FRANKLIN — Wilson Central has established itself as a state wrestling power.
But the title of state champion still belongs to Cleveland as the Blue Raiders rolled past the Wildcats for the second straight season in the state dual final, this time by a 50-15 count Saturday at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Center.
“Last year we were happy to make it to the finals, this time it stung a bit when we lost,” Wildcats coach John Kramer said. “I can see the competitiveness in the boys’ eyes. They wanted that championship and it hurt when we lost. I’m sure this will spur us on to work hard in the offseason and make another trip to the finals. There are over 100 teams out there that would have loved to be in our shoes.
“To say the coaching staff is proud of these boys is an understatement. I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything. These boys have set a tradition here at Wilson Central in motion for our future wrestlers, a standard to be reached. As a coach it has been a joy to watch the program evolve into what it has become.”
Central’s only winners were Michael Bimms, who pinned Jonathan Martin in 15 seconds at 152 pounds and Berry Baltz by forfeit at 182.
The Wildcats advanced to Saturday night’s finals by dispatching Soddy-Daisy 42-32 that afternoon.
Central winners were Baltz over Christian Dean by pin in 1:18 at 195, John Kramer by forfeit at 220, Christian Frans over Dylan Aslinger by pin in 4:50 at 285, Caleb Berta over Mason Blevins by pin in 5:39 at 113, Christian Cerrito over Jacob McClure by pin in 1:39 at 120, Lane Dickeson over Austin Houser by 4-3 decision at 126, Austin Richard over Connor Stiles by pin in 57 seconds at 132 and Eddie Small over Emory Holcomb 12-10 at 138.
Soddy-Daisy picked up four forfeit wins after Central had the match wrapped up.
Central finished the year ranked fourth in Luther Killian’s final state poll of the season. Cleveland is No. 2. No. 1 Baylor and No. 3 Father Ryan compete in Division II.
Up next for the wrestling community is individual region action this weekend with the top four finishers in each class advancing to the state meet at the Williamson Ag Center the weekend of Feb. 14-15.