The SMHS wrestling team went 1-1 on the first night of the varsity season, beating Gibbs (45-32) and losing a close match to Coach Brian Parker’s alma mater, Hixson (29-42).
“I was pretty happy with the way we wrestled on Tuesday night. We beat a top 10 team in Gibbs and barely lost to Hixson, who placed third in the state duals last year,” Parker said.
In the Hixson match, the Panthers got pins from Cody McCarl (113), Cody Caruthers (160) and Garion Bogard (285). They got wins from Anthony Giattino (152) and Landon Barlow (170). Darrin Rosser (145) won his match by 15 points, which is a technical fall.
“These guys did a great job for us. Cody dominated even with an injured foot. Darrin made a two-time state qualifier look bad. I was very impressed with the way he wrestled. Landon was our star. He outlasted a kid that has been wrestling for years and Landon only started last year. I think he is going to turn some heads this year,” said Parker.
“The final score doesn’t show how close the match really was. A change in two matches could have given us the win against Hixson. At 182 pounds, Logan Livesay countered his opponent’s move putting him flat on his back, but by the time the ref realized what had happened, he admittedly missed the call. This would have been a 12-point swing in our favor. Unfortunately, there are no video replays. Logan did a great job for a rookie starter as did Ismael Matias at 126,” he continued. “With a few adjustments in the line-up, maybe we can have a different result later in the season.”
In the match with Gibbs, the Panthers had pins by McCarl, Rosser, Giattino and Barlow. Accepting forfeits were Chris Brickle (120), Brenden Carter (126) and Bogard. Caruthers won with a 9-5 decision. Chase Eichner (220) has a close loss 7-9.
“It is nice to beat a team in Gibbs. They have a great feeder program. Caruthers wrestled a tough kid, but needs to work on his conditioning. Eichner has shown a lot of improvement and wrestled a tough match. We still need to work on some of his technique," Parker continued.
"A lot of our guys need some individual work in the practice room so that we can continue to compete and beat teams like Hixson and Gibbs. The rookies in the line-up have a tough row to hoe, but with team they will be winning varsity matches. Brickle, Conner Heavilon, Jerry King are only going to get better. They had some tough opponents but they will be better because of it, if they don’t let it get them down.”
SMHS will travel to McMinn County Thursday to face McMinn County and Heritage at 5:30 p.m. and host Cookeville and Livingston on Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m.