FAIRVIEW – Fairview High School wrestling coach James Derrick, like so many others throughout the state this year, just wants to make sure his kids can compete on the mats. Simply wrestling in this trying year is a tall task for most and many schools still aren’t competing throughout the state, he said.
“Seasons have been cut short, so anytime you can get on the mat, like we did this weekend, it’s special and I’m grateful we were able to provide that today,” said Derrick, who hosted the first Yellow Jacket Invitational Saturday in Fairview.
Wrestling Photo Gallery – Yellow Jacket Invitational
In the wake of the cancellation of the 53rd annual Johnny Drennan Memorial Wrestling Tournament at Father Ryan, Fairview High School took on the charge of hosting an eight-team tournament on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 that included Cleveland, Summit, Blackman and Centennial among others.
The tournament, which featured five Williamson County teams, was quickly constructed this week in place of the 54th annual Johnny Drennan Memorial Invitational at Father Ryan. The annual showcase tournament was canceled this year due to COVID-19 protocols.
Derrick, a Father Ryan graduate and former teammate of the tournament’s namesake, reached out to veteran Irish wrestling coach Pat Simpson about taking on a “replacement tournament of sorts.”
Simpson was all for it, Derrick said.
“You know I wrestled for Pat Simpson for about two years when I was in high school,” Derrick said. “I wanted to be able to at least continue that tournament in a way, so today Johnny (Drennan) was one of the names we made sure to include and mention when we got started.
“Just because Father Ryan wasn’t hosting this event didn’t mean we couldn’t honor him and remind everyone what he did for wrestling.”
The event brought together some of the top wrestlers in the state, including dozens of returning medalists and state championship contenders. Wilson Central claimed the team title with 10 wrestlers advancing to the finals Saturday, while Cleveland edged Summit for second place.
Ryan Smith extended his unbeaten heavyweight record to 14-0 to lead the Spartans, while 195-pounder Maddox Reed and Luke Justice at 170 added runner-up finishes. Five Summit grapplers also closed third.
“I’m really happy the Fairview coaches could pick this up. It’s great we were able to adapt and get to wrestle,” said Smith, who pinned Jesse Richardson of Wilson Central for the tournament title. “I feel like I have been working since freshman year to win a tournament like this and I’m excited about going forward.”
Smith, a junior who went 3-2 at the state tournament last season, pinned county foes Duncan Frye of Centennial and Bradley Vaughn of Independence before earning a technical fall midway through the second round against Blackman’s Jayden Hemphill in the semifinals to reach the final.
The Cougars, who have 10 new starters this season, produced a pair of champions in Alex Ables (152) and Patrick Styblo (195).
“I think just like everybody else, we have had a lot of stuff canceled this year and with Father Ryan getting canceled, we were scrambling to do something,” Centennial coach Philip Pelkey said. “We are thankful coach Derrick took this on. We had eight really great teams here and some of these matchups you saw here today will probably be ones you see at the state championships.
“For a small tournament, it was very high level competition and we are just happy to get on the mats.”
Ables also stayed unbeaten earning three pins before handing Wilson Central’s Steven Fisak his first loss with a 6-3 decision win in the final.
“I think I have a lot to improve on still since I got in some bad positions in that last match,” said Ables, who is 19-0. “This is one of the hardest tournaments we will get to be at before states. I’m just glad to be able to wrestle.”
Styblo picked up two pins in the early rounds and then stopped Summit’s Maddox Reed in the 170-pound final with a quick move midway through the second period for another fall.
“He’s been a big surprise for us and has really been stepping up,” Pelkey said of the sophomore Styblo. “We really have a young team, but they have a lot of spunk and are learning well.”
Independence’s Tanner Willett, a returning medalist from 138 last year, finished runner-up to Blackman’s Justin Brown at 160 in the tightest final of the day. Brown edged Willett 11-10 for the tournament title and had a match-clinching takedown waived off as it was ruled time expired just prior.
“I really should have been right there from the first,” said the senior who trailed 10-6 in the third period. “Thirty seconds into the match, I had a takedown, and I think I let up. He’s a good wrestler, there’s no doubt about that, but I think I should have done more.”
Host Fairview had two wrestlers reach the finals and picked up a title at 170 from sophomore Kendrick Curtis, who claimed a 12-2 major decision over Matthew Hills in the title match.
Three-time state runner-up Riley Bennett suffered his first setback of the season in the loaded 138-pound division, falling to fellow top-ranked wrestler and returning state champion Trae McDanial of Cleveland.
“I got that first take down, but he’s a good wrestler and just came right back,” said Bennett, who fell 16-8 to the unbeaten Cleveland senior. “He’ll definitely be the best kid I wrestle all year. It’s just great to be able to catch kids like that and try to get better."
Bennett pinned another state finalist in freshman Charles McTorry of Brentwood Academy in the semifinals. McTorry was a runner-up in Division II’s 113-pound weight class as an eighth grader last year.
“It means a lot to be able to wrestle,” Bennett said. “I was scared the virus would just shut everything down, but I’m glad we were able to do this.”
Yellow Jacket junior Jacob Clevenger overcame his first loss of the season in the semifinals against Wilson Central's Noah Todd to take third at 220, while senior teammate Marco Pukl also claimed third at 170.
Brentwood Academy’s Jackson Wells (285) and Logan Spell (160) – both state qualifiers last year as well – picked up third-place finishes as well and joined McTorry as top wrestlers for the Eagles.
“I believe we had 38 of the top-ranked wrestlers here today and to have those kinds of kids wrestle against each other throughout the day, you just don’t get to see that very often,” said Derrick, whose team is eyeing a fourth consecutive region title this year. “This is a great way for all of us to get more prepared for state.
“I sincerely thank everybody for allowing us to be able to showcase what our school could do. We put this together in a short time and I hope we can put something like this together again in the future to bring some of this top competition back to Fairview.”
Yellow Jacket Invitational at Fairview High School Jan. 9, 2021
1, Wilson Central 226 points; 2, Cleveland 149.5; 3, Summit 149; 4, Blackman 141.5; 5, Fairview 127.5; 6, Centennial 91.5; 7, Independence 72.5; 8, Brentwood Academy 66.
1st Place – Logan Fowler, Cleveland, pinned Paul johnson, Wilson Central, Fall 1:42; 3rd Place – Aslan Nadeau, Blackman, dec. Sam Frank, Fairview, 10-5; 5th Place – Grayson Miller, Summit, dec. Sebron Colson, Blackman, 5-2; 7th Place – Elijah Benfield, Centennial, dec. Cash Graziano, Brentwood Academy, 8-7.
1st Place – Justin Bradford, Blackman, dec. Nick Mercante, Wilson Central, 9-4; 3rd Place – Jarvis Little, Summit, maj. dec. Hudson Sims, Cleveland, 8-0; 5th Place – Ely Parker, Cleveland, pinned Nicholas Sebastian, Independence, 0:45; 7th Place – Jackson Wimsatt, Brentwood Academy, pinned Christian Scott, Brentwood Academy, 0:40.
1st Place – Hunter Borders, Wilson Centrall, pinned Arlo Laxton, Cleveland, 4:51; 3rd Place – Jackson Masters, Summit, pinned Grant Myers, Blackman, 4:46; 5th Place – Keegan Seaver, Fairview, pinned Eiljah Weston, Centennial, 1:38; 7th Place – Wiliam Donnelly, Brentwood Academy, maj. dec. Philip Shand, Independence, 12-4.
1st Place – Charles Randall, Cleveland, dec. Connor Warnock, Wilson Central, 6-3; 3rd Place – Justin Noll, Summit, pinned Lane Lewis, Centennial, 2:43; 5th Place – Jeffery Anderson, Fairview, pinned Hugo Sanchez, Blackman, 1:41; 7th Place – Joseph Disabantonio, Independence, maj. dec. Mithi Mamolo, Brentwood Academy, 19-8.
1st Place – Jackson Bradford, Cleveland, dec. Mason Sells, Blackman, 6-1; 3rd Place – Landon Desselle, Summit, tech. fall Avery Warnock, Wilson Central, 5:00 (16-1); 5th Place – Spencer Kon, Independence, dec. Carson Smith, Brentwood Academy, 3-2; 7th Place – Sam Borre, Fairview, won by injury forfeit over Jackson Wynne-Dossat, Centennial.
1st Place – Trae McDaniel, Cleveland, maj. dec. Riley Bennett, Fairview, 16-8; 3rd Place – Riley Fort, Wilson Central, dec. Charles McTorry, Brentwood Academy, 10-5; 5th Place – Austin Noll, Summit, dec. Adin Heathcott, Blackman, 4-3; 7th Place – Nathan Alcoch, Centennial, dec. Timothy Ford, Independence, 3-2.
1st Place – Cole Fort, Wilson Central, maj. dec. Alex Rose, Blackman, 10-2; 3rd Place – Chris Witt, Independence, dec. Austin Grooters, Summit, 6-3; 5th Place – Ceron Campbell, Centennial, dec. Taylor Wimsatt, Brentwood Academy, 4-1; 7th Place – Hagen Cooper, Cleveland, pinned Brody Cox, Fairview, 0:19.
1st Place – Alex Ables, Centennial, dec. Steven Fisak, Wilson Central, 6-3; 3rd Place – Finley Jameson, Summit, dec. Blake Mitchell, Fairview, 5-3; 5th Place – Grant Campanali, Independence, pinned Brayden James, Blackman, 2:18; 7th Place – Luke Wells, Brentwood Academy, pinned Camden Lockerby, Cleveland, 2:07.
1st Place – Justin Brown, Blackman, dec. Tanner Willett, Independence, 11-10; 3rd Place – Logan Spell, Brentwood Academy, won by injury forfeit over Malachi Bennett, Fairview; 5th Place – Samuel Griggs, Wilson Central, pinned William Clingan, Centennial, 2:43; 7th Place – Jack Hill, Summit, won by forfeit.
1st Place – Brady Jarvis, Wilson Central, pinned Luke Justice, Summit, 2:54; 3rd Place – Marco Pukl, Fairview, pinned Jashua Chew, Blackman, 0:39; 5th Place – Craig Sanford, Centennial, dec. Cannon Roberts, Independence, 7-1; 7th Place – Edward Christe-Couvillion, Cleveland, dec. Ben Atchley, Brentwood Academy, (SV-1) 8-6.
1st Place – Kendrick Curtis, Fairview, maj. dec. Matthew Hills, Wilson Central, 12-2; 3rd Place – Gabriel Hall, Independence, dec. Jensen Schreiber, Summit,(SV-1) 6-4; 5th Place – Hudson Holsinger, Independence, pinned Campbell Smith, Brentwood Academy, 1:24; 7th Place – Jacob Derrick, Fairview, won by forfeit.
1st Place – Patrick Styblo, Centennial, pinned Maddox Reed, Summit, 2:59; 3rd Place – Miles Workman, Blackman, pinned Anthony Glasgow, Wilson Central, 1:47; 5th Place – Arie Donaldson, Fairview, pinned Preston Sanders, Independence, 3:53; 7th Place – Elliot Lovins, Brentwood Academy, won by forfeit.
1st Place – Ashton Davis, Cleveland, dec. Noah Todd, Wilson Central, 1-0; 3rd Place – Jacob Clevenger, Fairview, won by forfeit over Sam Hammon, Fairview; 5th Place – Tytus Kirby-Reach, Blackman, pinned Andrew Pederson, Brentwood Academy, 0:42.
1st Place – Ryan Smith, Summit, pinned Jesse Richardson, Wilson Central, 1:13; 3rd Place Match – Jackson Wells, Brentwood Academy, won by forfeit over Duncan Frye, Centennial; 5th Place – Nick Nicodemis, Cleveland, dec. Bradley Vaughn, Independence, 4-2; 7th Place – Jayden Hemphill, Blackman, won by forfeit.