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Pinning hopes on a state title
Wrestling - Garrett Vallem.jpg
WCHS wrestler Garrett Vallem takes down Armando Comacho of Smyrna in gaining a pin in just 0:26 in region tournament competition. Vallem missed qualifying for the state by one spot in the 195-pound class.
Wrestling Ike Gillentine.jpg
Pioneer wrestler Ike Gillentine is pumped after being awarded two crucial points by the referee in region tournament action. Gillentine is one of two Warren County wrestlers to qualify for the state tournament.

Two WCHS wrestlers will be battling for state crowns this weekend when the state wrestling tournament hits the mat at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center in Franklin.

WCHS senior Allison Franco is shooting for her third straight state medal, while Pioneer sophomore Ike Gillentine will be making his first state tournament appearance as competition gets under way Thursday.

Franco enters the state tournament fresh off a region championship.

“Allison wrestled four great matches to go 4-0 and come home as region champ,” said WCHS wrestling coach Matt Turner. “She’s a two-time state medalist who will be moving up a weight class from last year.”

Franco is the only two-time medalist in the 150-pound bracket. However, the eight-girl bracket does feature the returning state champion.

Gillentine enters the state tournament coming off a second-place region finish on Saturday in a tournament held at WCHS. Wrestling in the 182-pound class, Gillentine won two matches by pinfall before losing to Blackman’s Brooks Sacharczyk in the region championship by a 6-2 decision. Sacharczyk is 48-1 this year.

“Ike is a very consistent, very aggressive wrestler who has worked his tail off all the way back to summer camps,” said Turner. “He’s a strong guy with good conditioning who has a really good opportunity. Sometimes you draw a No. 1 stud in the first round of the state, but that wasn’t the case for Ike.”

Turner says there are only two returning medalists in the 182-pound bracket which features 32 wrestlers. Gillentine’s first-round opponent is Collin Smith of Mt. Juliet.

While Franco and Gillentine are the only two wrestlers advancing to the state tournament, which requires a top four finish in the region, several other WCHS wrestlers came close.