By Maurice Patton
THOMPSONS STATION — Summit won the boys championship at the 16th annual Maher/Garstin Battle for Independence wrestling tournament Saturday, but the outcome was secondary for veteran Spartans coach Pete Miller.
“Just having everybody back on the mat and proving to the world we can run a wrestling tournament and run it the right way, that the sport of wrestling can be successful during a pandemic,” Miller said, addressing the importance of the event that featured athletes from 15 programs from across Middle Tennessee and beyond, as well as 14 girls teams.
“It’s bigger than us. It’s to show (the sport) can still continue. Independence has run everything about this event the right way.”
Jackson Masters (120 pounds), Landon Desselle (132) and Ryan Smith (285) each won weight class championships Saturday, with many of the weights contested in round-robin competition rather than brackets – resulting in more mat time for the wrestlers, a welcome commodity in a season that’s been interrupted for many teams by pandemic-related stoppages.
Summit edged Fairview in the team scoring, with the Yellow Jackets led by its own trio of titlists — Riley Bennett (138), Kendrick Curtis (182) and Jacob Clevenger (220). Beech, Centennial and Brentwood rounded out the top five teams.
On the girls side, host Independence took top team honors followed by Oakland, Summit, Columbia Central and Franklin. Indy’s Baylee Peterson (119) and Brooklyn Long (150) won their respective wright classes.
Tournament director Jared Grindstaff said the circumstances created by the pandemic forced a reduction in participating teams – but that such a reduction had been long considered.
“Last year, we had 27 boys teams and 27 girls teams,” he said. “We had been wanting to shrink the tournament. Nobody really enjoys when the gym is full and everybody’s here till 7 (p.m.). So we’d been looking to scale it back. People can spread out and we’re going to get out of here fairly early.”
Boys team scores
Summit 155; Fairview 152.5; Beech 142.5; Centennial 131; Brentwood 126.5; Nolensville 109.5; Brentwood Acad. 97; Independence 66.5; Sycamore 54; Boyd Buchanan 50; Dickson Co. 48; Ravenwood 38.5; Pope John Paul II 22; Columbia Central 4.5
106 – Elijah Benfield (Cent); Kayden Quillen (DC); Aiden Scruggs (Bwd); 113 – Blake Palmer (Bee); Grayson Miller (Sum); Zach Ordonez (Bwd); 120 – Jackson Masters (Sum); Keegan Seaver (Frv); Dylan Davenport (Syc); 126 – Trey Bates (Bee); Justin Noll (Sum); Arash Yazdani (Bwd); 132 – Landon Desselle (Sum); Logan Heckert (Syc); Spencer Kon (Ind); 138 – Riley Bennett (Frv); Charles McTorry (BA); Riley Lippincott (Nvl); 145 – Drew Dodson (Rvd); Xander Smartt (Bwd); Chris Witt (Ind); 152 – Alex Ables (Cent); Kaiden Bates (BB); Tate Crowell (Nvl); 160 – Logan Spell (BA); Malachi Bennett (Frv); John Campbell (DC); 170 – Mason Smith (Bee); Kevin Duck (Cent); Zach Sinner (Nvl); 182 – Kendrick Curtis (Frv); Hunter Meade (Bwd); Craig Sanford (Cent); 195 – Donovan Rich (Bee); Nathan Montpool (Nvl); Patrick Styblo (Cent); 220 – Jacob Clevenger (Frv); Tyler Garber (Sum); Bailey Black (Nvl); 285 – Ryan Smith (Sum); Jackson Wells (BA); Bradley Vaughn (Ind)
Girls team scores
Independence 77; Oakland 52.5; Summit 47; Columbia Central 39; Franklin 38; Cheatham Co. 27; Fairview 24; Alcoa 22.5; Centennial 20; Sycamore 20; Brentwood 18; Pope John Paul II 15; Nolensville 13; Ravenwood 7
103 – Anna Fisher (Alc); Rylee Lent (Ind); Elena Montpool (Nvl); 112 – Livia Kelingos-Spain (Frv); Amanda Thomason (ChCo); Nevaeh Brinson (Sum); 119 – Baylee Peterson (Ind); Millie D’Angelo (Ind); Mila Risner (Oak); 125/132 – Emma Stephenson (Sum); Erica Moore (Bwd); Callie Keightley (JPII); 140 – Isabella Campbell (Fkn); Lindsey Compton (Ind); Graysen Harvey (Cent); 150 – Brooklyn Long (Ind); Brianna Gayton (Col); Rylee Bennett (Sum); 160/170 – Ashlyn McClay (Oak); Fatima Ebrahim (Col); Alexa Powers (Oak); 190 – Savannah Williams (Syc); Jordan Webster (Oak); 215 – Sydney Hueser (Fkn)