Category Archives: high schools

TSSAA’s Childress makes plea to fans: Comply with guidelines

SM-Tn Sports

In a memo distributed Thursday to Tennessee high school and middle school administrators, TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress requested that efforts be redoubled to comply with COVID-19 guidelines established for attendance at athletic events:


“First of all, we want to thank all of our administrators, coaches, and fans in our member schools who strive every day to make sure your athletic community is following the COVID-19 Guidelines approved by the TSSAA Board of Control.

“The purpose of this memo is to remind everyone that all of the guidelines put together by our staff in conjunction with the Governor’s Team must be taken seriously and enforced if we plan to continue having middle and high school sports in our state this school year.  

“We are asking every school administrator to review the TSSAA COVID-19 Guidelines and make sure that your school is in compliance at all times. We continue to get pictures and videos of crowds where gymnasiums are too full, individuals are not wearing masks as required, and physical distancing is not taking place. This is only hurting our kids, and each incident lessens the chance of us completing our Winter season and having a Spring season.

“Our entire organization was founded and built on the fact that we care for the future of young people, and we all want to set a positive example by doing things the right way. Now is the time for all of us to step up and do what the guidelines state. We cannot leave it to others and ignore our own if we want to safely navigate the remainder of the winter season and have a successful spring sports season.  

“We have come too far to let our guard down now!”

Winter sports upcoming


Grace Chr. boys at Columbia Acad.
Hampshire boys at Richland


Columbia Acad. at Grace Chr.*
Columbia Central at Lincoln Co.*
Frank Hughes at Summertown*
Independence girls at Franklin*
McEwen at Santa Fe
Mt. Pleasant at Culleoka*
Richland at Hampshire*
Summit boys at Ravenwood*


Valor Collegiate boys at Columbia Acad.


Columbia Acad. boys at Battle Ground Acad.*
Culleoka at Santa Fe*
Hampshire at Houston Co.
Independence boys at Summit*
Mt. Pleasant at Richland*
Page at Spring Hill*
Summertown at Loretto*
Tullahoma at Columbia Central*
Zion Chr. girls at Columbia Acad.*


Cascade at Richland
Houston Co. at Santa Fe


Class AAA state duals tournament at Centennial, Independence

Quarterfinals, 12 noon; semifinals, consolations, 2 p.m.; championship, consolation final, 5:30 p.m. (Independence)

Summit, Dobyns-Bennett, Science Hill, Cleveland, Bradley Central, Wilson Central, Oakland, Collierville

*district game
all basketball games 6 p.m. start unless otherwise noted
schedule subject to change without prior notice

Attendance guidelines for high school events relaxed

By Maurice Patton

With Governor Bill Lee’s announcement Thursday that Executive Order 74 will be suspended Monday, attendance at statewide high school athletic events will revert to the pandemic restrictions put in place by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association leading up to the start of winter sports.

Local officials can’t wait.

“Tickets will be sold to any and everybody that wants to attend, as long as bleacher capacity does not exceed 30 percent,” Maury County Public Schools athletics director Chris Poynter said. “We’ll go away from the four-ticket allocation (per participant) to 30 percent attendance for all schools.

Effective Monday, schools are encouraged to limit fan attendance to one-fourth to one-third of facility seating capacity, with bleachers marked to facilitate safe social distancing. Cheerleaders and dance teams will be allowed to attend and perform at games.

“Cheerleaders being able to return is huge,” Poynter said. “I’m ecstatic for all those cheerleaders, especially those seniors that have worked so hard. They’ll be able to complete their senior year, barring a spike. Individual schools will have slight modifications they may apply, but for home games, cheerleaders will get to cheer. I’m excited about that.”

The lifting of the more strenuous restrictions resulted from improved COVID-19 statistics across the state.

“We’re proud that our member schools have been taking steps to follow the Governor’s orders and limit the spread of the virus,” TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said Thursday. “It is vitally important that we continue to be smart and safe in our activities, wear a mask, wash our hands and practice social distancing at every athletic contest.”

Gov. Lee’s previous executive order, which went into effect on Jan. 20, had limited basketball and wrestling event attendance to parents, grandparents, teachers, school administrators, medical personnel and working media.

“Our case counts have dropped around 60 percent (and) our hospitalization counts have fallen about 40 percent,” Lee said during a 97-second video posted Thursday on Twitter.

“By making smart decisions like wearing a mask, keeping your distance and limiting gatherings around the holidays, your efforts have made a significant difference in fighting COVID-19. We’ve worked to follow the data in every decision we’ve made … The data now reflects rapidly falling numbers. Now, because of that data, we’re lifting those restrictions on Monday.”

Pernell Knox, athletics director at Columbia Academy, said 450 tickets will be sold for basketball games at Anderson Fieldhouse, which holds 1,250.

“I’ve talked to my principal and my president, and we’re in agreement that (since) the TSSAA is allowing it, we can go about our business as we have,” Knox said. “We’re going to get back to like we were, with cheerleaders and students admitted.”

Childress also said an announcement regarding state basketball tournament sites will likely be made within the next week. Sites for wrestling state tournaments were set earlier this month, with duals to be held Feb. 6 at Centennial, Independence and Nolensville high schools and Mill Creek Middle School in Williamson County and individual championships scheduled for Feb. 18-20 at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

South rises: Summit, Indy advance in dual wrestling

By Maurice Patton

BRENTWOOD – For Independence and first-year coach Bryan Youngsma, it wasn’t quite as simple as ‘once is enough’.

But once was enough – for now.

After both the Eagles and Summit won their District 14-AAA/Region 7-AAA duals tournament semifinal matches Tuesday night, Independence opted not to wrestle the championship contest.

With the decision, the Spartans clinched the region title and home mats for the upcoming sectional against the Region 8-AAA runner-up. Independence will travel for sectionals.

“We didn’t feel like there was anything in it, for either team,” Youngsma said. “We’re already down (wrestlers). Maybe we beat them, but maybe we lose another starter in the process.

“With COVID, with injuries – for one extra match, it didn’t make sense.”

The decision allows Independence to maintain some momentum as it continues the postseason, while avoiding a rematch of a 65-7 loss to Summit on Jan. 14.

In a 41-32 win over host Brentwood, the Eagles looked nothing like that team from nearly two weeks ago.

“Our guys wrestled at a pretty high level the whole time,” Youngsma said. “When our 120 (-pounder, Philip Shand) got up 9-0 and got pinned, I thought it was going to turn the other way. They rose to the occasion.

“All the credit goes to the wrestlers. We’ve got a great group of seniors and we rallied around them. We got hit really hard the last few days (with injuries), lost some guys, and Brentwood has, too. The matchups just fell our way.”

Following Shand’s loss to Walker Childs, Independence won three of the next four weight classes before running off consecutive wins at 160, 170, 182 and 195 to put the contest out of reach.

The tournament was a classic war of attrition, as all four semifinalists were nursing injuries and at less than full strength.

“Our 120 has a concussion; our 126 has a foot injury; our 160 broke his hand; we have no 285,” Brentwood coach Damon Smith said. “We came in with a bunch of Band-Aids. We knew it’d be hard. It was a winnable dual, but the ones we need to go our way went their way.

“When that happens, there’s not much you can do about it.”

Centennial, meanwhile, was without three starters as Summit won 53-20.

“Not having Ethan (Duck, senior 170-pounder, concussion) really hurt us,” Cougars coach Philip Pelkey said.

Pins by Jackson Masters (120), Justin Noll (126) and Landon Desselle (132) got Summit off to a flying start, and Austin Noll’s reversal with six seconds remaining gave him a 6-5 decision over Nathan Alcoch for a 21-0 Spartan advantage before Ceron Campbell finally got Centennial on the scoreboard with a major decision.

That was the only victory on the mat for the Cougars, who picked up a pair of forfeits and got a victory by disqualification when 285-pounder Duncan Frye sustained an elbow injury in his match against previously undefeated Ryan Smith.

“We wrestle hard,” Summit coach Pete Miller said. “(Smith) had no ill intentions. Our guys step up to a different level.

“It’s great when two teams from south Williamson County go 1-2. It’s always a knock-down, drag-out fight in Region 7.”

As for the finals that weren’t, Miller was realistic.

“You always want to wrestle the finals,” he said. “But, during a pandemic, we’re just happy to be wrestling.

“You’ve got to do what’s best for your team.”

“With any luck, we’ll see them at state,” Youngsma said.

Independence 41, Brentwood 32: 120 – Walker Childs (B) p. Philip Shand, 5:27; 126 – Brandon Lee (I) p. Owen Graves, 0:55; 132 – Spencer Kon (I) md. Andrew Donelson 12-4; 138 – Clark Vaughn (B) d. Timothy Ford 12-5; 145 – Chris Witt (I) p. Xander Smartt, 2:24; 152 – Dean Klueppelberg (B) p. Maverick Marmol, 5:22; 160 – Grant Campanali (I) d. Aiden Thomason 10-4; 170 – Tanner Willett (I) md. Jake Beightol 19-10; 182 – Cannon Roberts (I) p. William Dobbs, 2:29; 195 – Gabriel Hall (I) p. Hunter Meade, 1:22; 220 – Noah Dixon (B) by forfeit; 285 – Dylan Rogers (B) by forfeit; 106 – Russell Ford (I) p. Zach Ordonez, 1:57; 113 – Aiden Scruggs (B) by forfeit

Summit 53, Centennial 20: 120 – Jackson Masters (S) p. Elijah Weston, 3:18; 126 – Justin Noll (S) p. Sean Skinner, 3:35; 132 – Landon Desselle (S) p. Lane Lewis, 1:59; 138 – Austin Noll (S) d. Nathan Alcoch 6-5; 145 – Ceron Campbell (C) md. Davie Hackert 13-5; 152 – Alex Ables (C) by forfeit; 160 – Finley Jameson (S) p. William Clingan, 3:18; 170 – Luke Justice (S) p. Craig Sanford, 2:47; 182 – Jensen Schreiber (S) d. Barrett Scott 9-3; 195 – Maddox Reed (S) by forfeit; 220 – Ty Garber (S) p. Cole Stiles, 0:40; 285 – Duncan Frye (C) by disq. over Ryan Smith; 106 – Elijah Benefield (C) by forfeit; 113 – Jarvis Little (S) p. Judah Lind, 0:35

Photos by Charles Pulliam / Williamson Herald

Winter sports upcoming


Columbia Central girls at Tullahoma*
Franklin Classical girls at Columbia Acad.
Franklin Road Acad. at Zion Chr.*


Brentwood at Spring Hill*
Columbia Acad. at Franklin Road Acad.*
Hampshire at Mt. Pleasant*
Santa Fe at Richland*
Summertown at Perry Co.*
Summit at Centennial*
Zion Chr. at Battle Ground Acad.*


Rockvale at Spring Hill, 5:30 p.m.
Region 7-AAA Duals at Brentwood
Centennial vs. Summit, 6 p.m.
Independence vs. Brentwood, 6 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.


Mt. Pleasant boys at Santa Fe*


Brentwood Acad., Sycamore at Spring Hill, 5:30 p.m.


Brentwood at Summit*
Centennial at Independence*
Columbia Acad. at Middle Tenn. Chr.*
Franklin Co. at Columbia Central*
Richland at Culleoka*
Santa Fe at Hampshire*
Spring Hill at Ravenwood*
Wayne Co. at Summertown*
Webb-Bell Buckle at Zion Chr.*


Columbia Central, Independence, Spring Hill, Summit at Girls West Regional, Siegel H.S.


Middle Tenn. Chr. boys at Columbia Acad.*, 4 p.m.
Summertown boys at Mt. Pleasant
Zion Chr. boys at Franklin Road Acad.


Columbia Central, Independence, Spring Hill, Summit at Girls West Regional, Siegel H.S.

*district game
all basketball games 6 p.m. start unless otherwise noted
schedule subject to change without prior notice