Forrest wrestlers fight to the end
The pride displayed representing your school is what most people will remember.
The Forrest Rockets held its shield with honor, fighting to the last breath at the Tennessee Scholastic Sports Athletic Association State Wrestling Championships at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center in Franklin last weekend.
"Coach Roberson and I were talking on the way home yesterday and the good thing is everyone here except Jordan will be back next year," said Forrest coach Kyle Stacey. "The student body that we had here yesterday and today was amazing, it was exciting for everyone and I am glad they got a chance to see what wrestling is all about."
Freshman Dylan Pendley took home the lone medal for the Rockets, finishing in fourth place in the 113-pound weight class.
"It didn't go quite the way I wanted it to go, I wanted come out state champion, but congratulations to Hayden (Hammonds) and the rest of the guys," said Pendley.
"I'm coming back next year and I want that top spot."
Pendley came into the tournament as the fourth seed and the only ninth-grader in his bracket where he would eventually face four returning state medalists.
Pendley opened up versus Hixon's Spencer Groves in a rematch from the dual championships a couple of weeks ago where Pendley won 12-5.
This time it was much harder for Pendley as Groves battled to the end before the returning medalist succumbed in an 8-6 decision.
Next up for the feisty Rocket was Greenville's Joey Campbell, who also gave Pendley a run for his money, but once again the Chapel Hill grappler came out on top 12-10 in another three-round win that secured a spot on the medal stand.
East Ridges' Hunter Owens, the eighth seed, upset Pendley in the next round, winning on a12-2 major decision to send Pendley to the consolation round.
"It's hard taking losses in front of your hometown and everybody here that comes and supports you," said Pendley. "Just having to lose in front of them sucks."
Going for third
Pendley came back strong on Saturday night, pinning Austin Gilley of West Greene in the third round of a scrappy bout, setting up the third-place match versus Alcoa's Michael Colon.
Colon took an early 6-0 first-round lead over Pendley, who settled in for a second round 0-0 draw, but the third round was full of fireworks as Pendley was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for questioning a call on an apparent cross-face punch by Colon.
Stacey also argued the call and was ejected from the match after repeatedly standing up for his freshman grappler.
"I knew that was going to be a tough match and I thought it was an apparent cross face, so we tried to let it be known that we disagreed with that," said Stacey "They said we were talking, but if a kid is coming across his face with a cross face, you are going to say something, it's hard not to."
The penalty points were too much to overcome for Pendley (47-3) as his maiden trip to the state tournament ended in a 9-1 loss.
"You can't underestimate anybody, anything can happen here," said Pendley. "Our whole team needs to learn from this and from our past wrestlers and I'm sure we will all be here next year."
Eagleville senior Hayden Hammonds (56-1), who finished fourth last year and beat Pendley in last week's region final, went on to win the state title with a 5-2 decision over Owens.
Eagleville had two other medalists as Caden Pennington finished third in the 126-pound weight class and Landon Fowler came home fifth in the 132-pound division.
Forrest senior Jerry Jordan lost his first-round match when he was pinned by William Bradley from Knoxville Fulton.
Jordan's season ended sadly when he had to retire because of a concussion suffered in his consolation round bout with Ronny Huff from Hixon.
"It's a shame, you always remember that last match, but Jerry has had a good career, won a lot of matches at Forrest, and we will miss him next year and we hope the best for him in whatever he chooses to do."
Jordan plans to join the Army and become a Ranger.
Jordan (29-8) was taken off the floor by stretcher to Williamson County Medical Center where he was treated and released.
"I called his mom and he did have a concussion, but his scans turned out alright, so hopefully all he will have is a big headache tomorrow," said Stacey.
Rocket junior Clay Watson (24-22) was pinned by Franklin Darnell of Pigeon Forge in the first round and his season ended on a fall in the second round by Steven Novack from Kingston.
Billy Clanton earned a first-round bye with his third-place finish in the Region 3A-AA Tournament, but the Forrest sophomore went up against some tough competition and was pinned in the second round by Signal Mountain's Cale Shelton.
Clanton (23-12) was eliminated from the tournament in his next bout by senior Christian Jackson from Red Bank.
"I talked to Billy and explained to him that this is a tough tournament and it should be a tough tournament," said Stacey. "I think he was a little overwhelmed at first, but he is over that and we expect big things from Billy next year."
CJ Monce (11-6) came in as the fourth seed in the 120-pound weight class and after winning on a first-round fall over Logan McDonald from East Ridge, the Forrest sophomore lost a tough 7-6 decision to Greenville's Grayson Reed.
Monce's tournament ended when he was pinned by senior Caleb Salyers from Sullivan South in the first round of consolations.
"CJ has had a great year, he fought back from a devastating injury at the beginning of the year and making state two years in a row is a big accomplishment," said Stacey.