By Maurice Patton
THOMPSONS STATION – Most state high school wrestling onlookers considered this weekend’s Class AAA state duals tournament to be a case of Cleveland, Wilson Central and everybody else.
As it turns out, that makes Summit the best of ‘everybody else’.
The Spartans bounced back from a semifinal loss to Cleveland and defeated Science Hill 45-25 in the consolation finals at Independence to place third in the eight-team tourney field.
It marks the program’s best state duals placement.
“This was a ‘statement’ match,” veteran Summit coach Pete Miller said at the end of the tournament, which began with a 43-20 quarterfinal victory against Oakland before the 41-37 loss to Cleveland.
“A lot of teams would tuck their tails and just take fourth. I told our younger guys, ‘this is the first match to start our next season; this is the momentum we build off of’. The best thing that can happen after a loss is to get ahold of somebody else and take that frustration out on somebody else.”
Unlike the Oakland match, Summit and Science Hill traded wins through the early portion of the contest that started at the 132-pound weight class. Starting with an 11-second Ty Garber pin at 220, though, the Spartans won five of the final six weights – and picked up bonus points in four of those – to expand on a 21-19 lead.
“It’s nice to have a well-rounded team so that we know wherever we start, we’re always going to have a good start,” Summit 285-pound junior Ryan Smith said after a three-pin day. “Throughout the year, we’ve started at 220, at 106 – we’ve always been ready.”
That was the case against Oakland, as 120-pounder Jackson Masters and 126-pounder Justin Noll each scored major decisions, followed by a Landon Desselle pin at 132 and an Austin Noll decision for a quick 17-0 lead. The Patriots never recovered.
“We started at probably the best spot for their lineup,” Oakland coach Josh Harris said. “They’ve got some ‘hammers’ right through there. We thought after the first three we could start chipping back at them, but we had a couple of seniors that got pinned. The momentum wasn’t there. We got in a hole.”
Even against Cleveland – a 39-28 winner over Wilson Central in the championship finals – Summit held its own, leading 19-18 midway through the matchup following a Luke Justice decision at 170. The match got away from the Spartans as Cleveland picked up two pins and a technical fall in succession.
Still, the loss didn’t dampen Miller’s enthusiasm.
“We know we can hang with those guys,” he said. “It’s an expectation now. That’s what our program needed. This is the jump we needed to go from ‘the program that just started’, to now, making a name for ourselves.
“There was no easy draw. We had to wrestle hard. We left it all on the mat. We’re going to continue to get better.”
With the duals season concluded, Summit turns its attention to the individual wrestling postseason. The two-day Region 7-AAA tournament begins Friday at Independence, with the top two finishers advancing to state competition in Chattanooga.
“We’re going to continue to get better,” Miller said. “We’ve got two weeks to let these individuals make their mark, too.”
Summit 43, Oakland 20: 120 – Jackson Masters (S) md. Landon Beasley 17-4; 126 – Justin Noll (S) md. Kenton Smith 16-3; 132 – Landon Desselle (S) p. Tyler Vanderheyden, 1:24; 138 – Austin Noll (S) d. Adam Tibitoski 10-3; 145 – Jansen Nieuwsma (O) d. Austin Grooters 6-5; 152 – Finley Jameson (S) p. Ross Griffin, 1:33; 160 – Conner Beasley (O) p. Jack Hill, 3:14; 170 – Luke Justice (S) p. Jesiah Gordan, 3:26; 182 – Evan Harris (O) p. Jensen Schreiber, 5:32; 195 – Maddox Reed (S) d. Braxton Myers 9-5; 220 – Ty Garber (S) p. Theron Gaines, 1:18; 285 – Ryan Smith (S) p. Graham Keating, 2:37; 106 – Brayden Bouma (O) d. Grayson Miller 12-8; 113 – Chastain Stokes (O) d. Jarvis Little 6-5
Cleveland 41, Summit 37: 126 – Charles Randall (C) p. Justin Noll, 3:00; 132 – Landon Desselle (S) by injury default vs. Jackson Bradford; 138 – Trae McDaniel (C) p. Austin Noll, 0:46; 145 – Cody Chittum (C) p. Davie Heckert, 2:53; 152 – Graham Harvey (S) p. Cam Lockerby, 3:42; 160 – Finley Jameson (S) md. Desmond Prigmore 12-2; 170 – Luke Justice (S) d. Edward Christe-Couvillion 10-3; 182 – Tetoe Boyd (C) p. Jensen Schreiber, 2:24; 195 – Benjamin Gray (C) p. Maddox Reed, 0:48; 220 – Ashton Davis (C) tf. Ty Garber 15-0; 285 – Ryan Smith (S) p. Nick Nicodemis, 3:33; 106 – Logan Fowler (C) p. Grayson Miller, 3:48; 113 – Jarvis Little (S) by forfeit; 120 – Jackson Masters (S) by forfeit
Summit 45, Science Hill 25: 132 – Landon Desselle (S) p. Javelle Gillespie, 3:29; 138 – Austin Grooters (S) d. Jamie Beck 8-6/OT; 145 – Braxton Mann (SH) p. Austin Noll, 1:45; 152 – Finley Jameson (S) p. James Miller, 2:49; 160 – Liam Medina (SH) md. Jack Hill 11-2; 170 – Luke Justice (S) p. Peyton Pridemore, 3:37; 182 – Perry Tate (SH) p. Jensen Schreiber, 1:12; 195 – Devon Medina (SH) d. Maddox Reed 3-1; 220 – Ty Garber (S) p. Noah Profiri, 0:11; 285 – Ryan Smith (S) p. Keimel Redford, 3:08; 106 – Stiles Miller (SH) p. Grayson Miller, 4:38; 113 – Jarvis Little (S) tf. Riley Strode 20-4; 120 – Jackson Masters (S) md. Hayden Bodo 17-4; 126 – Justin Noll (S) d. Jake Dempsey 4-3
Photos by Kindell Buchanan / Williamson Herald