Six members of the Tullahoma High School boys wrestling team earned their seats into the TSSAA State Individual Tournament after their performances at the Region 5-AAA Tournament in McMinnville on Saturday.
The six Wildcat wrestlers join the seven THS girl wrestlers who previously qualified for state. The TSSAA State Tournament will get underway on Thursday and conclude on Saturday at the Williamson County Expo Center in Franklin.
In order to make into the state tournament, wrestlers needed to finish in the top four of their respective weight classes at the region tournament. Cal Rogers, C.J. Harden, Trint Partin, Jimmy Pearson, Rhett Birdsong and Tydrell Mitchell all came home from McMinnville last weekend with their sights set on the next round.
In the 120-pound weight class, Rogers finished as the Region 5-AAA runner-up. After opening his tournament with a bye, Rogers followed that up by pinning Smyrna’s Justin Torres with a minute left in the second round.
In his next bout, Rogers advanced to the region championship matchup. He was able to secure his spot after narrowly beating Cookeville’s Samuel Hadlock by way of a 3-1 decision.
In the first-place match, Rogers again found himself in a tight battle, this time with Lawrence County’s Jacob Haney. The pair needed overtime as Haney landed a takedown to score a 5-3 decision victory over Rogers.
Harden also finished as runner-up for the Wildcats in the 152-pound bracket. After opening his tournament with a bye, Harden then soundly defeated Siegel’s Samuel Frazier by way of a 15-6 major decision.
Harden won his next bout by forfeit, after LaVergne’s Thomas Karlo was disqualified. In the first-place matchup, Harden was pinned by Blackman’s Jalen Brown with 47 seconds remaining in the opening period.
Partin took third place for the Wildcats on the day in the 170-pound bracket. In his first matchup, Partin pinned LaVergne’s Kevin Barrios with 37 seconds remaining in the opening round.
However, Partin dropped his second matchup, after Lawrence County’s Carson Dubberly pinned Partin 16 seconds into the second round. After being bounced into the consolation bracket, Partin followed with three-straight wins.
The THS grappler won his first consolation matchup by forfeit, before pinning Riverdale’s Vincent Theus with 43 seconds remaining in the second round. In the third place bout, Partin concluded his tournament by pinning Oakland’s Cole Coughran with 16 seconds left in the second round.
Pearson also nabbed a third-place effort for Tullahoma on Saturday in the 220-pound bracket. After receiving a first-round bye, Pearson quickly pinned Siegel’s Daniel Hall in 39 seconds.
However, Pearson was upended in his next matchup by Blackman’s Bowdy Boyce. Boyce soundly defeated Pearson by way of a 17-6 major decision.
After being bounced into the consolation bracket, Pearson won back-to-back matchups to finish third overall. Pearson pinned Shelbyville’s Kearius Williams 36 seconds into the second round, locking the Wildcat into the third-place matchup. Pearson then defeated Christopher Speagle by way of an 8-2 decision.
Tullahoma saw two wrestlers finish fourth overall in their tournaments, including Birdsong who nabbed fourth in the 132-pound weight class.
After receiving a bye to start his tournament, Birdsong then added a first-round victory, pinning Riverdale’s Alec Lewis with 53 seconds remaining in the opening period. In his next matchup, Birdsong lost a tough 7-3 decision to Blackman’s Austin Marlatt.
In the consolation bracket, Birdsong split his next two matchups. In his first bout, Birdsong was able to score a 9-1 major decision over Oakland’s Joe David Bell, clinching his seat into the third-place bout.
In that third-place matchup, Stewarts Creek’s Kelani Meckes won a battle, scoring a 2-0 victory over Birdsong.
Mitchell also scored a fourth-place effort for Tullahoma in the 285-pound bracket, rounding out the state qualifiers for the Wildcats. After receiving a first-round bye, Mitchell dominated his next matchup over Siegel’s Dayon Smith, winning by way of a 26-11 technical fall.
However, Mitchell lost his next matchup after being pinned by Oakland’s Jackson Riley with 58 seconds left in the second round. Mitchell then split his next two bouts in the consolation round.
In his first consolation match, Mitchell pinned Cookeville’s Samuel Harness 58 seconds into the second round, clinching his seat into the third-place bout. Mitchell lost his next matchup, after being pinned by Shelbyville’s Austin McBee 12 seconds into the third round.
While the six Wildcats will get their state tournaments started on Thursday, the seven Lady Wildcats who qualified for state will have to wait for Friday to hit the mats.
Kaleigh Royal, Jane Allen, Katy Champion, Meralay Baysin, Destiny Shelton, Haley Roberts and Divine Desilets all will get set to start wrestling on Friday.
For more information about the TSSAA State Individual Tournament, visit http://tssaasports.com/wrestling/.
Zach Birdsong can be reached by email at email@example.com.