WRESTLING: Five Takeaways from the Mountain Top Invitational

Another winter weekend has come and gone, and Valley wrestling continues to impress on the individual circuit.

Other teams in the area may have taken the team championships and more individual honors, but it’s all about the growth of wrestling in a region so intently focused on football, and frankly any other sport besides Wrestling.  Still, both Sequatchie County and Whitwell are improving fast and have individual state contenders on the rise.

img_9550Argo’s Tourney Opponents ‘Ar-gone’

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

T.D. Argo made quite a run Saturday at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee on his way to first place in the 220-pound weight division.  Top-seeded among the six other wrestlers he faced, Argo held to that and made it to the finals without a hitch.  After receiving a first-round bye, Argo took down AAA McMinn County’s Nick Anderson with 51 seconds left in the first period.  In the semifinals, Argo had not trouble with Chattanooga Christian School’s Spencer Leonard as he won by major decision, 9-0.

Facing stiff competition in Sale Creek’s Dylan Lamar, Argo struggled but pulled out a close 7-5 decision, holding on in the final period.  Only three of the six competitors in the bracket are in Whitwell’s individual region, but when the the season-ending region tournament comes around, he’ll have a higher road to the championship matchup.  And that could mean a berth to the State Tournament as Argo picked up third in the Charger Invitational in December, falling short of the finals by a match to a AAA opponent.

img_3804Brock’s Next Stop is Cow Palace

Another Valley Wrestler that picked up first Saturday afternoon and third in the Charger Invitational is 126-pounder Jay Brock, currently ranked 6th in the state in that weight class according to Pin-TN.com.  Fellow 126-pounder and Mat Tiger Jaren Thames (Ranked No. 5 in the same rankings) did not compete in the tournament due to injury, but Brock made up for the both of them with his finals finish and Mountain Top Invitational Championship.

Brock received a bye in the first round before facing off with Chattanooga Christian’s Nathan Connor.  He won by a 12-1 major decision leading into a 1st period pin versus McMinn County’s Dylan Ricker.  In the finals, Brock took down Boyd-Buchanan’s Alexander Coker with a pin just 15 seconds into the 2nd period.  In the process, Brock took down two opponents he’ll likely face in the Region Tournament.

The road to the championship is long, but a one-seed out of Chattanooga’s own Region 2-A/AA can mean placing high at the State Tournament.  Top-seeds Luke Mullin (2016) and Isaac Yates (2015) both placed high in previous season coming out of Notre Dame and Hixson, respectively, in the 126-pound class.  If Brock can standout late in the season, he could follow in his older sister’s shoes and win a title or two before he graduates.

img_5145Sequatchie County’s Number Quickly Becoming a Threat

Earlier in the season, the Indians looked outmatched as they fell by a landslide to Whitwell, but even with limited success Saturday at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee, they have shown a lot of improvement.  Starting with the In-School matchup at Whitwell Friday, the Indians and head coach Chris Weaver has made big strides only falling by 12 points, which is equivalent of two pinfalls.

Younger wrestlers stepped up for the Indians as Paxton Albright claimed 3rd place after a 1-1 campaign on Mountain Lion turf.  He faced two Division II (private) programs on his way to the consolation finals.  He picked up a loss against Franklin Road Academy’s Chris Romanelli via pinfall before taking the 7-3 decision over Battle Ground Academy’s Jake Brown in the 3rd Place Matchup.  Gavin Lee also picked up fourth place out of five competitors in the 160-pound weight class, falling in the consolation finals.

Cameron Weaver fell in the winner’s bracket before fighting back and taking third in the tournament.  Shelbyville’s Haustin Parsons picked up the 5-2 decision over Weaver in the semifinals, forcing him through two tougher opponents in the consolation bracket.  Weaver downed Franklin County’s Roy Davis, 10-3, before holding on to a 4-0 decision versus Chattanooga Christian’s Jeff Brown.

img_9881Weiss and and Wrestling Bandits

Whitwell continues to impress although they’re not quite ready for a duals run.  The individual side of the sport is where they thrive, and they proved their worth Saturday as they placed five of their eight wrestlers while sending a duo to the finals in their respective classes.  That left them with 72 points on the day and a seventh place ranking out of 13 schools competing.  Although Argo was the only Tiger to bring home a title, 170-pound wrestler Warner Ashworth fought for a finals slot before being defeated by Chattanooga Christian’s Alex Hundley via pinfall.

Down in the consolation brackets, Will Carter (195-pound weight class) and Amado Gomez (120-pound weight class) picked up 3rd place victories.  Carter downed Sale Creek’s Chase Poole with a pin in the 1st period after falling to Shelbyville’s Salisbury in the semifinals.  Gomez could not make it past Chattanooga Christian’s Josh Elliot in the semifinals, but he landed a pin with less than a minute in the 3rd period, downing Franklin County’s Dylan Sanders.  Also in a third place matchup, Daniel Mikel fell by 7-4 decision to Battle Ground Academy’s Teddy Holloway.

And again, Whitwell steals the Valley show in an individual tournament.  There’s some sticky fingers in those brackets.

img_4979More State Placers:  Sequatchie County or Whitwell?

This was a hard question to fathom, but with the success among the same relative competition on the same day, it’s hard to bet against the Tigers placing more wrestlers in the State Tournament than Sequatchie County.  That being said, there’s still a long season and region tournament left to play, so this answer is far from solved.  My money’s on Whitwell at the moment.

Contact Chandler Morrison at TheSpearSportsBlog@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter@RCS_Chandler!


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