Knights claim back-to-back region dual crowns over Rockets
Sometimes deja vu is good, sometimes it’s bad.
On Thursday night at Nolensville it was bad when the Forrest wrestling team could not defeat the Knights in the Region 3A-AA Dual Tournament and land a spot in next week’s TSSAA State Dual Wrestling Championships, losing 44-22.
Forrest, Nolensville, Eagleville, Cascade, and East Nashville were the top five teams from the region to qualify for the tournament at Nolensville Thursday and for the second year in a row, the only two teams that showed up were the Knights and Rockets.
“We had a great game plan coming in and we knew what we wanted to do to win it and had the matchups the way we wanted,” Forrest coach Chris Slaughter said. “We had some things go really well for us, but we had some things go not so good and that was the difference in the match.”
The match began in the 160-pound weight class and was a re-match from last year’s tournament that pitted Forrest’s Cole Geeting versus Alex Rhodes.
Geeting pinned Rhodes in the first round last year and the Forrest sophomore had an early 7-2 first period lead when Rhodes made a comeback and trailed 11-9 after two rounds.
Geeting was subtracted one point for an illegal hand lock in each of the first two rounds and in the third round, the Rocket grappler was penalized two more points for an illegal move that eventually cost him two more points and an 11-9 defeat.
Senior Wes McCoy was up next at 170 and he was caught off guard at the outset of his match with Mike McWilliams and trailed 5-2 after the first period.
McCoy came back with a vengeance to tie the match at 7-7 after the second period and came up with a huge late reversal before pinning McWilliams with 25 seconds remaining in the bout to give Forrest a 6-3 lead.
Junior Nick McClendon took on Nathan Montpool in the 182-pound weight class and totally dominated the Nolensville freshman, leading 5-0 after the first period and 10-1 after the second.
McClendon tried to get the pin, but eventually settled for four points in a 10-3 major decision win.
McClendon was warned three times during the match about unnecessary roughness and after a fourth offense, one point was subtracted from the Forrest team score, but the Rockets still led 10-3.
Noah Hill was up next and he wrestled McKinley Wagner in the 195-pound weight class in a spirited bout that almost went the distance.
The match was tied at 4-4 after one round and Wagner came back to lead 8-6 after the second round.
Hill trailed 10-9 late in the third when he turned the tables on the Nolensville junior and got the fall with 25 seconds remaining in the match to put the Rockets in front 16-3.
Nolensville picked up forfeits in the 220 and 285-pound weight classes to narrow the Forrest lead to one point at 16-15.
The match moved to the 106-pound weight class as Rocket freshman Braiden Vanderploeg took on Riley Lippincott in a re-match from last year and the result was almost the same as the match went all three rounds with Lippincott coming up with a major decision win and three points to put the Knights in the lead at 20-16.
Freshman Forest Ozburn, who lost in the 113-pound weight class last year took on Nolensville sophomore Brett Kramer and the match didn’t last long as Ozburn got retribution with a first round fall with 26 seconds remaining in the stanza to put the Rockets up by two points.
The lead didn’t last too long as the Knights picked up 18 points in a row with two forfeits and a pin to put the Rockets in a 32-20 hole.
Forrest junior Carson Blackwell kept the Rockets’ hopes alive when he took a 4-0 lead in the second period of the 138-pound match before pinning Kayden Walker with three seconds remaining in the stanza.
Two-time defending state champion Jeff Gross (32-1) came through with five more points when he dominated Nolensville’s Sean Allen in an 18-3 technical fall victory.
Gross tried to get the pin, but Allen deployed some indiscreet stalling tactics versus the Forrest stalwart.
The Rockets got some very bad luck in the final bout of the night when senior Justin Leonard had to retire in the second round of his match with Gavin Channell due to a shoulder injury that Leonard suffered at Red Bank last weekend.
The Rockets have plenty of time to right the ship as they have two weeks off until they take the mat again at Eagleville in the Region 6A-AA Individual Tournament on February 8th and 9th.
“I really hope this is a learning lesson for us,” Slaughter said. “I think some of these guys have been going through the motions and I hope this sinks in and hurts.”
“I always tell them how we conduct ourselves with class, pride, and tradition is important and I think we fell a little short in some of those instances today. We didn’t get some of the calls we wanted, but that’s ok, you wrestle through and you fight through adversity.”
The Class A-AA State Wrestling Championships are February 15th and 16th at the Williamson County Ag Center in Franklin.
Region 3A-AA Dual Tournament
Nolensville 44, Forrest 22
160-Alex Rhodes (Nolensville) over Cole Geeting (Forrest), (Dec 14-13).
170-Wesley McCoy (Forrest) over Mike McWilliams (Nolensville), (Fall 5:36).
182-Nick McClendon (Forrest) over Nathan Montpool (Nolensville), (MD 12-3).
195-Noah Hill (Forrest) over McKinley Wagner (Nolensville), (Fall 5:45).
220-Wes Miller (Nolensville), (Forfeit).
285-Hayden Brammer (Nolensville), (Forfeit).
106-Riley Lippincott (Nolensville) over Braiden Vanderploeg (Forrest), (TF 19-4 5:24).
113-Forest Ozburn (Forrest) over Brett Kramer (Nolensville), (Fall 1:35).
120-Max Dansereau (Nolensville), (Forfeit).
126-Jacob Vogelpohl (Nolensville) over Asa Nance (Forrest), (Fall 0:59).
132-Ty Martin (Nolensville), (Forfeit).
138-Carson Blackwell (Forrest) over Kayden Walker (Nolensville), (Fall 3:58).
145-Jeffrey Gross (Forrest) over Sean Allen (Nolensville), (TF 18-3 6:00).
152-Gavin Channell (Nolensville) over Justin Leonard (Forrest), (Injury).
McClendon (-1 Team Point for Roughness)