Rockets send record 10 wrestlers to state tournament

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
The eight Forrest state tournament qualifiers from left are, Carson Blackwell, Wesley McCoy, Jeff Gross, Braiden Vanderploeg, Forest Ozburn, Noah Hill, Cole Geeting, and Nick McClendon.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest wrestling team continues to reach new heights as they broke a school record on Saturday at the Region 3-AA Tournament at Eagleville with eight male grapplers and two female wrestlers qualifying for this week’s Class A-AA Wrestling Championships at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Park in Franklin.

“It’s been a year of ups and downs, it’s been a whirlwind,” Forrest coach Chris Slaughter said. “We didn’t wrestle perfect, but we wrestled with passion and we wrestled with heart and we did not stop.”

Forrest senior Jeff Gross led the way for the Rockets, claiming his fourth consecutive region title and will going for his third straight top spot on the podium at the state championships this weekend.

Forrest senior Jeff Gross (top) won his fourth region crown in a row and will wrestle for a third straight state championship this weekend at the TSSAA State Wrestling Championships in Franklin.

“That was huge, it helps set a good precedent and a good foundation and it gives these other guys something to strive for, something to work for,” Slaughter said.

Gross has wrestled in four different weight classes in his career at Forrest and is currently 38-1 on the season after sweeping through the 138-pound weight bracket at Eagleville.

“This has been fun, just going out there and always performing, it’s been fun,” Gross said.

Gross was under the weather for much of the week and after a pair of pins in the quarterfinals and semifinals, Gross ran into one of his toughest matches of his career when he had to gut out a 3-0 win over Signal Mountain’s Kevin Muschel.

“I just came back from the flu, I didn’t practice all week and I didn’t have my gas tank up,” Gross said. “He didn’t surprise me at all, so I was attacking and making him react.”

“I’m looking forward to getting back out there and feeling better this week and win state.”

Forrest senior Wesley McCoy (top) gutted out a 6-5 win over Signal Mountain’s Jake Woodlief to win the 160-pound weight class at Eagleville.

Senior Wes McCoy (15-2) will also be making his fourth straight trip to the state tournament after winning the 160-pound weight bracket.

McCoy won the region title at 195 last year and at 160 in his freshman campaign, while finishing in second place his sophomore season.

He continually makes the climb at the state championships, finishing third as a sophomore and second as a junior last season.

McCoy also came up with a pair of pins in his first two matches before coming away with a tough 6-5 decision over Signal Mountain’s Jake Woodlief in the title bout at Eagleville.

“I had the mindset of just going out there and beat on him the whole time and just do what I do,” McCoy said. “After the semifinals matches and we knew we were all in the finals, we were all pumped.”

McCoy has a history of coming away with wins in close title matches at the region tournament as he won 5-3 last season, 8-2 as a freshman, and he lost a close 8-6 decision his sophomore campaign.

“We can’t let Jeff stand up there all by himself this year, he has to have a couple partners,” McCoy said about winning a state title.

Forrest junior Nick McClendon (right) came up with a third-round pin over Nolensville’s Mike McWilliams to claim the 170-pound region title.

Junior Nick McClendon has only been wrestling for the Rockets for two years and he has won the region title both times and finished in third place last year at the state championships.

McClendon (14-0) was arguably the most dominating grappler at the region tournament, winning all three of his matches in the 170-pound weight class by falls, including a third round pin over Nolensville’s Mike McWilliams with 1:08 remaining in a match he was leading 15-8 before taking down the Knight wrestler.

“I had to fight through some adversity to get that pin,” McClendon said. “Persistence is key, so we just go in there and get done what has to get done.”

“This feel good, but I’m ready to go get that state championship now.”

Nick’s older brother Tyler won the first ever state title in any men’s sport at Forrest when he captured the 195-pound weight class in the 2013-2014 campaign with a 38-1 record.

Forrest sophomore Noah Hill (top) gets a takedown for two points in his 10-5 win over Nolensville’s McKinley Wagner in the 195-pound title bout at the Region 3A-AA Tournament at Eagleville on Saturday.

Noah Hill (36-3) has burst on to the scene for Forrest as the sophomore grappler captured the region title in the 195-pound weight class with a clean sweep at Eagleville, coming away with pins in his first two matches before securing the crown and a state tournament berth with a 10-5 decision over Nolensville’s McKinley Wagner in the title bout.

“It feels good to go out there and win,” Hill said. “Winning a state title is a dream of mine, these guys push me to go after that and follow in their footsteps, and I look up to all of them.”

Forrest sophomore Cole Geeting (top) gets the third-round pin over Whitwell’s John King to claim third place in the 152-pound weight class.

Sophomore Cole Geeting (28-9) finished in third place after a second place region finish last year.

Geeting had to battle his way back with a pair of pins after falling in his semifinal bout to Preston Worley from Signal Mountain in the 152-pound weight division.

Geeting took a fifth place finish at last year’s state tournament.

Forrest junior Carson Blackwell (top) came from behind to get a third-round pin over Watertown’s Zane Willis to qualify for the state tournament.

Three newcomers broke through with state tournament berths for the Rockets as junior Carson Blackwell (27-13) came back out of the 145-pound consolation bracket for a fourth place finish and sophomore Forest Ozburn (25-13) finished second at 113, while his classmate Braiden Vanderploeg (17-9) came home in third place at 106.

“I look at guys like Braiden Vanderploeg and Carson Blackwell who were down in the last couple seconds of matches and just gutting it out and making it happen,” Slaughter said. “That’s just a testament to these guys coming in and having a fire and having a desire to do well.”

After Lythia Ramirez became the first Forrest female wrestler to reach the state tournament last season, two more followed in her footsteps as Jesmarie Negron (125) and Anna Allbert (170) finished in third and fourth place respectively at the TSSAA Girls West Region Tournament at Nolensville on January 26.

Forrest’s Jesmarie Negron qualified for this week’s state tournament when she finished in third place in the 125-pound weight class at Nolensville on January 26.


106-Pounds: Braiden Vanderploeg (17-9, 3rd place)

Round 1 - Braiden Vanderploeg, (Bye).

Quarterfinal - Braiden Vanderploeg won by fall over Malikhi Johnson (Red Bank), 2:54.

Semifinal - Riley Lippincott (Nolensville) won by fall over Braiden Vanderploeg, 5:50.

Consolation Semifinal - Braiden Vanderploeg won by fall over Alexander George (Whitwell), 3:45.

Forrest freshman Braiden Vanderploeg (top) came up with a fall over Malikhi Johnson from Red Bank in the quarterfinals.

3rd Place Match - Braiden Vanderploeg won by fall over Perrin Clark (East Ridge), 2:54.

Freshman Forest Ozburn (top) won by major decision over Hunter Nolan from Sequatchie County in the semifinals.

113: Forest Ozburn (25-13, 2nd place)

Round 1 - Forest Ozburn, (Bye).

Quarterfinal - Forest Ozburn won by fall over Cameron Burns (Eagleville), 3:12.

Semifinal - Forest Ozburn won by major decision over Hunter Nolan (Sequatchie Co.), 18-10.

1st Place Match - Daniel Uhorchuk (Signal Mountain), won by fall over Forest Ozburn, 0:18.

120: Asa Nance (12-23)

Round 1 - Asa Nance (Forrest), (Bye).

Quarterfinal - Noah Shriner (Signal Mountain) won by fall over Asa Nance, 1:37.

Consolation Round 2 - Asa Nance (Forrest), (Bye).

Consolation Round 3 - Asa Nance won by fall over Lee Smith (Tennessee School for the Blind), 1:17.

Consolation Semifinal - Brice Barton (Whitwell) won by fall over Asa Nance, 2:09.

138: Jeffrey Gross (38-1, 1st place)

Round 1 - Jeffrey Gross, (Bye).

Quarterfinal - Jeffrey Gross won by fall over Elijah Arnold (Cascade), 1:22.

Semifinal - Jeffrey Gross won by fall over Kayden Walker (Nolensville), 1:03.

1st Place Match - Jeffrey Gross won by decision over Kevin Muschel (Signal Mountain), 3-0.

145: Carson Blackwell (27-13, 4th place)

Round 1 - Carson Blackwell, (Bye).

Quarterfinal - Gavin Channell (Nolensville) won by major decision over Carson Blackwell, 25-11.

Consolation Round 2 - Carson Blackwell, (Bye).

Consolation Round 3 - Carson Blackwell won by fall over Aaron Foster (Marshall Co.), 4:39.

Consolation Semifinal - Carson Blackwell won by fall over Zane Willis (Watertown), 4:33.

3rd Place Match - Jaren Thames (Whitwell) won by fall over Carson Blackwell, 2:38.

152: Cole Geeting (28-9, 3rd place)

Round 1 - Cole Geeting (Forrest), (Bye).

Quarterfinal - Cole Geeting won by fall over Anthony Moody (Watertown), 2:27.

Semifinal - Preston Worley (Signal Mountain) won by fall over Cole Geeting, 1:55.

Consolation Semifinal - Cole Geeting won by fall over Gavin Rich (Nolensville), 1:27.

3rd Place Match - Cole Geeting won by fall over John King (Whitwell), 3:24.

160: Wesley McCoy (25-2, 1st place)

Round 1 - Wesley McCoy, (Bye).

Quarterfinal - Wesley McCoy won by fall over Avery Mayberry (Tennessee School for the Blind), 1:55.

Semifinal - Wesley McCoy won by fall over Alex Rhodes (Nolensville), 1:01.

1st Place Match - Wesley McCoy won by decision over Jake Woodlief (Signal Mountain), 6-5.

170: Nick McClendon (14-0, 1st place)

Round 1 - Nick McClendon, (Bye).

Quarterfinal - Nick McClendon won by fall over Joshua Miller (Stratford), 1:06.

Semifinal - Nick McClendon won by fall over Nathan Berry (Watertown), 2:12.

1st Place Match - Nick McClendon won by fall over Mike McWilliams (Nolensville), 4:52.

182: Austin Connell (19-11)

Round 1 - Austin Connell, (Bye).

Quarterfinal - Sanders Lovvorn (Cascade) won by decision over Austin Connell, 8-1.

Consolation Round 2 - Austin Connell, (Bye).

Consolation Round 3 - Austin Connell won by injury default over Jonathan Keesee (East Nashville), 3:57.

Consolation Semifinal - Nathan Montpool (Nolensville) won by fall over Austin Connell, 3:25.

195: Noah Hill (36-3) placed 1st and scored 24.0 team points.

Round 1 - Noah Hill, (Bye).

Quarterfinal - Noah Hill won by fall over Jeffrey Pennick (Sequatchie Co.), 0:25.

Semifinal - Noah Hill won by fall over Christian Wampler (East Ridge), 4:46.

1st Place Match - Noah Hill won by decision over McKinley Wagner (Nolensville), 10-5.

Region 3A-AA Tournament

At Eagleville

Overall Results


1st Place - Riley Lippincott (Nolensville)

2nd Place - Caleb Uhorchuk (Signal Mountain)

3rd Place - Braiden Vanderploeg (Forrest)

4th Place - Perrin Clark (East Ridge)

1st Place Match-Riley Lippincott (Nolensville) over Caleb Uhorchuk (Signal Mountain), 11-7.

3rd Place Match-Braiden Vanderploeg (Forrest) over Perrin Clark (East Ridge), (Fall 2:54).


1st Place - Daniel Uhorchuk (Signal Mountain)

2nd Place - Forest Ozburn (Forrest)

3rd Place - Kyle Harper (Red Bank)

4th Place - Luke Dobson (Whitwell)

1st Place Match-Daniel Uhorchuk (Signal Mountain) over Forest Ozburn (Forrest), (Fall 0:18).

3rd Place Match-Kyle Harper (Red Bank) over Luke Dobson (Whitwell), (MD 14-3).


1st Place - Max Dansereau (Nolensville)

2nd Place - Gabe Pennington (Eagleville)

3rd Place - Brice Barton (Whitwell)

4th Place - Noah Shriner (Signal Mountain)

1st Place Match-Max Dansereau (Nolensville) over Gabe Pennington (Eagleville), (Forfeit).

3rd Place Match-Brice Barton (Whitwell) over Noah Shriner (Signal Mountain), (Dec 4-2).


1st Place - Kale Albritton (Signal Mountain)

2nd Place - Jacob Vogelpohl (Nolensville)

3rd Place - Paxton Albright (Sequatchie Co.)

4th Place - Andrew Green (Watertown)

1st Place Match-Kale Albritton (Signal Mountain) over Jacob Vogelpohl (Nolensville), (MD 14-2).

3rd Place Match-Paxton Albright (Sequatchie Co.) over Andrew Green (Watertown), (Fall 4:26).


1st Place - Sam Wickizer (Signal Mountain)

2nd Place -Ty Martin (Nolensville)

3rd Place - Griffin Horton (Whitwell)

4th Place - Aidan Maharrey (Red Bank)

1st Place Match-Sam Wickizer (Signal Mountain) over Ty Martin (Nolensville), (Dec 8-4).

3rd Place Match-Griffin Horton (Whitwell) over Aidan Maharrey (Red Bank), (Dec 11-4).


1st Place - Jeffrey Gross (Forrest)

2nd Place - Kevin Muschel (Signal Mountain)

3rd Place - Amado Gomez (Whitwell)

4th Place - Ammon Scott Edwards (Sequatchie Co.)

1st Place Match-Jeffrey Gross (Forrest) over Kevin Muschel (Signal Mountain), (Dec 3-0).

3rd Place Match-Amado Gomez (Whitwell) over Ammon Scott Edwards (Sequatchie Co.), (Fall 0:51).


1st Place - Gavin Channell (Nolensville)

2nd Place - Will Keener (Sequatchie Co.)

3rd Place - Jaren Thames (Whitwell)

4th Place - Carson Blackwell (Forrest)

1st Place Match-Gavin Channell (Nolensville) over Will Keener (Sequatchie Co.), (Dec 9-4).

3rd Place Match-Jaren Thames (Whitwell) over Carson Blackwell (Forrest), (Fall 2:38).


1st Place - Wyatt McLemore (Eagleville)

2nd Place - Preston Worley (Signal Mountain)

3rd Place - Cole Geeting (Forrest)

4th Place - John King (Whitwell)

1st Place Match-Wyatt McLemore (Eagleville) over Preston Worley (Signal Mountain), (MD 12-2).

3rd Place Match-Cole Geeting (Forrest) over John King (Whitwell), (Fall 3:24).


1st Place - Wesley McCoy (Forrest)

2nd Place - Jake Woodlief (Signal Mountain)

3rd Place - Caden Cline (Red Bank)

4th Place - Ivan Miller (East Nashville)

1st Place Match-Wesley McCoy (Forrest) over Jake Woodlief (Signal Mountain), (Dec 6-5).

3rd Place Match-Caden Cline (Red Bank) over Ivan Miller (East Nashville), (Fall 3:36).


1st Place - Nick McClendon (Forrest)

2nd Place - Mike McWilliams (Nolensville)

3rd Place - Jason Dennis (Eagleville)

4th Place - Jacob Roberts (Whitwell)

1st Place Match- Nick McClendon (Forrest) over Mike McWilliams (Nolensville), (Fall 4:52).

3rd Place Match-Jason Dennis (Eagleville) over Jacob Roberts (Whitwell), (Fall 4:01).


1st Place - Allen Ashworth (Whitwell)

2nd Place - Kwon Park (Eagleville)

3rd Place - Sanders Lovvorn (Cascade)

4th Place - Nathan Montpool (Nolensville)

1st Place Match-Allen Ashworth (Whitwell) over Kwon Park (Eagleville), (Fall 2:18).

3rd Place Match-Sanders Lovvorn (Cascade) over Nathan Montpool (Nolensville), (Fall 2:49).


1st Place - Noah Hill (Forrest)

2nd Place - McKinley Wagner (Nolensville)

3rd Place - Jadarius Spencer (East Nashville)

4th Place - Donovan Darnell (Eagleville)

1st Place Match-Noah Hill (Forrest) over McKinley Wagner (Nolensville), (Dec 10-5).

3rd Place Match-Jadarius Spencer (East Nashville) over Donovan Darnell (Eagleville), (Fall 4:06).


1st Place - Wes Miller (Nolensville)

2nd Place - Mason Hilke (Signal Mountain)

3rd Place - Xion Dixon (Cascade)

4th Place - Alexander Owens (Watertown)

1st Place Match-Wes Miller (Nolensville) over Mason Hilke (Signal Mountain), (Fall 2:28).

3rd Place Match-Xion Dixon (Cascade) over Alexander Owens (Watertown), (Fall 1:17).


1st Place - Hayden Brammer (Nolensville)

2nd Place - James Headrick (Whitwell)

3rd Place - Cole Stevens (Red Bank)

4th Place - Dylan Estes (Cascade)

1st Place Match-Hayden Brammer (Nolensville) over James Headrick (Whitwell), (Fall 1:51).

3rd Place Match-Cole Stevens (Red Bank) over Dylan Estes (Cascade), (Fall 3:23).

Team Scores

Nolensville (224.0)

Signal Mountain (185.5)

Forrest (172.0)

Whitwell (151.0)

Eagleville (93.0)

Red Bank (67.0)

Sequatchie Co. (67.0)

Watertown (56.0)

Cascade (55.0)

East Nashville (46.0)

East Ridge (29.0)

Howard School of Academics and Technology (9.0)

Tennessee School for the Blind (8.0)

Marshall County’s Mikey Pulido (right) just missed qualifying for the state tournament when he fell in a close 3-0 bout to Dylan Estes from Cascade in the 285-pound weight class.

Marshall Co. (7.0)

Stratford (4.0)

Forrest’s Anna Allbert (far right) stands on the fourth-place spot on the podium at the Region Tournament in Nolensville.

Forrest Girls

At Nolensville

January 26


1st Place - Robin Yunis (Rossview)

2nd Place - Maryanne Walker (Coffee Co)

3rd Place - Jesmarie Negron (Forrest)

4th Place - Madison Kohler (Eagleville)

1st Place Match-Robin Yunis (Rossview) over Maryanne Walker (Coffee Co.), (Fall 0:26).

3rd Place Match- Jesmarie Negron (Forrest) over Madison Kohler (Eagleville), (Fall 1:20).


1st Place - Jane Allen (Tullahoma)

2nd Place - Deyla Brito-Perez (Northwest)

3rd Place - Shelby Zacharias (Creek Wood)

4th Place - Anna Allbert (Forrest)

1st Place Match-Jane Allen (Tullahoma) over Deyla Brito-Perez (Northwest), (Fall 4:30).

3rd Place Match-Shelby Zacharias (Creek Wood) over Anna Allbert (Forrest), (Fall 0:11).