Both have won at least the last two state duals titles — Bradley Central for large schools and Hixson for small.
That’s where the similarity ended as the Bears ripped the Wildcats 67-9 to keep their 18-year home winning streak alive Tuesday night.
“I feel good and confident about where we are,” longtime Bradley coach Steve Logsdon stated after his top-ranked team improved to 12-0 in dual meet competition this season, including a sweep of the Tullahoma Duals over the weekend.
“We are getting better and starting to wrestle ‘Bradley style,’” he added. “We’ve got some momentum going and this weekend will be a another good test.”
With the prestigious South Carolina Southern Slam Invitational title under their belt, the Bears will host the annual Bradley Invitational this weekend at Jim Smiddy Arena.
“We’ve got some strong teams and strong individuals coming in, so it should be a great tournament,” Logsdon remarked. “Nobody’s going to just walk through this tournament to win an individual title. They are all going to face some top quality opponents.”
The action will begin Friday at 5 p.m. as 24 teams are scheduled to participate with five mats running full blast throughout the day Saturday as well and the championship matches scheduled for 5 that evening.
With Tuesday’s meet starting with the 215-pound weight class, Logsdon had his 1-2 knockout punch of second-ranked Tucker Bolton and top-ranked Patrick Benson to start things off.
“We’re pretty set up and down our lineup that no matter where we start they are going to run into one or two of our top guys in the first three or four matches, but to have Bolton and Benson going right out of the gate really gets us off to a strong start,” Logsdon declared.
Bolton (215) needed 85 seconds and Benson (285) just 36 to pin their opponents, starting a string of six straight Bear victories that didn’t go the distance.
Sixth-ranked Dakota Ream (103) followed with a 58-second pin before Dakota Bromley (112) posted the first of two 16-0 technical falls on the night.
Second-ranked Jacob Climer (119) and No. 1-rated Ethan Hames (125) put their opponents’ shoulders to the mat in 4:57 and 1:50 respectively.
The first tightly contested match of the evening came at 130 where Bradley’s Jericho Crutcher, ranked fifth in state, jumped out to a 6-2 lead after the opening period but then saw that lead trimmed to 10-9 at the second break. The Bear junior was able add a takedown in the final two minutes to claim a 12-10 victory.
After third-ranked Tyler Schuch (135) made it eight straight Bradley wins with the second 16-0 technical fall of the night, a matchup of state-ranked wrestlers took the mat at 140.
Bradley’s Tyler Pitt, ranked third, battled fifth-ranked Gary Cosey to a scoreless tie through the first two periods, but chose the down position to open the final frame and within a few seconds earned the match’s first point with an escape.
The pair danced around unable to take each other down until a mutual attack sent them to the mat with 20 seconds remaining. Cosey was on top but Pitt had his leg so no takedown was awarded. However with five seconds to go, Pitt looked at the referee and released one hand to complain about a violation, giving Cosey an opening to claim a controversial takedown just before the buzzer sounded.
“We learn something every time we come out,” Logsdon related. “I didn’t think it was a good award, but Pitt shouldn’t have released his grip to motion to the ref with just a few seconds to go.”
The meet finished with five straight pins — four by Bears Jacob Staton (145, 2:52), top-ranked Bradley Colbaugh (152, :32), sixth-ranked Jacob Bailey (160, :43) and Devin McCulley (189, 1:38) and one for Hixson’s Devante Sharpshire (171, :45).
Bears 67, Wildcats 9
(match started at 215)
103 — Dakota Ream (BC) pinned Galin Walls, :58 112 — Dakota Bromley (BC) tech. fall Grayson Layne, 16-0, 4:22; 119 — Jacob Climer (BC) pinned Sean Borders, 4:57; 125 — Ethan Hames (BC) pinned Isaiah Hawthorne, 1:50; 130 — Jericho Crutcher (BC) dec. Giovanni Palacio, 12-10; 135 — Tyler Schuch (BC) tech. fall Amir Brean, 16-0, 4:14; 140 — Gary Cosey (H) dec. Tyler Pitts, 2-1; 145 — Jacob Staton (BC) pinned Nick Pack, 2:52; 152 — Bradley Colbaugh (BC) pinned Aaron Alemany, :32; 160 — Jacob Bailey (BC) pinned Albert Armstrong, :43; 171 — Devante Sharpshire (H) pinned Jesse Disney, :45; 189 — Devin McCulley (BC) pinned A.J. Hall, 1:38; 215 — Tucker Bolton (BC) pinned Christian Varner, 1:25; 285 — Patrick Benson (BC) pinned Andrew Branham, :36.