Wrestling Notebook: New coaches for new year

Wrestling Notebook: New coaches for new year


Wrestling Notebook: New coaches for new year


La Vergne and Smyrna have new coaches. Stewarts Creek is a new school with a familiar coach.

Jacob Long comes to La Vergne from Martin Luther King where he coached the middle school. He replaces Jamie Owens, who has moved over to rival Smyrna after three years at La Vergne, last year as head coach.

“We have a great group of guys, many of them new to wrestling and mostly 10th graders,” Long said. “But there’s a lot of enthusiasm on the team.”

Owens is replacing Mark Gonyea, who is starting up Stewarts Creek’s program.

“I expect everyone to work hard, be on time, commit to the duty of improvement, and always believe you are capable of achieving more than what you see in front of you,” Owens said.

Stewarts Creek will start with 40 wrestlers. La Vergne and Smyrna each have 30 on the roster.

“This group of guys that I am coaching is amazing,” Gonyea said. “They have risen to the challenge, no matter what is presented to them. They are coming together as a team very quickly and realizing that they are the foundation for the future of SCHS wrestling.”



A dead period violation will leave Blackman without its head coach for the first half of the season. Ronnie Bray will serve the suspension for being with his team at a summer camp at UT-Chattanooga one day too long. The dead period began on Sunday, the same day the camp ended.

Bray cannot attend practices or coach matches.

The third-year Blackman coach will miss five three-way duals matches, one four-way duals as well as the Cleveland Duals and Bradley Invitational tournaments. He is set to return Jan. 4 when the Blaze compete in the Chattanooga Central Invitational.

Non-faculty assistant John Heath will man the sidelines during Bray’s absence.



History says Eagleville will send someone to the TSSAA individual tournament in February. You can either point to the 10 starters returning this season, including three returning state qualifiers, or the 12 spots the Eagles have filled at the meet over the last three years.

One thing is for sure: If an Eagle makes it, they will be attending a new tournament.

The TSSAA has added a third class to its individual state tournament. No longer is it just Division I and Division II. Division I is now split into Class A/AA and AAA.

Eagleville will be in Region 3 for the individual region tournament. There are three A/AA regions, made up of 65 schools. Region 3 is the largest of the regions with 25 teams. Region 1 has 21 and Region 2 19. The top four individuals from each region advance to form a 12-man state tournament in bracket in each of the 14 weight classes.

Class AAA is still a 32-man bracket.



With its 10 returning starters, Eagleville looks to make its third TSSAA Class A/AA state duals appearance in four years.

“I believe we have the team to make it back to the big tournament again,” Eagleville coach Steve Solomon said. “We are correcting mistakes we made last year on the mat each day in practice. We have a more experienced team this year than what we had last year.”

Eagleville is still looking for its first state duals win. The Eagles are 0-4 in the two trips so far.



There are four returning medalists in the county — Blackman’s Austin Wells (fourth at 285) and Josh Feuerbacher (fifth at 138), Riverdale’s Sean Kennedy (fifth at 170) and Eagleville’s Ellis Dodson (sixth at 113). But what is in store them as they try to improve on the podium?

Dodson is expected to wrestle at 113 or 120 this year. Since the individual tourney has been split into Class A/AA and AAA, Dodson is the only returning A/AA wrestler to make a podium in either class.

Feuerbacher is set to wrestle at 138 again. The reigning state champ is gone but second, third, fourth and Feuerbacher are back.

Kennedy is expected to compete at 170 or 182. At 170, first, third and Kennedy return. At 182, fourth place is the only returner.

Only the reigning champion and Wells remain from last season’s 285-pound podium.



Gone are Riverdale state champion, Scottie Boykin, and Siegel’s first-ever medalist, Kyle Coder. Both were Region 5 champions last year. Boykin followed with a gold at 195 pounds, while Coder finished fourth at 145.

Expect to see a Boykin still on the roster — freshman Nick Boykin, who will go anywhere from 220-285.

“Nicky has made a name for himself in AAU and junior high sections. He’s not going to surprise a lot of people who know him because they’ve seen him wrestle since he was 8, ” Riverdale coach Shawn Jones said.

Lane Folger will step into the 145-pound spot for the departed Coder.

“I think he will surprise some people,” Siegel coach Lee Ramsey said. “He is one of, if not the hardest worker we have.”


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