Rockets split home meet with Fairview and Eagleville

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Two-time defending state champion Jeff Gross (top) executes a pretty leg cradle for the pin over Fairview’s Gavin Tapia at a dual match at Forrest Thursday night.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets entertained Fairview and Eagleville in a dual match at Chapel Hill Thursday night and came away with a split, falling to the Yellow Jackets 55-24 before coming up with a big 36-20 win over the Eagles.

“It’s a good little rivalry we have with Eagleville and it was a good way to end the night with a win,” Forrest coach Chris Slaughter said.

Forrest was up against the wall before the match even started versus Fairview, giving up 30 points via forfeits as they were unable to fill five weight classes.

The Rockets trailed 42-0 before two-time defending state champion Jeff Gross (26-1) took to the mat in the 138-pound weight class and he took a big 10-1 lead before coming up with a pin over Fairview’s Gavin Tapia on a beautiful leg cradle late in the first period.

Forrest’s Carson Blackwell (top) scores some points in his match with Fairview’s Mario Pukl.

Carson Blackwell was pitted against Brody Cox in the 145-pound weight class and the two grapplers put on a show as they went the distance with Brody coming away with a close 8-6 decision for three points.

Next up was the 152-pound weight class with Forrest’s Justin Leonard taking on 2017-2018 state tournament participant Mario Pukl.

After a scoreless first period, Pukl went up 4-0 in the second and was leading 7-1 in the third when he got the pin over Leonard with 31 seconds remaining in the bout.

Forrest’s Cole Geeting, who came in fifth place in the 145-pound weight class at last year’s state tournament wrestled in the 160-pound weight class on Thursday versus Luke Maxwell.

Maxwell dominated the match and took a 19-7 major decision over Geeting.

Nick McClendon, a third-place finisher last year at the state tournament in the 170-pound weight class took on Fairview’s Ethan Stewart and the match didn’t last long as McClendon pinned the Yellow Jacket grappler with 1:01 remaining in the first period.

Senior Austin Connell notched six more points for Forrest when he pinned Tyler Hungerford with 12 seconds left in the first period.

The match ended as Forrest sophomore Noah Hill took a 7-2 third period lead on Cody DeLano before coming away with a pin.

Fairview stomped Eagleville 71-12 for a sweep before the Rockets took on the Eagles in the final bout of the night.

Forrest’s female wrestler Jesmarie Negron (top) gets ready to pin Eagleville’s Madison Kohler in the 132-pound weight class.

Eagleville garnered the first six points of the match with a forfeit in the 106-pound weight class before Forrest Ozburn tied it up when he pinned Jordan Sostom with 1:09 remaining in the second period.

Asa Nance was pinned by Eagleville’s Gabe Pennington in the 120-pound weight class to give Eagleville a 12-6 lead.

Gross was next up and he took a commanding 13-1 first period lead and finished off Dylan Pratt with a second period pin.

Forrest’s Justin Leonard gets the best of Eagleville’s Eli Dodson in the 152-pound weight class.

Leonard notched six more points for Forrest with a pin in the in the 152-pound weight class.

Forrest’s Wes McCoy (left) and Eagleville’s Wyatt Mclemore had the best bout of the night in the 160-pound weight class.

Forrest’s Wes McCoy, the state runner up in the 195-pound weight class wrestled down at 160 and took on Eagleville’s Wyatt McLemore, who came in third place at the state tournament in the 132-pound weight class.

In what was the best match of the night; the two grapplers battled back and forth in a close bout won by McLemore 8-3.

The Rockets stayed hot as McClendon got his second pin of the night before Connell fell to Eagleville’s Kwon Park in the 182-pound weight class.

Hill also capped off an undefeated night when he pinned Donevin Darnell and Geeting came back with a pin in the 220-pound weight class to finish off the Eagles.

“Our experienced guys really came through tonight, we have discussed the game plan at length and they know what’s at stake and they stepped up and took care of business the best they could,” Slaughter said.

Fairview’s Jackson Clevenger never got a chance to wrestle as the defending state champion got a forfeit in the 285-pound weight class.

“Things are going to pick up now,” Slaughter said. “We have a big tournament at Fairview this weekend, we get to go see a good competitor in Page, and next weekend we take big trip down to Chattanooga and get to wrestle our region counterparts, so it’s going to be a busy few weeks.”

“We just have to get everybody healthy, which I think we have done at this point and we have to get the guys to the weights we want so we can get into that groove.”

Fairview 55, Forrest 24

220-Trace Elliott (Fairview), (For.).

285-Jackson Clevenger (Fairview), (For.).

106-Maxwell Morrill (Fairview), (For.).

113-Blake Mitchell (Fairview) over Forest Ozburn (Forrest), (Fall 3:51).

120-Zach Derrick (Fairview) over Asa Nance (Forrest), (Fall 3:01).

126-Mathew Blaylock (Fairview), (For.).

132-Riley Bennett (Fairview), (For.).

138-Jeffrey Gross (Forrest) over Gavin Tapia (Fairview), (Fall 1:38).

145-Brody Cox (Fairview) over Carson Blackwell (Forrest), (Dec 8-6).

152-Mario Pukl (Fairview) over Justin Leonard (Forrest), (Fall 5:29).

160-Luke Maxwell (Fairview) over Cole Geeting (Forrest), (MD 19-7).

170-Nick McClendon (Forrest) over Ethan Stewart (Fairview), (Fall 0:55).

182-Austin Connell (Forrest) over Tyler Hungerford (Fairview), (Fall 1:48).

195-Noah Hill (Forrest) over Cody DeLano (Fairview), (Fall 4:55).

Forrest 36, Eagleville 20

106-Zachary Lewis (Eagleville), (For.).

113-Forest Ozburn (Forrest) over Jordan Sostom (Eagleville), (Fall 2:00).

120-Gabe Pennington (Eagleville) over Asa Nance (Forrest), (Fall 3:22).

126-Double Forfeit.

132-Double Forfeit.

138-Jeffrey Gross (Forrest) over Dylan Pratt (Eagleville), (Fall 2:31).

145-Carson Blackwell (Forrest), (For.).

152-Justin Leonard (Forrest) over Eli Dodson (Eagleville), (Fall 4:50).

160-Wyatt McLemore (Eagleville) over Wesley McCoy (Forrest), (Dec 8-3).

170-Nick McClendon (Forrest) over Jason Dennis (Eagleville), (Fall 2:49).

182-Kwon Park (Eagleville) over Austin Connell (Forrest), (Fall 1:22).

195-Noah Hill (Forrest) over Donevin Darnell (Eagleville), (Fall 1:28).

220-Double Forfeit.

285-Double Forfeit.