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WCHS wrestlers finally hit mat
wchs pioneers

COVID-19 has made the high school sports seasons different and Warren County wrestling has experienced many unexpected changes.

Thursday night, the Pioneer wrestlers finally had a live wrestling match only three days after their first real practice. Their opponent, Cookeville, has not missed a day of school or practice, and that gave the rival Cavaliers a major advantage for a sport that is all about conditioning and competitiveness.

After the match, WCHS head coach Matt Turner reviewed the performance positively, “I’m ecstatic. I’m real proud of our guys’ effort. I challenged them to go as hard as they could for as long as they could. We just know that we are not in wrestling shape, and there is no way to duplicate a live wrestling match. Technically you cannot get them ready in just three days.”

Man to man, the Pioneers did well. The Pioneers lost 24 points against them by having to forfeit four weight classifications due to not having an available wrestler. The Pioneer wrestlers won five matches, and the Cookeville Cavaliers won five matches. The Cavaliers had four pins, and Warren County had two. Warren County lost the match 52-28.

Turner said, “I would love to have this match in a week, just a week, to get in more conditioning. I feel as though Dayton (Jernigan) does not lose his match. Alan Esparza does not lose his match. We will have some kids go down a weight class. We will get stronger. All in all, I am very excited to see kids on the mats.”

Alec Smith (145 lb.) and Issac Gillentine (195 lb.) both had pins for Warren County. Other Pioneers with victories were Caleb Mackie (126 lb.), Stephen Curtis (152 lb.), and Kalah Lusk (160. lb.).

One of the night’s most exciting matches was between the heavyweights Dayton Jernigan and Samuel Harness. Jernigan is only a sophomore and coming off an impressive football season for the Pioneers.

The match was even for the first round or two, but Jernigan had a nose bleed and had to be attended to a couple of times that halted the match. Jernigan exhibited a lot of power and tenacity. There were two big bodies battling in this match, and Jernigan showed a lot of promise.

Warren County goes to Manchester on Tuesday for a tri-match with Coffee County and Rockvale. Warren County will face Coffee County again at home on Friday, which could be Senior Night. The following Tuesday, Jan. 19, the Pioneer wrestling team will go to Franklin County. On Saturday, Jan. 23, Warren County will compete in a new event, a District Individual Tournament.