It’s safe to say that the Pigeon Forge Tigers have been the most dominant Class A-AA wrestling team in Tennessee in recent years, but they got upset by the Fairview Yellow Jackets at the State Duals on Feb. 6.
The Tigers came to Chattanooga on Wednesday for the A-AA Traditional state tournament with a chip on their shoulders and a point to prove.
They did just that at the Hamilton County Convention & Trade Center after winning four individual titles and scoring 193 points while nine of their 13 entries earned medals.
The Signal Mountain Eagles finished as the runner-up with 174.5 points after winning three of four championship matches and taking eight of nine participants home with medals.
The Greeneville Green Devils were a close third with 172 points while Fairview and Hixson rounded out the top five teams with 169 and 110 points, respectively.
Greg Foreman has been the head man at Pigeon Forge for the past 18 years, during which time his teams have won six state traditional titles, including the last three.
The loss to Fairview in the State Duals just added fuel to their fire as they came to Chattanooga with a point to prove.
“Every one of my guys fought hard and contributed, but Fairview winning the Duals just added gas to the fire as we were intent on proving a point today. We came here on a mission and we accomplished it.
“I work with the little ones from the time they learn how to tie their shoes until they come back after graduating from college and I get to see them grow up and become successful young men. That’s the reward I get for being their coach, but winning state titles never gets old,” he nodded before the team awards were presented.
Signal Mountain coach Joe Jellison had high hopes for his team, but they simply didn’t have enough entries to challenge for the top spot, but someone forgot to send that message to the Eagles. Jellison was all smiles when the final match had ended.
“We brought nine and eight of them placed, so that’s not so bad,” he said with a smile on his face.
“Most of the matches went the way they expected, but you always have to win a few you aren’t supposed to win to be a state champion, but what a great way to end our season. We can’t be content with finishing second as there’s still work to be done, but I couldn’t be more proud,” he added.
Most folks were talking about Pigeon Forge, Fairview and Signal Mountain as the overall favorites before the action began, but nobody mentioned Greeneville.
Pigeon Forge exited with four champs while Signal Mountain had three. The Greene Devils finished the day with two. Coach Randy Shelton was hoping they could catch the Eagles and finish second, but it just wasn’t to be.
“It was a good day for us as we leave here with eight medalists,” he said at the end of the night.
“We’re a bit disappointed to finish third. We had two state champs and I’m happy about that, but we came here feeling like we could challenge for the championship as we’ve been neck-and-neck with Pigeon Forge all season,” Shelton said matter of factly.
Fairview only trailed Pigeon Forge by seven points before the medal matches began, but the Yellow Jackets could only win one title after placing four in the championship round. They too finished with eight medalists.
“It’s nice to medal eight guys, but we had our sights set on first place before we got started,” said Fairview coach Bubba Derrick after all was said and done.
“All of our AAU work has paid off, but we just couldn’t put enough points together today,” he added.
The four champs for Pigeon Forge included Andy Cable at 120, Garrett Foreman at 152, Ethan Sutton at 195 and Mustafi Algarawim at 285 while Josh Parton was second at 145 and Caleb Wolfe the runner-up at 220.
The Uhorchuk brothers made quite an impression as all won state titles for Signal Mountain, including senior Daniel at 126, who won his fourth straight state title, eighth-grader Ethan at 106 and sophomore Caleb at 113. Preston Worley was second at 195.
Greeneville’s two champs included Hunter Mason at 138 and Kodiak Cannedy at 160. Five other teams had one champion each, including Sycamore’s Logan Heckert at 132, Fairview’s Riley Bennett at 145, Eagleville’s Wyatt Mclemore at 170, Noah Hill of Forrest at 182 and Elizabethton’s Jonathan Morton at 220.
Fairview’s Bennett was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler after winning by injury default over Pigeon Forge’s Josh Parton. Bennett had finished as a state runner-up for the past three years, so he got a big monkey off his back with Wednesday’s win.
Sutton and Worley earned the Best Match award after Sutton scored late to pull out a heart-stopping 7-6 decision at 195 pounds.
Hixson’s Trevor Lewis had to be the most disappointed wrestler in the building. He suffered a severely-sprained ankle – and possibly even broken — during warmups and was unable to challenge the oldest Uhorchuk in what most thought could have been the best match of the day.
Thursday will be the day for Division II and the girls tournaments.
A-AA FINAL TEAM SCORES: 1. Pigeon Forge 193; 2. Signal Mountain 174.5; 3. Greeneville 172; 4. Fairview 169; 5. Hixson 110; 6. Gibbs 109; 7. Nolensville 102; 8. Sycamore 87; 9. Eagleville 74; 10. Harpeth 64.5.
OTHER CHATTANOOGA-AREA TEAMS: 11. Whitwell 60.5; 18. East Ridge 26; 19. Polk Co. 22; 26. Red Bank 12.5; 30. Central 9, 33. Tyner 8; 34. Sale Creek 7; 39. Howard 2; 40. Sequatchie Co. 1.
106 – Ethan Uhorchuk (Signal Mountain) pinned Porter Finstad (Gibbs), 1:34;
113 – Caleb Uhorchuk (Signal Mountain) dec. Leandre Dabney Jr. (Greeneville), 9-4;
120 – Andy Cable (Pigeon Forge) major dec. Spencer Reep (Gibbs), 12-4;
126 – Daniel Uhorchuk (Signal Mountain) won by injury default over Trevor Lewis (Hixson);
132 – Logan Heckert (Sycamore) won by technical fall over Hunter Johnson (Greeneville), 5:03;
138 – Hunter Mason (Greeneville) pinned Luke London (Sycamore), 1:33;
145 – Riley Bennett (Fairview) won by injury default over Josh Parton (Pigeon Forge);
152 – Garrett Foreman (Pigeon Forge) pinned Lucas Taylor (White House Heritage), 1:14;
160 – Kodiak Cannedy (Greeneville) pinned Malachi Bennett (Fairview), 1:34;
170 – Wyatt Mclemore (Eagleville) pinned Kaden White (Moore Co), 3:30;
182 – Noah Hill (Forrest) dec. Kendrick Curtis (Fairview), 8-4;
195 – Ethan Sutton (Pigeon Forge) dec. Preston Worley (Signal Mountain), 7-6;
220 – Jonathan Morton (Elizabethton) pinned Caleb Wolfe (Pigeon Forge), 5:15;
285 – Mustafi Algarawi (Pigeon Forge) dec. Jacob Clevenger (Fairview), 5-4.
CONSOLATION FINALS FOR THIRD PLACE
106 – Taylor Turner (Harpeth) pinned Sam Frank (Fairview), 2:03;
113 – Gregory Gomez (Martin Luther King) dec. Malik Wooten (Millington Central), 10-3;
120 – Gregory Mech paz (Watertown) dec. Noah Shriner (Signal Mountain), 8-7;
126 – Dakota Pattee (Nolensville) major dec. Dylan Davenport (Sycamore), 9-0;
132 – Brice Barton (Whitwell) won by technical fall over Perrin Clark (East Ridge), 4:31;
138 – Gaberial Pennington (Eagleville) dec. Kale Albritton (Signal Mountain), 16-14;
145 – John Pittman (Gibbs) major dec. Brody Mclemore (Eagleville), 8-0;
152 – Dalen Kimble (Sycamore) dec. Daniel White (Cheatham Co.), 7-3;
160 – Carson Reep (Gibbs) dec. Kobie Smith (Hixson), 8-7;
170 – Morgan Lowery (Greeneville) pinned Zach Sinner (Nolensville), 3:46;
182 – Kevin Muschel (Signal Mountain) dec. Kirk Parsons (Gibbs), 4-0;
195 – Nathan Montpool (Nolensville) pinned Arie Donaldson (Fairview), 4:34;
220 – Parrish Pacetti (Hixson) dec. Rob Atwood (Trousdale Co.), 6-0;
285 – Kaymon Overton (East Nashville) dec. Landon Moore (Hixson), 6-1.
CONSOLATION FINALS FOR FIFTH PLACE
106 – Cooper Johnson (Greeneville) pinned Payton Bures (Nolensville), 4:32;
113 – Hunter Gentry (Pigeon Forge) pinned Kyle Harper (Red Bank), 4:29;
120 – Keegan Seaver (Fairview) dec. Payton Boyde (Harpeth), 8-3;
126 – Jeffery Anderson (Fairview) won by disqualification over Charles Dabney (Greeneville);
132 – Caleb Miller (Hixson) won by forfeit over Riley Lippincott (Nolensville);
138 – Benton Magouirk (Whitwell) dec. Seth McCoy (Forrest), 6-1;
145 – Thomas Magness (Harpeth) dec. Brock Shipley (Signal Mountain), 2-0;
152 – Tate Crowell (Nolensville) dec. Dawson Jones (Sullivan East), 14-7;
160 – Aiden Littles (Pigeon Forge) pinned Eli Roberts (Millington Central), 2:19;
170 – Kyle Watts (White House Heritage) dec. Cooper Edwards (Harpeth), 1-0;
182 – Joseph Skidmore (Pigeon Forge) dec. Hayden Sinner (Nolensville), 7-2;
195 – John Geist (Livingston Academy) dec. Sean Clare (Sullivan South), 3-2;
220 – Mason Keel (Whitwell) dec. Zac Chrisman (Greeneville), 4-2;
285 – Keanun Cummings (Whitwell) dec. Benjamin Stone (Polk Co.), 4-3.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)