By Maurice Patton
THOMPSONS STATION – It would be hard – perhaps impossible – to find a wrestler that successfully navigated a tougher path a berth in this year’s Class AAA state tournament than Jarvis Little.
The Summit freshman defeated 2020 state medalist Owen Gobel of Franklin in Saturday’s semifinals, then three-time medalist Chris Calvin of McGavock in the 113-pound championship to earn his spot in next weekend’s 16-man bracket.
“I expected to win,” Little said after his 5-4 championship decision over Calvin was named the tournament’s best match and he was named outstanding wrestler in the lower weight classes.
“When I looked at my bracket, I saw Gobel and thought, that’s just another kid I’ve got to beat to get to the finals. Once I beat him (7-6), I saw Calvin and I thought, this kid’s good, but I think I’m better. I’ve just got to get my takedowns and I can win the match.”
Trailing 4-2 in the third period, Little picked up a stalling point in the match’s late stages and managed to reverse Calvin just before the buzzer for the one-point decision.
“All year, I’ve worked on my takedowns, getting wrist control, … I’ve been perfecting my bottom work so no one can hold me down.”
Little is one of Summit’s seven region titlists, as the Spartans totaled 277.5 points to win the team championship.
“These guys love to compete,” Summit coach Pete Miller said. “They love each other and they love to compete. They’re in each other’s corners, they’re grabbing each other when they lose and they’re celebrating together when they win.
“Jarvis showed up. He’s a tough kid. His mental and physical toughness has jumped through the roof, and that’s contagious. He has definitely made a huge stride and jump in that process.”
Led by their seven champions, the Spartans will take nine wrestlers to the state tournament on Feb. 20 in Chattanooga. Independence, meanwhile, advanced three – 106-pounder Russell Ford, 160-pound Tanner Willett and 182-pound Gabriel Hall, each of whom won region titles Saturday.
“In a normal year, we would have gotten six,” Eagles coach Bryan Youngsma said, referring to the top four finishers at each weight that have typically moved on to state competition. “That makes it tough. But that can be said for everybody. That’s a circumstantial thing we can’t control.
“I think we let some points get away from us in the placing rounds, but overall, I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. I wouldn’t want to go through a season like this with anybody else. They’ve been fun to watch, fun to be around. They’ve made my life a whole lot easier.”
Spring Hill senior Isaiah Brooks and his team struggled through the season as well, but the 120-pounder became the third Raider in four years to clinch a state tourney berth with his win over Brentwood’s Cole Moss for a true second place.
“I had to make sure when I went in there, my mind was focused on the right thing,” said Brooks, whose only loss of the tournament was to Summit’s Jackson Masters in the championship finals. “I went in being aggressive, with the right type attitude. I put in the energy and the work, and I got good results.
“The state tournament was something I’ve worked all year for. I wanted to end this senior year doing good. We’ve had a tough year.”
Brooks joins Tyler Moore (2018) and Andrew Bramlett (2020) as state qualifiers since Spring Hill began its program.
“With the COVID and the region we’re in, with 17 teams, I feel like any startup (team) getting anybody through – even with four (qualifiers) – is tough,” Raiders coach Beau Moss said. “We knew Isaiah had the ability to do it. He just had to follow through with it.
“He wrestled the way he likes to wrestle. He likes to get those underhooks, look for cowcatchers and sling people around. Upper-body, that’s his game, but he’s also learned how to deal with being on the bottom and … look for opportunities to get his offense.”
Brooks was one of five championship runners-up that successfully defended their state tourney berth against challenges from third-place finishers in nine true second-place matchups.
“We hated to look ahead, but we knew with that style of wrestler, and we knew who he was, we might have a scenario where we’d use that as motivation,” Moss said of the loss to Masters. “That’s what we did. We took that loss and turned it into fire.
“There was motivation, no doubt.”
The Class AAA state tournament will be held at the Chattanooga Convention Center, following the Class A/AA tourney on Thursday and the Division II and girls tournaments on Friday.
Junior Lion just misses: Columbia Central 152-pound junior Tay Cofer placed third Saturday at the Region 5-AAA Tournament at Warren County, rallying from an opening-round pin with a pair of victories – one in overtime – and a forfeit before falling just short of a state tourney berth. Coffee County’s Gavin Prather pinned Cofer in a true second match.
Central’s Nathan Neely went 1-2 at 160, while Jeremy Bendermon split four matches at 170. At 220, Jaylen McCoy lost twice by pin.
Team scores: Summit 277.5; Brentwood 176; Franklin 174; Page 170.5; Independence 164; Ravenwood 117; Centennial 111; McGavock 63; Overton 62.5; Spring Hill 47; Hillwood 40; Dickson Co. 33.5; Hillsboro 28; Hunters Lane 21; Cane Ridge 17; Glencliff 8
Championship finals results (followed, where applicable, by true second-place results): 106 – Russell Ford (Ind) tf. Zach Ordonez (Bwd) 16-0; Ordonez d. Lucas Martin (Hwd) 7-2; 113 – Jarvis little (Sum) d. Chris Calvin 5-4; Owen Gobel (Fkn) p. Calvin, 4:25; 120 – Jackson Masters (Sum) p. Isaiah Brooks (SH), 4:51; Brooks p. Cole Moss (Bwd), 0:49; 126 – Justin Noll (Sum) p. Arash Yazdani (Bwd), 6:11; Yazdani d. Timothy Ford (Ind) 4-2; 132 – Landon Desselle (Sum) p. Spencer Kon (Ind), 4:24; Grant Hawkinson (Page) md. Kon 9-0; 138 – Austin Noll (Sum) md. Clark Vaughn (Bwd) 10-2; 145 – Drew Dodson (Rvd) d. Collins Fiscus (Page) 6-4; 152 – Alex Ables (Cent) p. Finley Jameson (Sum), 2:50; Jameson p. Maverick Marmol (Ind), 0:42; 160 – Tanner Willett (Ind) md. Luis Herrera (McG) 14-5; Rylan Schroeder (Fkn) p. Herrera, 2:56; 170 – Will Parcel (Page) md. Luke Justice (Sum) 12-4; Justice p. Sawyer Robinson (Fkn), 6:58; 182 – Gabriel Hall (Ind) p. Daniel Helton, 5:03; 195 – Maddox Reed (Sum) d. Jack Mundt 3-2; 220 – Mitchell Lambert (Page) p. Hassan Mizoury (Ovt), 0:58; 285 – Ryan Smith (Sum) p. Carter Miller (Rvd), 0:30; Fisher Anderson (Fkn) p. Miller, 0:15
Best match – 113, Jarvis Little (Sum) d. Chris Calvin (McG) 5-4; Best wrestler – Jarvis Little, Summit, 113; Alex Ables, Centennial, 152
Photos by Charles Pulliam / Williamson Herald