in DII.
State title picks: AAA – Johnny Mac Feldhacker, Brentwood; A-AA – Jonathan Morton, Elizabethton; DII – Parker Petersen, Father Ryan.
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: Nolensville’s Bailey Black is just a freshman, but was “tossed to the wolves this season,” as coach Josh Peck said. Black has quickly gained experience and helped lead the Knights to fourth in the A-AA state duals. In practice, he battles returning medalist McKinley Wagner constantly. He fell in the region 3 championship in overtime against Howard School’s Jermichael Young. Black debuts Friday against Cheatham County senior Jay Hires. He could face Parrish Pacetti of Hixson in the semis. Pacetti placed fifth in the division last year and is a favorite to win the title.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Ravenwood senior Bryan Rice is one of three AAA qualifiers. Rice, a football standout, is the lone Raptors representative and is coming off a region runner-up showing. He could face returning medalist and Blackman senior Bowdy Boyce in the second round. Page senior Max VanLandingham, and Franklin senior Chase Reimer are also in the field. VanLandingham (28-5), who signed to play football at Northern State in South Dakota this week, took third in the regional, falling to Rice in the semifinals. Reimer (23-15) is one of three qualifiers from the region to win back-to-back matches and take a true fourth place match. In DII, BA sophomore Jackson Wells, coach Scott Wells’ son, takes on Baylor’s Barrett Chambers in the first round. Chambers took fifth in 2019. Defending champion Al Wooten of Christian Brothers is on the other side of the bracket.
State title picks: AAA – Ashton Davis, Cleveland; A-AA – Parrish Pacetti, Hixson; DII – Al Wooten, Christian Brothers.
WillCo Wrestler to Watch: This season has turned into the Skylar Coffey show. When the powerful senior takes to the mats, people stop to watch. Coffey is the only returning state champion from the county and bumped up to the heavyweight division from 220 this season to bulk up for his track and field scholarship at the University of Tennessee in the fall. Coffey hasn’t lost to Tennessee opponent since his sophomore season and has won 48 of 50 matches by pin. He begins state Thursday against Tullahoma junior Tydrell Mitchell. The 285-pound field includes three returning medalists from the division led by Walker Valley junior Jadon Langford, who was runner-up in 2019.
Other WillCo Qualifiers: Summit sophomore Ryan Smith and Centennial senior Alexander Steele will join Coffey in the AAA ranks. Smith reached state as a freshman last year, while Steele was convinced to compete in the regional after skipping the tournament last year. Smith took third with a 7-1 decision against Steele. Smith is in the bottom half of the bracket where all three returning medalists besides Coffey sit. Collierville senior Jared Dawson took third last year, while Knoxville Halls junior Tyler Linderman was fifth. Those two will likely meet in the second round. In A-AA, Fairview senior Spencer Quinonez made a return to the mats late this season and has gone unbeaten in eight matches with a region title to boot. The three returning medalists in the field all suffered losses against Quinonez’s former teammate Jackson Clevenger. Clevenger, who graduated last year, captured back-to-back state championships in 2018 and 2019.
State title picks: AAA – Skylar Coffey, Brentwood; A-AA Devotis McCurdy, Hixson; DII – Ryan Jackson, Friendship Christian.