Four Beech Buccaneers will try and bring home gold medals this weekend as Trey Bates (126), Mason Smith (170), Donovan Rich (195) and Kaden White (285) head to Chattanooga Feb. 18-20.
In a normal year, Beech would have sent nine qualifiers, but with COVID limiting qualifiers to only two from each weight class in your respective region, the Bucs send just four.
Still, head coach Jeff Roberts was pleased with his guys performances on the mat.
“I think sending only the top two did put a little pressure on them, but that pressure means they are battle-tested and ready to go. We wrestled well, I was proud of the kids for avenging some early season losses.”
Of the four wrestlers, only Kaden White is making his first appearance as Rich, Smith and Bates are all three time qualifiers.
“There is no secret to the success,” Roberts said. “It’s just hard work, rinse and repeat. I wish there was a secret formula, but there isn’t It’s not easy, that’s for sure. These kids have made great sacrifices to be here, whether that is missing time with friends, hanging out with girl friends, spending time away from family — they all put in the work.”
The Beech wrestlers will head to Chattanooga Thursday night with intentions of staying through the weekend.
“We booked our hotels for the entire weekend,” Roberts exclaimed. “I expect some of our guys to repeat.”
Of those expected to repeat, defending champions Trey Bates and Mason Smith sport undefeated records.
Bates will face off against Dylan Winchell of Cocke County on day one while Smith will take on Zander Ward of Morristown-Hamblen West.
Donovan Rich will face Devon Medina of Science Hill in round one and Kaden White will face Joshua Cummins from Anderson County.
All four wrestlers making the trip are seniors.
“This senior class is special,” Roberts said. “We’ve always had one or two but this group of guys has been around a long time.”
Beech will weigh in at the Chattanooga Convention center at 6:00 a.m. Friday morning.
TSSAA secures new venues for state wrestling championships
With the unavailability of the Williamson County Ag Expo Center next month, the TSSAA has selected alternative venues for the upcoming state wrestling championships.
The TSSAA Wrestling State Championships will be returning to Chattanooga after a twelve-year absence on Feb. 18-20. The Chattanooga Convention Center will host this year’s competition. Division I Class A-AA will take place on Thursday, Feb. 18. Division II and Girls will compete on Friday, Feb. 19, and Division I Class AAA will compete on Saturday, Feb. 20.
A complete tournament schedule for both events will be published at TSSAAsports.com as soon as details for both events are finalized.
The Williamson County Ag Expo Center has been in use as a COVID-19 testing center since last spring. When it became clear the facility would not be available to host the championships, TSSAA began evaluating alternative sites. The Expo Center has served as the host for the previous 11 TSSAA wrestling championships beginning in 2010.