Locals enjoy encouraging efforts in tourney’s first day

By Maurice Patton

THOMPSONS STATION – Chances for state tournament berths still exist for the majority of wrestlers from Independence, Spring Hill and Summit following Friday’s portion of the Region 7-AAA tourney.

The Raiders only had one member of its seven-man contingent ousted from the two-day double-elimination event, while the Spartans and the host Eagles still have their entire 14-man lineups alive – either advancing into Saturday’s semifinal round or still wrestling in consolation action.

Semifinals are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by consolation rounds. Medal rounds are set for 4 p.m.

The top two placers in each weight class will qualify for the Class AAA state tournament, which will take place Feb. 20 at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Spring Hill, looking for its third state qualifier in four years, got 120-pound senior Isaiah Brooks through to the semis with a pair of pins. Brooks finished Franklin’s Stephen Peck midway through the first period in his opener, then stuck Page’s Thomas Brown 30 seconds into the second period.

After trailing 9-2 in the first period of his quarterfinal match Friday night, Spring Hill’s Isaiah Brooks pinned Page’s Thomas Brown 31 seconds into the second period to earn a berth in the Region 7-AAA Tournament 120-pound semifinals at Independence. (Video by Maurice Patton / SM-Tn Sports)

“Isaiah gets those underhooks, he loves to work that ‘cowcatcher’ and overpower people up top,” Raiders coach Beau Moss said. “He’s got the ability to beat anybody on any day. He gave up some shots he probably shouldn’t have, being out of position. He can’t do that moving forward.”

Brooks will face McGavock freshman Isaiah Calvin in the semifinals, with Summit’s Jackson Masters and Brentwood’s Cole Moss – a quarterfinal winner by pin over Independence’s Philip Shand – in the opposite bracket.

Spring Hill’s remaining six wrestlers are each a loss away from elimination.

Sophomore Cayden Buchanan bounced back from a third-period pin with a second-period-pin of his own, knocking out Ravenwood’s Philop Iskandar.

“Cayden would like to have won that first match (vs. Page’s Sergio Benavides), but we’ve only had him back for about a week and a half since mid-December,” Moss said. “You do what you can do as far as staying in shape.”

Independence top-seeded 160-pounder Tanner Willett pinned Franklin’s Rylan Schroeder at the 2:29 mark of their Region 7-AAA tournament quarterfinal match Friday, advancing into Saturday’s semifinals with the win. (Video by Maurice Patton / SM-Tn Sports)

Independence has seven semifinalists and Summit 12. Among those are each of the teams’ No. 1 seeds – Russell Ford (106), Timothy Ford (126), Tanner Willett (160) and Gabriel Hall (182) for the Eagles, Jackson Masters (120), Landon Desselle (132), Austin Noll (138) and Ryan Smith (285) for the Spartans.

“We had a full lineup for the first time all year,” said Indy coach Bryan Youngsma, who has 11 total wrestlers still competing. “This might have been the most fun I’ve had watching these guys wrestle all year. They know we’re rolling out a full lineup, feeling good, feeling loose. They know what’s on the line.

“I feel like it’s the best they’ve wrestled all year.”

Summit is still represented in each of the 14 weight classes heading into Saturday.

Ryan Smith, Summit’s junior 285-pounder, improved to 29-1 with his second-period pin of Hunters Lane’s Nathaniel Hampton in the Region 7-AAA Tournament quarterfinals Friday at Independence. (Video by Maurice Patton / SM-Tn Sports)

“That’s what we expected,” Spartans coach Pete Miller said. “We’re still not done yet. We’ll bring all 14 back, ready to battle.”

With 108.5 points, Summit leads the team competition. Brentwood is second with 87 points, followed by Centennial (72). Page (68.5) and Franklin (64) round out the top five through Friday’s wrestling.

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