From left are Coach Brian Parker, Zach Heavilon, Brier Wightman and Jonathan Waldrup.

The Stone Memorial Panther wrestling team placed seventh out of 20 teams in the Harpeth Invitational in Nashville on Saturday, Dec. 4.

“I am pretty happy with our finish in this tournament this year. All of our 14 starters won at least one match to contribute to our efforts. Just a few points separated us from three teams ahead of us,” said Coach Brian Parker.

Seven of the Panther wrestlers placed in the top five out of the 16-man brackets.

Jonathan Waldrup was tournament champion at the 189-pound class.

Zach Heavilon finished second at 119.

At 171 pounds, Brier Wightman placed fourth. Cody McCarl (103), Matt McCarty (140), John McCarty (145) and Kelsey Walker (215) finished fifth in their respective classes.

Waldrup had a decision and three pins in the tournament including a second period pin in the finals.

“Jonathan has become a very tough competitor. Nobody really tested him in this tournament. He constantly works to get better and it showed this weekend,” added Parker.

Zach breezed his way to the finals with a technical fall and a pin of the second seed. He was beat in the finals by the first seed in a very exciting match by three points.

“Zach is a very good technician. In the finals, he met an equally good technician who did well in State last year. I believe after correcting a couple of mistakes, he will beat this kid in the state tournament,” he noted.

Wightman had a very good tournament. With barely two years experience, he made it to the semi-finals with two pins, but lost to the first seed. In the consolation semis, he got a pin to get to the medal round.

Said Parker, “Brier has really come on strong this year. He has shown a lot of maturity in his junior year as he strives to improve his technique. With a little more work he could be in the finals of this tournament.”

McCarl won in the quarters, but lost to the first seed in the semis and again in the consolation semis.

“Cody is young and eager, but still needs some work on his metal toughness. With his ability, I am very excited about what he can do this year,” Parker continued.

Matt McCarty lost in the first round but rebounded back with two pins and a decision to get to the consolation semis. He lost a very close match in the last seconds of the consolation semis.

Continued Parker, “Matt started slow in his first match and wrestled a little sloppy, but he came back strong in his next three. He showed a lot of resilience and maturity and almost beat his first opponent in a rematch.”

John McCarty also lost in the first round to the second seed. He followed up with three impressive pins in the loser’s bracket to make it to the consolation semis. He lost a very exciting match in overtime.

“John put on a clinic on running a cradle. He is very tough with this move. He was losing one match by 10 points when he cradled the kid and pinned him in the third period. With some work on takedowns, John will be hard to beat,” he noted.

Walker got a pin in his first match, but lost in the quarter-finals. He got another pin in the loser’s bracket and lost a very close match in the semis.

“Kelsey is just a couple of moves from being a strong 215 pounder. Once we get him on the right track, he will be placing in these tournaments,” stressed the veteran coach.

Austin Brickle had two wins in the tournament at 125 pounds.

Jacob Davis, Darren Rosser, Dakota McAdoo, Luke McCarty, Bucky Poe, and Jerry King each had one pin in the tournament.

“All of these guys did a good job of scoring points for the team. Hopefully this experience will drive them to learn their moves better and work harder in practice in order to place higher in future tournaments,” he concluded. “I am looking forward to our future tournaments.”

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