Forrest grapplers win region, send eight to state

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Defending state champion Jeff Gross (top) remained undefeated on the season after he claimed the Region 3A/AA title on Saturday.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest wrestling team keeps getting better every year and this may turn out to be the best ever after the Chapel Hill grapplers traveled to Sequatchie County High School at Dunlap last weekend for the Region 3A/AA Tournament and turned in a record setting performance.

The Rockets were not sure how they would fare in the new region realignment with mostly Chattanooga area programs, but in the end they prevailed in the team score and sent eight wrestlers to the 2018 TSSAA Wrestling State Championships at the Franklin Expo Center on Friday and Saturday.

“It was a strong performance, we were not sure what to expect out of the Chattanooga teams, but our guys showed up and wrestled well,” Forrest coach Chris Slaughter said. “It is a big accomplishment for this program. It sets a new team record for both categories.”

“Hopefully, we can continue the trend at state. We will just have to remain focused on one match at a time.”

Defending state champion Jeff Gross remained undefeated on the season at 22-0, sweeping through 126-pound bracket and claiming the region title with a 10-0 major decision over Red Bank’s Gage Evans in the championship bout.

“Jeff has wrestled very well this year,” Slaughter said. “He is always the technical, very methodical wrestler. He had a good test in the semifinals, but stayed focused and did not let some poor calls distract him.”

Freshman Cole Geeting (right) punched his ticket to the state tournament with a region crown in the 145-pound weight class.

Cole Geeting (18-3) continued his outstanding freshman season, winning all three of his matches to claim the 145-pund title, including an exciting 7-5 double overtime win over Nolensville’s Gavin Channell in the championship match.

Forrest senior Austin Geeting (left) finished in second place at Sequatchie County and will wrestle in the state tournament.

Senior Austin Geeting (16-3) made it a state tournament brother combo as he took home second place in the 160-pound weight class, winning his first two bouts before being defeated 6-2 by Jonah Bird from Red Bank in the finals. Austin Geeting came in sixth place at the state tournament last year in the 170-pound weight class.

“We knew these two could perform well, we just had to get them in the right weight classes,” Slaughter said about the Geeting brothers. “Once they accomplished that we knew how tough they could be.”

Sophomore Nick McClendon (23-1) received two byes before showing his domination of the 170-pound bracket with a pair of pins to win the region title.

Sophomore Nick McClendon (top) takes his 23-1 record to the TSSAA state tournament this week after his dominating win at the region tournament.

McClendon pinned Lloyd Pinheiro from East Ridge in the semifinals before taking home the region title with a second round fall over Whitwell’s Allen Ashworth in the championship bout.

“Nick performed very well,” Slaughter said. “We knew he could win it all and that he could be the dark horse no one expected.”

Senior Drew Carlisle (22-3) will also be making a return trip to the state tournament after he won all three of his matches at Sequatchie County.

Senior Drew Carlisle (left) makes a return trip to the state tournament after gutting out an overtime win in the region title bout.

Carlisle pinned Jamal Keesee from East Nashville in the quarterfinals and won by a fall over Nolensville’s McKinley Wagner in the semifinals, setting up an epic championship bout with Jackson Hash from Red Bank.

Carlisle and Hash battled to a 0-0 first round tie before Hash garnered one point on an escape in round two.

Carlisle regained his escape point to tie the match at 1-1 in the third round and there was no scoring in the first overtime period.

The Forrest grappler took a 3-2 lead in the second overtime period before winning the championship 5-3 with a takedown over Hash. Carlisle finished in third place last year at the state tournament in the 182-pound bracket.

“Drew’s performance was outstanding, he was clutch in that third overtime,” Slaughter stated.

Wesley McCoy (top) has come back with a vengeance after being injured for most of the season as the junior finished in first place in the 195-pound weight class.

Junior Wesley McCoy (7-1) has been injured most of the season, but came back with a fury at the region tournament, claiming the 195-pound title with a pair of pins after garnering first and second round byes.

McCoy pinned Cascade’s Grant Countess in the semifinals before coming away with a three-round 5-3 decision over East Ridge’s Pedro Bautista in the title bout. McCoy finished in third place in the 160-pound weight class at last year’s state tournament.

“Wesley has had some adversity, but looks strong and can perform very well at this weight,” Slaughter said. “It is a difficult situation giving up so much weight, but he is a tough competitor.”

Senior Bryton Spitzley (top) makes his first state tournament appearance after coming up with a strong second-place finish at Dunlap.

Forrest also got two more state qualifiers when seniors Bryton Spitzley and Cody Connelly made their way through.

Spitzley (21-5) came home in third place in the 152-pound bracket, wrestling four matches at the region tournament and beating Signal Mountain’s Oliver Goodgame 13-10 in a three-round battle in the third place bout.

Cody Donnelly (right) will also be making his first trip to state after finishing in fourth place in the 220-pound weight class at the Region 3A/AA Tournament on Saturday.

Donnelly (8-9) also gutted out a four-match region tournament, falling in the semifinals to Jacob Miller from Nolensville before battling back to beat East Rudge’s Michael King 4-0 in the consolation round to finish in fourth place and punch his ticket to Franklin this week. Thomas Argo from Whitwell beat Cody Donnelly 12-6 in the third place match.

“I kinda expected it to be honest, I knew we had some very good draws,” Slaughter said about Spitzley and Donnelly. “Those two showed up and performed well. I am very proud of these two.”

The TSSAA State Wrestling Tournament begins Friday at 10 a.m. and continues through Saturday night with the championship bouts kicking off at 5:30 p.m.

“We will keep it fun,” Slaughter stated. “We plan to train with various other programs which should help to break the monotony and keep it fun.”

TSSAA Region 3A/AA Tournament results

106-Pounds: Braiden Vanderploeg (11-13)

Championship Round 1 - Braiden Vanderploeg (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Desmon Drake (East Ridge) 11-9 won by fall over Braiden Vanderploeg (Forrest), 0:43.

Consolation Round 2 - Braiden Vanderploeg (Forrest) received a bye.

Consolation Round 3 - Braiden Vanderploeg (Forrest) won by fall over Korey Nettles (Tennessee School for the Blind), 0:43.

Consolation Semifinal- Gabe Pennington (Eagleville) 32-7 won by fall over Braiden Vanderploeg (Forrest), 0:29.

113: Forest Ozburn (11-14)

Championship Round 1 - Forest Ozburn (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Forest Ozburn (Forrest) won by fall over Logan Roberts (Eagleville), 1:56.

Semifinal - Isaac Tate (Signal Mountain) 24-5 won by fall over Forest Ozburn (Forrest), 1:00.

Consolation Semifinal - Hunter Nolan (Sequatchie Co.) 6-13 won by fall over Forest Ozburn (Forrest), 2:43.

126: Jeff Gross (22-0)

Championship Round 1 - Jeff Gross (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Jeff Gross (Forrest) won by fall over Kayden Walker (Nolensville), 1:50.

Semifinal - Jeff Gross (Forrest) won by decision over Kevin Muschel (Signal Mountain) 24-8, (Dec. 5-2).

1st Place Match - Jeff Gross (Forrest) won by major decision over Gage Evans (Red Bank), 14-6 (MD 10-0).

132: Hunter Pendley (12-12)

Championship Round 1 - Hunter Pendley (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Hunter Pendley (Forrest) won by fall over Zane Willis (Watertown), 5:51.

Semifinal - Wyatt McLemore (Eagleville) 32-3 won by fall over Hunter Pendley (Forrest), 3:12.

Consolation Semifinal - Ty Martin (Nolensville) 35-19 won by major decision over Hunter Pendley (Forrest), (MD 16-6).

138: Carson Blackwell (9-13)

Championship Round 1 - Carson Blackwell (Forrest) 9-13 received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Will Keener (Sequatchie Co.) 19-4 won by decision over Carson Blackwell (Forrest), (Dec 8-1).

Consolation Round 2 - Carson Blackwell (Forrest) received a bye.

Consolation Round 3 - Carson Blackwell (Forrest) won by fall over Brandon Smotherman Watertown), 1:27.

Consolation Semifinal - Amado Gomez (Whitwell) 9-9 won by decision over Carson Blackwell (Forrest), (Dec 7-2).

145: Cole Geeting (18-3)

Championship Round 1 - Cole Geeting (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Cole Geeting (Forrest) won by fall over Clarence Cordell (East Ridge), 3:01.

Semifinal - Cole Geeting (Forrest) won by decision over John King (Whitwell) 12-6 (Dec 6-5).

1st Place Match - Cole Geeting (Forrest) won in tie breaker - 1 over Gavin Channell (Nolensville) 31-9 (TB-1 7-5).

152: Bryton Spitzley (21-5)

Championship Round 1 - Bryton Spitzley (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Bryton Spitzley (Forrest) won by fall over Noah Smith (Cascade), 0:26.

Semifinal - Jacob Roberts (Whitwell) 12-5 won by decision over Bryton Spitzley (Forrest), (Dec 11-9).

Consolation Semifinal - Bryton Spitzley (Forrest) won by fall over Jacob Franklin (Watertown), 3:35.

3rd Place Match - Bryton Spitzley (Forrest) won by decision over Oliver Goodgame (Signal Mountain) 11-13 (Dec 13-10).

160: Austin Geeting (16-3)

Championship Round 1 - Austin Geeting (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Austin Geeting (Forrest) won by fall over Jonathan Keesee (East Nashville), 1:48.

Semifinal - Austin Geeting (Forrest) won by decision over Daniel Hodges (East Ridge) 19-5 (Dec 4-1).

1st Place Match - Jonah Bird (Red Bank) 6-2 won by major decision over Austin Geeting (Forrest), (MD 13-0).

170: Nick McClendon (23-1)

Championship Round 1 - Nick McClendon (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Nick McClendon (Forrest) received a bye.

Semifinal - Nick McClendon (Forrest) won by fall over Lloyd Pinheiro (East Ridge), 1:11.

1st Place Match - Nick McClendon (Forrest) won by fall over Allen Ashworth (Whitwell), 3:29.

182: Andrew Carlisle (22-3)

Championship Round 1 - Andrew Carlisle (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Andrew Carlisle (Forrest) won by fall over Jamal Keesee (East Nashville), 1:39.

Semifinal - Andrew Carlisle (Forrest) won by major decision over McKinley Wagner (Nolensville) 15-15 (MD 10-0).

1st Place Match - Andrew Carlisle (Forrest) won in tie breaker - 1 over Jackson Hash (Red Bank) 13-3 (TB-1 5-3).

195: Wesley McCoy (7-1)

Championship Round 1 - Wesley McCoy (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Wesley McCoy (Forrest) received a bye.

Semifinal - Wesley McCoy (Forrest) won by fall over Grant Countess (Cascade), 2:29.

1st Place Match - Wesley McCoy (Forrest) won by decision over Pedro Bautista (East Ridge) 13-7 (Dec 5-3).

220: Cody Donnelly (8-9)

Champ. Round 1 - Cody Donnelly (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Cody Donnelly (Forrest) won by fall over Logan Moore (Eagleville), 4:00.

Semifinal - Jacob Miller (Nolensville) 39-3 won by decision over Cody Donnelly (Forrest), (Dec 6-0).

Consolation Semifinal - Cody Donnelly (Forrest) won by decision over Michael King (East Ridge) 4-9 (Dec 4-0).

3rd Place Match - Thomas Argo (Whitwell) 12-6 won by decision over Cody Donnelly (Forrest), (Dec 7-1).

285: Sam Williams (3-6)

Championship Round 1 - Sam Williams (Forrest) received a bye.

Quarterfinal - Hayden Brammer (Nolensville) 26-15 won by fall over Sam Williams (Forrest), 2:00.

Consolation Round 2 - Sam Williams (Forrest) received a bye.

Consolation Round 3 - Sam Williams (Forrest) won by fall over Dylan Estes (Cascade) 6-11, 1:11.

Consolation Semifinal - James Headrick (Whitwell) 10-2 won by fall over Sam Williams (Forrest), 1:48.

Team Scores

2Signal Mountain-168.5
4Red Bank-135.5
6East Ridge-103.0
7Sequatchie County-86.0
9Tennessee School For The Blind-17.0