SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, Tenn.–Not only did four of Whitwell’s heavyweight heroes punch their ticket to the big dance in Franklin, but two 120-pounders are headed there as well–one from Whitwell and the other from Sequatchie County.
The ‘Colossal Quartet,’ as they’ve come to be known, all finished in the top four regionally. 170-pounder Warner Ashworth grabbed 2nd, TD Argo and Will Carter earned the 3-seed, and Daniel Mikel finished in fourth place after losing in the 3rd place match. Whitwell’s Jaren Thames picked up a 2-seed while Sequatchie County’s Logan Silvers grabbed fourth. Both wrestlers are in the 120-pound weight division.
“I can go up and down the lineup,” Tigers head coach John Weiss said. “I’m impressed with them all. Thames was just being smart and gritty all the way to the end. John King had some heart fighting on a bad ankle the whole time. Argo had three pins. Mikel fighting off his back in the consolation semis.”
Saturday marked a big shift for Whitwell as they sent a program-best 5 wrestlers to the State Tournament, which continues a trend started three years ago.
“This means we’re going to have to raise our expectations,” Weiss said. “Now, we need to start placing kids at the state Tournament to put our program at the next level. We need to start filling in a full lineup and then placing them high.”
The Tigers tied for 7th place in the tournament with Chattanooga Central behind four teams that won’t be in their region next season.
“It’s exciting and scary at the same time,” Weiss explained, referring to next year’s new region realignments focused more toward Nashville than Chattanooga. “I don’t know what the other half of the region is going to look like. You’re pulling some really big names out of our region. I don’t want to say that it’s going to be watered down, but I think the state tournament is going to be even more balanced. I think we’ll be able to place some more kids, but there are just too many unknowns.”
Topping the tournament statistics, Argo and Sequatchie County’s Jay Brock tied with Signal Mountain’s Steven Goff for the most pins in the least amount of time. Argo clocked in with 4 minutes and 6 seconds of mat time in his pinfalls, which was a full minute less than Brock. Brock and Argo also tied for most matches wrestled with two Signal Mountain wrestlers at 5 matches within the two-day span.
“I think we did great with team points,” Weiss said. “I think we were just a few matches away from doing something even more spectacular, sending possibly seven. It just didn’t work out that way. We’ve just got to focus on getting them to place at State.”
As for Sequatchie County, Logan Silvers is the lone Indian headed to Franklin, but the Indians did face off with the Tigers during the tournament, featuring two face-off in the ‘King of the Valley’ rivalry. The Tigers got the upper hand yet again as they sent more to the State Tournament than their bitter, yet classic rivals.
“It’s nice when we can send more than they can,” Weiss said. “It’s tough when we beat them in dual matches because our matchups just don’t line up right now. Our kids aren’t all in the same weight classes. This weekend, our fingers were definitely sticky as far as putting ourselves in a situation to beat Sequatchie County.”
The State Tournament starts, for Whitwell and Sequatchie County’s division, on Friday February 17 at 10 AM central time at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Park in Franklin, Tennessee.