JOHNSON CITY — After a pair of tough battles with both the public and private schools’ No. 1 ranked teams in the state earlier in the week, Bradley Central wrestling bounced back with a strong weekend and a tournament championship.
Despite coming out on the short end against both Baylor and Cleveland High on Tuesday and Thursday of last week, the third-ranked Bears roared into Johnson City Friday evening to claim a pair of wins at the Moffat Duals before walking away with the 2014 Fandetti-Richardson Brawl top trophy Saturday.
“Overall, a solid effort across the board,” declared head coach Ben Smith. “I’m proud of the way our Bears competed after a very tough, emotional week.”
“Perseverance and fortitude were shown by most and our JV (junior varsity) brought the house down in their tournament as well, only losing four matches on the day,” he added. “There is still work to be done for another huge week ahead.”
Bradley will travel to the north end of the county Tuesday to face sixth-ranked Walker Valley at “The Stable” and then turn around Thursday evening and head to No. 4-ranked Soddy-Daisy for a key District 8 battle.
“Da Bears” opened their weekend at Science Hill High School with convincing victories over Eastside (S.C.) 46-22 and Jefferson County 68-12 in the Moffat Duals.
The action shifted to individual tournament matches Saturday and even though only Knox Fuller earned a weight class championship, Bradley claimed five runner-up medals and placed in a dozen of the 14 divisions.
Ranked second in the state, Fuller continued his tremendous freshman season by capturing top honors in the 120-pound division.
Advancing to their weight class championship match, state champion Toribio Navarro (113) and fellow top-ranked freshman Ryan McElhaney (106) had to settle for second place, as did fifth-ranked Hunter Parker (126), senior Taylor Kazy (132) and classmate Jerry “JJ” Johnson (285).
Fourth-ranked freshman Brett Brown earned third-place honors at 182 pounds, while Caleb Adkins took fourth at 145. Seniors Nathan Adams (170) and Zach McFarland (195) both had fifth-place finishes, while sixth-ranked Stephen Scott (138) and senior Colter McConnell (152) earned sixth place medals.
The dozen place finishes helped the Bears post 239.5 team points to claim the Brawl title, outdistancing Lake Norman, N.C., by 25 points.
Maryville Heritage (197) took third, while Soddy-Daisy (192.5) was fourth and Eastside (171) rounded out the Top 5. Although ranked second in the private school poll, Father Ryan (161) finished in sixth place of the 10-team event.