The SMHS wrestling team won the A-AA Region 3 Title for the second year in a row with big wins over Alcoa and Greenback Tuesday night. They defeated Greenback 63-15 and Alcoa 49-27.
“We knew we could win both of these matches, but Alcoa has some tough wrestlers that you just can’t afford to underestimate. It feels good to see the hard work paying off with another trip to the state,” said Coach Brian Parker.
In the Greenback win, the Panthers had pins from Ezequiel Sanchez (113), Austin Brickle (126), Bucky Poe (170) and Brandon Moore (220). Anthony Giattino (132) won by major decision and Darren Rosser (145) won by technical fall. Cody McCarl (106), Zach Heavilon (120), Dakota McAdoo (138), John McCarty (152) and Chase Eichner (195) received forfeits.
“Greenback has been down for a couple of years and gave up several forfeits, but the rest of our guys performed well,” added Parker.
“The Alcoa match always makes me nervous. Coach Brian Gossett always manages to put out a tough team, even when they are young wrestlers,” added Parker.
Parker’s nerves were calmed when the Panthers rolled off eight wins in a row to seal the victory before the Tornadoes scored their first win in the match.
At 120, Alcoa forfeited to Heavilon. Brickle followed up with a decision at 126.
“Austin’s win was big. They did not expect to lose that match and Austin did a great job securing that win with a cradle in the third period,” continued Parker.
Giattino (132) easily pinned his Alcoa opponent in the first period giving the Panthers a 15-point lead. Rosser avenged last year’s loss to the 138-pounder with a major decision.
“Darren took it to this kid and was relentless. He beat a tough kid,” Parker added.
The Panthers rolled off four more pins in a row by Caruthers, McCarty, Brandon Dixon and Poe to seal the victory with 43 points and five matches left to wrestle.
The Tornadoes finally got on the board as they secured three pins and a decision in a row at 182, 195, 220 and 285.
“They were pretty tough in the upper weights as was evident by the four victories,” Parker noted.
The teams split the last two matches as McCarl had a quick pin at 106, and Alcoa won at 113.
The Panthers gained a convincing region title win with a final score of 49-27. They will travel to Williamson County on Feb. 3 to try to make a run at the A-AA state championship.
“We have the ability to win the state title if we can get all cylinders firing at once through the lineup. It is like our shirts say, we believe,” concluded Parker.
The Panthers final regular season dual meet is Thursday, Jan. 26 at CCHS versus CCHS, Livingston and Sequatchie County.