Jacob Freeman has medaled at each of the last three Division I wrestling tournaments but hasn’t had a shot at a championship.
That changed Friday night for the Ravenwood senior, who clinched a spot in the 145-pound finals with a 15-0 technical-fall victory over Siegel’s Kyle Coder in the semifinals at the Williamson County Ag Expo.
Freeman (53-1), who hasn’t lost since dropping a 3-2 decision to Father Ryan’s Mark Marchetti on Dec. 4, will wrestle Pigeon Forge’s Nate Croley — an 11-8 semifinal winner over Soddy Daisy’s Gage Richmond — for the title tonight.
“I’ve been talking to the guy (Croley) all week,” Freeman said. “He’s a great wrestler, a great guy. He lost a close one to Marchetti, too. But he’s just one more guy in my way.”
As a freshman, Freeman placed third at 112. The following year, he finished sixth at 119, and he was third at 132 last season.
“I’m angry, happy, sad, excited, frustrated,” he said. “I’m angry because I hadn’t gotten (to the final) sooner. I’m sad because it’s almost over.”
As has been the case most of the season, Freeman has hardly been touched at the state tournament. He opened with a pair of first-period pins, then posted a 12-0 decision against Charles Frye of Dobyns-Bennett in Friday’s quarterfinals.
“Jacob’s worked hard for six years to get where he is,” Ravenwood coach Josh Peck said. “He’s ended the last couple of years in disappointment. But he’s a man on a mission.”
Teammate Tanner Reynolds knocked off Cleveland’s Aaron Lopez 11-9 to claim a spot in the 160-pound final against Bradley Central’s Robbie Clark.
“Tanner just doesn’t stop for anything,” Peck said. “In practice, in matches, with five seconds left — he’s going to try something. He’s been one of our leaders this season.”
Clarksville’s Bruno Reagan and Beech’s Taylor Podany will wrestle for the 285 championship. Reagan has won five of the previous six meetings.
Cleveland holds a commanding lead in the team competition, with 195.5 points. Beech (119) is a distant second, followed by Soddy Daisy (112), Ravenwood (106) and Wilson Central (99.5).
In Division II, Christian Brothers leads the team competition with 218.5 points. Father Ryan (188), McCallie (165.5) and Baylor (162) are the closest challengers.
“It depends on what Ryan does in the consolations,” Christian Brothers coach Chris Lewis said. “They’ll have more guys left than we do, so they’ll have the ability to close the gap. It’ll be interesting.”
: Wilson Central coach John Kramer said fan Ron Bussey, who had a heart attack Thursday and was revived by Heritage wrestler Schuyler LaRue, was in stable condition and was transported Friday via ambulance back to Kingsport, where he lives.
LaRue won three consolation matches Friday in the 182-pound weight class before he was eliminated 3-2 by Kiel Russell of Clarksville.