Heritage takes region
By Darren Dunlap | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SEYMOUR — The Heritage wrestling team earned a third straight trip to the state duals tournament Thursday and this time they will go as the regional champions. And their coach will be sporting a new hair style.
Heritage defeated Maryville, 49-24, at Seymour High School to earn their first region duals team title. The win adds to a season of milestones for Heritage (26-4), now ranked No. 4 in the Tennessee Wrestling Federation’s team standings.
With a squad of experienced seniors and motivated group of underclassmen, the Mountaineers jumped out in front of the Rebels and never relinquished the lead.
“It was good — the kids, they responded well,” said Heritage coach Jerry Teaster. “They’re definitely ready.”
The win marks Heritage’s second this week over Maryville. The Mountaineers defeated the Rebels wrestling team for the first time in program history on Monday to earn the district duals title.
Heritage opened Thursday’s match with four straight wins and a 19-0 lead. Nick Crawford (113-pound class) and Matthew Spradlin (120) recorded a couple of first period pins, then freshmen Michael Diemer (126) edged Maryville senior Alan Frisco, 4-3.
The two wrestled on Monday and Diemer lost, 4-0.
“I knew it was going to be a hard match,” said Diemer. “I got those first two takedowns and kept going. He’s a good wrestler.”
Diemer’s victory electrified the Heritage squad.
Jose Hernandez won a major decision for Heritage, then Maryville’s Tres Markham (138) put the Rebels on the scoreboard with an 8-0 major decision over Austin Majors.
Nathan Wilson (152) got a technical fall over Jake Traxler, but neither Majors or Traxler got pinned. In duals competition, every point counts so not getting pin lifts a team.
“Every point they don’t get, that’s a win for us,” said Teaster.
Jole Payne (160) pinned Maryville’s Dean Franz to push the Mountaineer lead to 25-9, then Chad Solomon quieted the Heritage side with a stunning 5-2 upset of Keagan Matlock.
Matlock and Solomon are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively by the Tennessee Wrestling Federation in the 170-pound class. Matlock pinned Solomon in 19 seconds earlier this week, and he opened Thursday’s match with an explosive takedown of Solomon.
The Maryville sophomore responded. He got a takedown, an escape and then a third-period takedown that sealed the win.
“A lot of people said he didn’t belong up there with Keagan,” said Maryville coach Mark Humphrey, in reference to the state rankings. “And he showed them that he did.”
The teams traded pins in the upper weights, but Heritage tallied the points they needed for a comfortable margin. Schuyler LaRue (182) and Jeb Davis (220) pinned their opponents to boost the Mountaineer lead. Maryville’s Clay Strawn (195) also pinned, and his teammate, Robert Wright (285), collected a forfeit.
Freshman Juan Hernandez capped the Mountaineer win with a second period pin.
As they prepare for the state duals, Teaster must prepare for a new look.
He told his team that if they beat Maryville twice this season that he would dye his hair.
“I guess I’ll be going to the state tournament with blond hair,” the coach said.
Both Heritage and Maryville, as region runner-up, earned spots in the state tournament scheduled for Feb. 1 in Franklin.