5 Rockets qualify for state
For the second year in a row, five Forrest wresters will be making the trip to the TSSAA Class A-AA State Wrestling Championships after a solid showing at the Region 3 A-AA tournament in Eagleville last weekend.
"This is always a bitter sweet day because you will be happy for the ones who made it, but feel bad for the ones who didn't," said Forrest coach Kyle Stacey.
"We told them this week that are always some guys who we think will make it and something happens and they don't, and there will be some you are not expecting that will make it," said Stacey.
Jerry Jordan (160 lbs.), Dylan Pendley (113), and CJ Monce (120) finished in second place at the region event, while Billy Clanton (195) came up with a third place medal and Clepper Watson (145) took home fourth place.
Both Pendley and Monce will be making a return trip to event that will be held at the Williamson County Expo Center, beginning on Friday.
Watson had the busiest day of all the Forrest grapplers, winning a first round match on a 9-2 decision over Joseph Redman from Montgomery Central before being pinned in the second round by Creek Wood's Jonathan Reda.
Watson battled back with a pin over Luke Lucas from Page and a 12-4 major decision over Eagleville's Ben Day, setting up an exciting 9-8 win over Jonathan Day (Martin Luther King) in the consolation semifinals that sealed a spot at state for the Forrest junior.
Watson (24-22) will wrestle Franklin Darnell (39-7) from Pigeon Forge in the first round.
"Clay absolutely battled all day long and he has been rewarded with his first trip to the state tournament," said Stacey.
Dallas Prater from Cheatham County pinned Watson in the third place match.
Jordan dominated his first three opponents, winning on pins over Toby Johnson (Fairview), Andrew Quarles (Watertown), and Chase Cornell (Cheatham Co. Central) to reach the finals in the 160-pound weight class where he faced Jason Sutton from Harpeth.
The two warriors battled back and forth before Jordan had to retire from the match in the third period because of an injured shoulder.
"My shoulder just gave out, I don't know it just got tired there, but I'm coming back with a vengeance next week," said Jordan.
The tussle was so good that it was named as the best match of the entire region tournament.
"It was a rough match, it started off real close and ended real close, it could have went either way," said Jordan.
Jordan (29-6) takes on William Bradley (17-10) from Knoxville Fulton in round one Friday.
Pendley came into the event undefeated on the season at 40-0 and had a first-round bye before easily taking down David Hamilton from Nashville Christian School in the quarterfinals.
Dylan Pendley had one of his toughest matches of the season versus MLK's Sevaughn Orr in the championship semifinals, but the Forrest freshman prevailed 12-6.
Pendley had his work cut out for him in the title bout, facing Eagleville's Hayden Hammonds, who finished in fourth place in last year's state tournament in the 120-pound weight division.
Hammonds had wrestled all year at 120 before making the switch to 113-pounds for the region tournament.
"I went into the match with a game plan of just keeping my head straight and go after him," said Hammonds, who was named the best wrestler of the event.
The Eagleville senior dominated the Forrest freshman the entire bout, winning 15-0 over Pendley on a technical fall.
"Now it's nothing less than first, nothing less than first," said Hammonds on the upcoming state tournament.
Asked about what Pendley can learn from the loss, Hammond's said, "I have been in that spot before, he just has to keep his head up and know he still has years to come."
Pendley (44-1) will tussle with Hixon's Spencer Grove (12-7)in his first match.
Monce also had a first round bye before advancing to the championship bout via pins over Dovin Buford (Martin Luther King) and Tanner Pharris (White House).
The Rocket sophomore went the distance in the title match with Harpeth's Braxton Hunter (Harpeth), but fell in a 9-2 decision.
Monce (10-4) opens up the state tournament with a bout versus Logan McDonald (2-2)from East Ridge.
Billy Clanton (195) has been a man on a mission this season, turning in his best performances late in the season and the sophomore continued his torrid run in Eagleville, beginning with a pin over Daylen Fisher (Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet) in the first round.
Clanton had to retire in his next match because of an injury, falling to Stevon Rose from Stratford.
Clanton shook off his injury and dominated the next three rounds with consecutive pins over Kaleb Patrick (Whites Creek), Lucio Ancora (Lipscomb Academy), and Daniel Vaughn (Page).
Clanton did not let up in the third place match, going toe-to-toe with Fairview's Joshua Ortiz-Derrick, before prevailing over the Yellow Jacket wrestler 4-3.
Clanton (23-10) was the only Rocket grappler to earn a first round bye in Friday's opening round.
Clanton's brother Bryan qualified for the state tournament last year for Forrest.
Peyton Sisk (126), Ivan Wentzel (152), and Dylan Booker (170) all came within one win of qualifying for the state tournament, while Nikolas McGuiggan (220), Harley Sisk (106), Joseph Williams (132), Cooper McNair, Dillon Kydd (285) and William Eddins (182) all wrestled well, but could not make it through their respective brackets to place.
Only the top four wrestlers in each weight class from the region earned a spot for the state tournament.
"These kids have wrestled hard all year, it's going to be tough, but I think Pendley and Monce have the upper hand a little because they have been there before," said Stacey.
"But the others should be in the right frame of mind too and I think the duals and that experience will help them."
Stacey smiled and said, "Anything can happen once you get there."