29 Rutherford Co. wrestlers qualify for TSSAA state tournament

29 Rutherford Co. wrestlers qualify for TSSAA state tournament

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29 Rutherford Co. wrestlers qualify for TSSAA state tournament

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COOKEVILLE

Tyler Sells and Blake Solomon continued their intense rivalry Saturday evening.

Sells, a Blackman junior, claimed his first Region 5 title, edging Solomon, an Eagleville senior, 3-1 in the 160-pound weight class championship match. Sells scored two points on a late reversal in the latest of close contests between the two grapplers.

Both advanced to next week’s TSSAA State Individual Tournament, held Thursday-Saturday at the Williamson County Ag Expo in Franklin. The top four wrestlers in each weight class in the region reached state.

Sells’ win came two weeks after Solomon edged him 3-2 in a regular-season match.

“It was really close again,” said Sells, a three-time state qualifier. “This time to pull it … it’s an amazing feeling to finally be a region champion after three times.”

Rutherford County had 29 wrestlers qualify for the state meet. All but one weight class — 220 pounds — will have at least one county wrestler in the field.

“Not only in our county, but in our region the bar has risen dramatically,” Siegel coach Lee Ramsey said. “Blackman finished in the top six in the state in duals. And Wilson Central was runner-up. Our region has gotten tough.”

The county finished with six region champions, all coming at the 145-pound weight class, or higher.

Blackman finished second to region champion Wilson Central in the team scoring. Wilson Central finished with 223 points to Blackman’s 187. Siegel was third with 122.5, Riverdale was fifth with 103.5, Oakland was seventh with 81.5 and Eagleville was ninth with 75.

Besides Sells, Siegel’s Kyle Coder (145), Blackman’s Tyler Garrison (152), Riverdale’s Sean Kennedy (170), Riverdale’s Scottie Boykin (195) and Blackman’s Austin Wells (285) won region titles.

The Blaze qualified 10 to the state tournament, more than any other county team. Siegel qualified six. Eagleville, Oakland, and Riverdale each qualified four. La Vergne qualified one.

The 160-pound match featuring Sells and Solomon was named the best match of the upper weight divisions. The two wrestlers were upright, head-to-head most of the match waiting for a chance to make a move.

“We’ve been wrestling since middle school,” Solomon said. “We were wrestling partners in middle school. I think we both know how we are going to wrestle and that’s why they are always so close.

“I was just kind of waiting for him to put down his guard so that I could maybe make a move.”

Boykin made quick work of his tournament, winning each region match in the first period. Boykin, a four-time state qualifier, enters the state tournament 33-0.

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