**UPDATE: Format has now been changed to two days because of the number of teams in the tournament.**
FRANKLIN, Tenn.–On a day where Sequatchie County head coach Chris Weaver saw his only state qualifier in 2017 lose two bouts and ousted from the tourney, there was a bit of good news to savor.
Walking frantically out of the arena on a cell phone, his face is filled with elation as he attempts to get an idea approved by Sequatchie County administration. See, his ultimate vision has long been a thing of humor: a region tournament at Sequatchie County High School.
“I’m super excited,” Weaver said. “It hasn’t really soaked in yet. I know I’ve got a nightmare ahead, but we’re ready for the challenge it brings.
With challenge, though, comes great reward.
“It’s going to be a huge, huge feat for us,” Weaver explains with the State Tournament raging in the background. It’s going to challenge us in all aspects, myself included. I think it will really pull the community to embrace the sport.”
The long-awaited tourney had long been on the back burner for very obvious reasons. In a Chattanooga-centered region where the Indians haven’t been competitive dually over the past few years, many 2-A/AA elites frowned upon travelling across the mountain.
After the current state tournament, though, those factors will digress with the emergence of another wrestling region. It’s constituents include the Indians, Whitwell, Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Howard, East Ridge, and seven schools closer to Nashville than Monteagle. In this case, the Indians are geographically a great fit.
And on the other end of things, they’ll be fairly competitive, taking Hixson, Notre Dame, and CCS out of their individual region.
“We had a meeting this weekend,” Weaver said. “We all came together to look at the most central locations for all us. We’re all trying to avoid the extra travel and staying overnight, so this best situation we have.”
As a result of the extensive mileage between the school groups, the group decided on a one-day tournament, which comes with the obstacle and TSSAA regulations.
“Our biggest complication is making sure that wrestlers don’t exceed those five-match limits,” Weaver explained. It will be a challenge, but we’ll just have to make sure we have a good ‘seeding meeting’ and making sure all the coaches understand how our brackets our. Communication is going to be key.”
The price of admission will also be a key factor as there will only be one admission per person while the average person paid twice over the course of a two-day tournament. There have been talks of raising admission to nearly $10 dollars a person.
Still, the region and the tournament itself look to be great advantages for the Indians who are still in the midst of building a program. A handful of their wrestlers were a match shy of qualifying for the state tournament.
Logan Silvers marks the end of Weaver’s first campaign, but will his second spark an era of wrestling bliss in Dunlap?