By PATRICK MacCOON
The local wrestling scene is ready to take off with a busy slate ahead that features the Al Miller Cleveland Duals this Saturday.Known for the quality of competition, the all-day Saturday tournament …
The local wrestling scene is ready to take off with a busy slate ahead that features the Al Miller Cleveland Duals this Saturday.
Known for the quality of competition, the all-day Saturday tournament to be held in Raider Arena starting at 8 a.m. features six of the top 10 teams in Class AAA along with other wrestling stalwarts in Father Ryan, Christian Brothers, Baylor and McCallie.
"This will be the 34th year of the Cleveland Duals," first-year CHS head coach Joey Knox said. "I think it is a great tournament for all the teams involved because it is a good measurement of how you line up with the best teams in the state. What we really hope for from this week is to improve on the little things we still need to get better at."
For Cleveland, a strong lineup with six top-3 ranked wrestlers has taken the top spot in the state in the first state Class AAA poll released this week.
The Blue Raider matmen are 6-1 to begin the season with the only loss coming to the No. 2 team in the country Wyoming Seminary (74-0).
With 10 ranked wrestlers overall, CHS has dominated its opposition so far to tune of a 359-61 points advantage in matches resulting in victory.
After a second-place finish at the Lake Norman, N.C., tournament this past weekend, which included a 72-6 win over the host, the schedule is loaded this week for first-year head coach Joey Knox and other local programs.
Tonight, Walker Valley will host a tri-meet against Cleveland and another tough opponent in Cookeville.
A pair of ranked battles will also take place in Jim Smiddy Arena between Bradley Central (ranked third by pin-tn.com) and Father Ryan, who both swept the duals and traditional titles at the state tournament last season.
No. 1 wrestlers in the state from the local area include Bradley’s Wes Devaney at 113 and Cleveland’s Cody Mathews at 145.
Knox Halls will visit Cleveland Friday before a tough field takes center stage Saturday.
The Blue Raiders are defending champions of the Duals. Senior second-ranked wrestler Jack Hicks (182) returns after landing the decisive pin to earn a walk-off 34-33 victory over Bradley Central for title.
Cleveland graduate and now UTC wrestler Colton Landers was named the Most Valuable Wrestler of the tournament, which included the most lopsided win over Baylor (53-15) in program history.
The Duals will feature four loaded pools from several of the top programs around the state and a few from out of state as well.
Pool A: McCallie, Bradley Central, Heritage, Gilmer, Ala.
Pool B: Science Hill, Christian Brothers, Carrolton, Cleveland’s B team
Pool C: Baylor, Beech, Halls, Southeast High School.
Pool D: Cleveland, Father Ryan, Vestavia Hills, Ala., Arlington High School
The Bears, who are 5-3 overall to begin the season, will begin the day at 8:30 a.m. with a match against Heritage. The Blue Raiders will take on Arlington High at the same time on one of six mats that will be in use at Raider Arena.
Bradley will also take on Gilmer (10 a.m.) and McCallie (1 p.m.), while Cleveland meets up with Vestavia Hills (10) and Father Ryan (1).
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