Bruno Reagan is looking to do something no other heavyweight wrestler has ever done at Clarksville High.
If the junior does, he’d also match a feat that surprisingly hasn’t been accomplished by a Clarksville High wrestler since 2000, when three Wildcats had their hands raised as state champions.
That 2000 season was a magical one for Clarksville High, because not only did Josh Dye (130 pounds), Matt McCarthy (140) and David Adams (160) win individual titles in Chattanooga, the Wildcats also added the TSSAA Division I State Tournament Team Championship to the Division I State Dual Championship won a few weeks before in their own home.
They still are the only state titles, according to the TSSAA website, that Clarksville High wrestling has ever won.
Reagan (30-0) is currently the top-ranked heavyweight in the state by both the Tennessee Wrestling and the Tennessee Wrestling Federation. Last Thursday he won both matches he wrestled in against West Creek and Northwest at West Creek High and this past weekend he took first place at the highly-regarded G.P. West Invitational at Brentwood High School, where he was named Outstanding Wrestler along with Union County’s 126-pounder, Brock Ervin.
It’s those rankings and the added motivation of trying to become the first Clarksville High wrestler to stand atop the state tournament podium since 2000 that keep him going.
“I keep it in my mind that I must beat everyone,” Reagan said. “And with that mentality, it helps me to work hard and especially when I lose, because then there’s, ‘Wow, I need to get better here and here.’ It’s fun to do that.”
Like in all sports, one mistake can be the difference in a win or loss.
In wrestling, that mistake can lead to your shoulders being pinned to the mat or losing a close decision in the final seconds.
It’s a pressure that’s in the back of every wrestler’s mind.
“Yes, Yes it is, especially in the tough matches, the 1-0 or 5-3 scores where one wrong mistake can make a difference,” Reagan said. “But I’d rather make those mistakes early in the season than going down to Chattanooga to make one.”
And Reagan is trying to set a new standard in a new era of Clarksville High wrestling. Hall of Fame coach Jeff Jordan retired last season and was replaced by new coach Jacky Blosser and assistant Aaron Holker.
“The first year has really been exciting,” Reagan said. “We’re changing things a lot, but at the same time were keeping the tradition in our wrestling building. I love it. I personally think it’s been amazing. Both coaches are great people and great hires.”
If all goes well, Reagan will be back in the state tournament a third straight year looking to improve his fourth-place finish in the 2012 heavyweight division in Franklin. In the 2011 tournament in Franklin, he wrestled in the 215-pound class where he didn’t place after losing in the Round of 16 and then in the second round of the consolation bracket.
And if Reagan were to win the division in 2013, he’d also best the second-place finishes claimed by former CHS heavyweights Hunter Sapp in that famed 2000 year and by Jason Pennington in 2003.
That would also set him up with the chance to become the only Clarksville High wrestler to ever win two state titles.
But of course, first things first.
“We’ve had two guys in our history who’ve place second in their senior years and that’s a big deal,” Reagan said. “The first one in 2000 (Sapp) was a thrower, kind of like me. The other kid in 2003 (Pennington) was kind of a shooter. I kind of feel like I have both sets of skills and I’m looking for my first state title. There are no excuses for me this season.”
Reagan lost to Bradley Central’s two-time state champion, and now graduated, Patrick Benson 8-3 in the last year’s Round of 16 in February.
The loss hurt, but he used it as motivation to go on to finish fourth after losing to Soddy Daisy senior Alex Seely 3-2 in the Consolation Finals, and also to go 8-0 in the Cadet National Duals in Daytona Beach, Florida, that June.
“It definitely helped, because as soon as I lost to Benson, I bounced back and finished fourth,” Reagan said. “I then went to the Cadet National Duals and learned a lot from that. He (Benson) was an extremely athletic heavyweight. So going up against other athletic people at the Cadet National Duals I ended up going 8-0 and pinning everyone I faced.”
It’s all those experiences that Reagan hopes have prepped for impending success in the coming months.
“I’m ready for whatever comes ahead”