Mustangs come up short in bid for state duals berth
by RICHARD ROBERTS Banner Sports Editor
Jan 24, 2014 | 536 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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WALKER VALLEY WRESTLER Drake Haney works for a pin against Soddy-Daisy’s Chase Payne in the 106-pound match at the Region 4-AAA region tournament Thursday, at Ooltewah High School.
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OOLTEWAH — Once again the Walker Valley wrestlers beat on the door. And once again the Mustangs were just a hammer or two short of knocking it in.

With the match undecided until the final bout, Soddy-Daisy was able to latch the door shut with a technical fall win to defeat the Mustangs 40-32.

The loss dashed the Mustangs’ hope of making their first ever trip to the state duals tournament next week in Franklin.

The top two teams in the region advance to the state duals tournament. Cleveland High School defeated Bradley Central 39-28 to advance and earn the No. 1 seed in the state tournament. The Blue Raiders will join Soddy-Daisy as Region 4 representatives.

“We’ve got to quit knocking and start kicking,” said Mustangs coach Al Morris afterward. “No one is ever really happy losing, but I’m proud of my team. I’m proud of the way they fought. We had some areas where obviously things could have gone a little better, but overall I’m proud of the way they fought.

“Soddy-Daisy is of course one of the best teams in the state and we feel good we were able to battle them. We don’t feel good because we didn’t get the job done. One of our goals was making it to the state duals. Unfortunately we came up short again. We’ve had two years in a row here where we really had a fighting chance, a great opportunity and we just came up a little short.”

Starting at 152 pounds, the Trojans opened with two pins before Lawrence Cotton turned the tide with a technical fall win for Walker Valley at 170.

At 152, we were in a one-point match in a match we thought we might could win, and we got pinned. That can’t happen against a good team like Soddy,” said Morris.

Billy Raulston followed with a pin at 182 to put the Mustangs out front 12-11. Following a decision by Ric Kennett at 195, Xzavier Beckingham and Zach Miller made it 26-12 Mustangs with pins at 220 and 285. Drake Haney (106), who has been on a hot streak recently, kept the fire burning with Walker Valley’s third consecutive pin to make it 32-12.

The Trojans picked up a pivotal win at 113 to swing momentum and followed up with a pin at 120 to close the gap to 32-21. Soddy-Daisy picked up a decision at 126, a pin at 132 and a technical fall win at 138 to take a 35-32 win before closing out with another technical fall at 145 to make the final score 40-32.

“At 113, we’ve got a young guy on varsity who is stepping in and improving. He learned a lesson today that hopefully will get him ready for the traditionals,” Morris stated.

“At 132, we were disappointed. We were thinking we might could do something in that match. You just can’t allow yourself to get caught in bad situations, and we did that.”

Morris said the Mustangs will turn their focus to the region traditionals tournament to be held at Walker Valley in two weeks. There the goal will be to qualify as many wrestlers as possible for the state traditionals tournament.

“We are going to start focusing on the traditionals region and state tournament. We can still achieve our individual goals and some team goals,” said the Walker Valley coach.

“There is no question we came to win tonight. That was our goal before the season started. We knew we needed to win this match and we wanted to win this match — my coaches, the wrestlers, everyone. We’ve been working hard for this and we came up just short. Sometimes that happens in sports. It happened today and we’ve got to learn to adjust and move on, make the changes we need to make and get ready.”

SODDY-DAISY 40, WALKER VALLEY 32

(Match started at 152 Pounds)

106 — Drake Haney (WV) pinned Chase Payne, 3:28; 113 — Mason Blevins (SD) dec. Zane Smith, 10-9; 120 — Jacob McClure (SD) pinned Robert Varner, 1:42; 126 — Austin Houser (SD) dec. Austin Gregory, 12-5; 132 — Emory Holcomb (SD) pinned Joseph Munoz, 3:53; 138 — Tucker Russo (SD) won by technical fall over Mikel Gregory, 4:26; 145 — Gage Richmond (SD) won by technical fall over Tyrus Hamrick, 5:50; 152 — Austin Williamson (SD) pinned Ryan Hager, 4:25; 160 — Garrett Alexander (SD) pinned Holton Spencer, 1:53; 170 — Lawrence Cotton (WV) won by technical fall over Tyler Hixson, 4:53; 182 — Billy Raulston (WV) pinned Hunter Maynor, 2:31; 195 — Ric Kennett (WV) dec. Christian Dean, 6-3; 220 — Xzayvier Beckingham (WV) pinned Dylan Aslinger, 1:01; 285 — Zach Miller (WV) pinned Jesse McNew, 0:39.