The Trojans — relegated to fourth place after a 38-29 consolation loss to Ravenwood — were stunned 42-33 in the semifinals by Wilson Central for the right to challenge the Blue Raiders for the state championship.
Cleveland crushed the Wildcats 78-4 in the 2013 championship match, but knew Saturday’s finals would be another story against the much improved Wildcats.
Cleveland coach Jake Yost, who also expected the Trojans as an opponent, said after defeating Ravenwood in the Blue Raiders’ semifinal match he didn't feel anything would change as far as final preparation. The Raiders planned to wrestle the Cleveland way and a change in the expected opponent would not cause a change in plans.
In the end, it changed nothing for the Raiders who rolled to their second straight duals championship with a 50-15 beat down of the Wildcats.
“We won 11 out of 14 matches, that's unreal,” said an elated Cleveland coach Jake Yost as Cleveland prepared to accept the championship trophy. “We try not to worry about what everybody has done. We worry about ourselves. I think that’s a testament to our doing so well. We just don’t worry about everybody else. We don’t necessarily train for other teams, we do what we’re good at, stay in the positions we want to be and all that other stuff takes care of itself.”
The Blue Raiders started the championship round with a quick pin by Ethan West at 195 pounds. Koran Kennedy fought back in the second period against Wilson Central’s John Kramer to tie the score 2-2 going into the third period. After a scoreless third, the first overtime failed to produce a winner. Kennedy took a 3-2 lead with three second left in the second OT and held Kramer on the mat in the final 30 seconds to give Cleveland a 9-0 lead.
In a 285-pound battle of sophomores, Cleveland’s John Gaither got a takedown of Christian Frans to go up 2-0 after the first period. A Gaither reversal in the second made it 4-2 before the Blue Raider put Frans’ shoulders to the mat for the pin. At 106, Colton Landers pinned Nick King to give Cleveland a 21-0 lead.
“Most people didn’t think we were capable of winning that match. We knew we were,” Yost said of Gaither’s victory. “It kind of boosted our team up, then we go out there and take care of business at heavyweight and win match after match after match.”
Tristan Blansit made it 24-0 before Wilson Central picked up its first points of the night with a decision at 120. Chris DeBien put the Blue Raiders back in the win column with a technical fall victory.
In the 132-pound bout, Austin Stevison came back from an early 2-0 deficit in the first period to tie it up at 2-2 at the end of the period against Central’s Austin Richard (53-0). Stevison again battled back in the second to tie the match at 4-4 headed into the third period. Stevison broke free with a reversal with 54 seconds left before Richard rallied back to tie it at 6-6 with a reversal of his own with 36 seconds left on the clock sending the match into overtime.
In the first OT, a disputed penalty point on an illegal hold by Richard gave Cleveland the win and the Blue Raiders a 32-3 lead. Cleveland’s Ezra Taylor held a 3-0 lead after four minutes of wrestling. Wilson Central cut it to 3-2 early in the third, but Taylor held on for the 3-2 win giving the Blue Raiders their second consecutive state duals title with an insurmountable 35-3 lead.
William Haas continued to add to the Cleveland lead with an injury default win at 145. Wilson Central made it 41-9 with a pin at 152 before Cleveland's Aaron Oliver put the Raiders ahead 44-9 with a decision at 160. Josh Hamilton wrestled to a second period pin at 170 before the Raiders decided to forfeit the final match to make the end score 50-9.
“They did an amazing job,” said Yost. “With the good run we’ve had over the last couple of years it’s incredible to me these guys never cease to amaze me. They continually to, not necessarily out reach my expectations because we set our expectations high, but they continue to achieve them and do things maybe other people don’t think they are capable of. But they know and we know they are.”
BLUE RAIDERS 46,
The Blue Raiders bounced back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 6-3 lead over Ravenwood with a pin by West at 195 only to watch as the Raptors move ahead by a single point with a pin at 220.
It would be the last time the Raptors saw the top of the leaderboard.
Cleveland’s Gaither picked up a decision at 285 and Colton Landers gave the Raiders a 15-7 lead with a pin at 106. A Ravenwood injury default put Cleveland out front by 14. Taylor Bishop kept the fire hot with a pin at 120. DeBien came through with another pin at 126 and Stevison wrestled to a major decision at 132 to put the Raiders out front 37-7. Taylor got the final pin for Cleveland with a pin at 138 and Haas put the final points up for the Raiders with a decision at 145. From there Cleveland forfeited the final three matches to the Raptors to make the final score 46-25.
WILSON CENTRAL 42,
The silence from the Soddy-Daisy fan section inside the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Arena told the story Saturday afternoon.
The Trojans, who were odds-on favorites to take on Cleveland in the state duals finals, were solidly whipped by the Wildcats, 42-33 in the semifinals.
The Trojans came out strong with a pin by Tyler Hixson at 182, but quickly fell behind 18-6 after two Wilson Central pins and a Soddy forfeit.
Soddy's Chase Payne made it 28-9 with a decision at 106 before Wilson Central pulled out front 40-9 with pins at 113 and 120. Needing a pin to stay alive, the Trojans lost to Central by a decision at 126. The Panthers picked up three more wins for good measure before forfeiting their final four bouts to close out with a 42-33 victory over the Trojans.
WILSON CENTRAL 15
(Match started at 195)
106 — Colton Landers (C) pinned Nick King (WC); 1:19; 113 — Tristan Blansit (C) dec. Caleb Berta (WC), 5-1; 120 — Christian Cerrito (WC) dec. Taylor Bishop (C), 4-2; 126 — Christopher DeBien (C) tech fall. Lane Dickerson (WC), 19-4; 132 — Austin Stevison (C) dec. Austin Richards (WC), 7-6 OT; 138 — Ezra Taylor (C) dec. Eddie Small (WC), 3-2; 145 — William Haas (C) win by injury default over John Michael Jenkinson (WC); 152 — Michael Bimms (WC) pinned Jonathan Martin (C), 0:15; 160 — Aaron Oliver (C) dec. Josh Davidson (WC), 13-8; 170 — Josh Hamilton (C) pinned Tyler Georgeadis (WC), 3:25; 182 — Benjamin Liles (WC) win by forfeit; 195 — Ethan West (C) pinned Benjamin Liles (WC), 0:38; 220 — Koran Kennedy (C) dec. John Kramer (WC), 3-2 3 OT; 285 — John Gaither (C) pinned Christian Frans (WC), 3:36
ROUND OF 16
CLEVELAND 58, BEECH 12
(Match started at 170)
106 — Josue Nino (C) pinned Liam Valle (B), 3:14; 113 — Tristian Blansit (C) win by forfeit; 120 — Landon Butler (B) dec Taylor Bishop (C) 4-2; 126 — Christopher Debien (C) pinned William Downing (B), 2:50; 132 — Austin Stevison (C) pinned Joseph Garrett (B), 0:39; 138 — Ezra Taylor (C) pinned Kyler Johnson (B), 0:32; 145 — Elan McCasland (B) Dec. William Haas (C), 8-3; 152 — Damon Wilson (B) pinned Jonathan Martin (C), 2:26; 160 — Aaron Oliver (C) dec. Michael King (B), 8—7; 170 — Josh Hamilton (C) dec. Kaleb Rippy (B), 3-0;
182 — Samuel Garcia (C) pinned Jordan Claybrook (B), 5:01; 195 — Ethan West (C) pinned Joseph Johnson (B), 1:34; 220 — Koran Kennedy (C) pinned Peyton Reinert (B), 1:58; 285 — John Gaither (C) major dec. Devol Whitfield (B), 11-2.
CLEVELAND 42, KNOX HALLS 36
(Match started at 182)
106 — Colton Landers (C) major dec. Tanner Justice (KH), 15-6; 113 — Evan Huling (KH) pinned Tristian Blansit (C), 4:42; 120 — Taylor Bishop (C) dec. Calvin Giles (KH), 7-5 OT; 126 — Christopher DeBien (C) pinned Matthew Gold (KH), 1:09; 132 — Austin Stevison (C) tech. fall Trey Lepper (KH), 20-5; 138 — Joe Fox (KH) win by forfeit; 145 — Andrew Kitts (KH) win by forfeit; 152 — Colton Mcmahan (KH) win by forfeit; 160 — Sirrel Robinson (KH) win by forfeit; 170 — Tyler Kalish (KH) win by forfeit; 182 — Josh Hamilton (C) pinned Brandon Williams (KH), 3:19; 195 — Ethan West (C) pinned Tanner Huff (KH), 1:12; 220 — Koran Kennedy (C) pinned Dylan York (KH), 1:01; 285 — John Gaither (C) pinned Jacob Woods (KH), 2:42.
CLEVELAND 46, RAVENWOOD 25
(Match started at 182)
106 — Colton Landers (C) pinned Elijah Dryer (R), 0:52;
113 — Tristian Blansit (C) win by injury default, 1:44;
120 — Taylor Bishop (C) pinned Dennis Manko (R), 1:40; 126 — Christopher Debien (C) pinned Charles Parsons (R), 1:57; 132 — Austin Stevison (C) major dec. Chris Rowland (R), 17-8; 138 — Ezra Taylor (C) pinned Tripp Waring (R); 0:23; 145 — William Haas (C) dec. Alec Finney (R), 6-2; 152 — Taylor Warren (R) win by forfeit; 160 — Robin Klingensmith (R) win by forfeit;
170 - Alex Omessi (R) win by forfeit; 182 — Cade Smith (R) dec. Josh Hamilton (C), 3-2; 195 — Ethan West (C) pinned Ryan Geltch (R), 0:51; 220 - Rex Shotts (R) major dec. Koran Kennedy (C),12-3; 285 — John Gaither (C) dec. Rhondell Walker (R), 3-2.