Warren County wasn’t going to go down on its own mats without a fight in the Central Tennessee Wrestling Conference individual tournament held locally Saturday. The WCMS Pioneers put up a good fight, claiming eight individual medals, including Daniel Wright continuing his unbeaten season with a championship in the 165-pound division.
"I’m incredibly proud of what they accomplished Saturday,” said WCMS coach Ben Matheney. “We had four first-year guys who were able to finish in the top four of their weight classes. This fourth-place finish (as a team) is the best we have had in quite a few years.”
Oakland, which had four individual winners, won the team event. Stewart’s Creek and Prescott South were next, with the Cookeville school edging Warren County by just 10.5 points for third place.
With a full roster, Matheney feels like his team would’ve climbed higher in the team standings.
“It was a little bittersweet due to the fact that injuries and illness kept three of our wrestlers off the mat,” said Matheney. “The team as a whole has come a long way so far this season. I’m eager to see where they end up this year and see how they can contribute to what (Matt) Turner and his staff are doing with the high school.”
While Wright was the lone Pioneer to stand atop his division, he wasn’t alone when it came to getting on the podium. PJ Truax (185 pounds), Tilmon Martin (140 pounds) and Brayden McKinley (123 pounds) each took second in their weight classes, while Shayd Johnson (215 pounds), Brian Currey (265 pounds) and AJ Johnson (86 pounds) all brought home bronze.
Lukas Bernhardt rounded out the individual medalists, finishing fourth in the stacked 115-pound field.
Wright was simply dominant on his way to a title Saturday. Following a bye – earned in part for his 18-0 record entering the event – Wright quickly dispatched Beech’s Camden Rigsby in the quarterfinals. Wright pinned Risgby in the first period, setting up a matchup with White County’s Noah Adkins in the semifinals. Wright was once again quick to take his opponent to the mat, pinning Adkins in just 79 seconds.
In the finals, Wright downed Jourdyn Burress by technical fall, with the match ending once the Pioneer took a 15-0 lead on points in the opening seconds of the second period.
Truax earned a forfeit in the first match in the seven-person field at 185 pounds, then took down Givens Elgin in the semifinals. Truax pinned Elgin in the first period, working his way into a dominating position and finishing off his opponent to move into the finals.
Truax went toe-to-toe with Oakland’s Hayven Jenkins in the finals, but fell by a 4-2 decision. Jenkins had taken down his first two opponents in the first minute.
Martin’s bid into the finals came in one of the most exhilarating finishes in the tournament. Martin battled Stewart’s Creek’s Marcel Gordon to a 4-4 draw through three rounds, setting up a sudden-victory finish.
Martin was able to get the first takedown in extra time, earning the win and a spot in the finals, where he ultimately fell to Eziah Peek by a 9-1 decision.
McKinley topped Oakland’s Andrew Youngblood by fall in 53 seconds before defeating Siegel’s Brodie Garmon by a 4-1 decision to make the finals. James Strong outdueled McKinley in the finals, pinning the Pioneer early in the second period.
Bernhardt, Currey, Shayd Johnson and AJ Johnson combined to go 11-5 to help the team grab four more medals.