State Wrestling: Bradley Holds Slim Lead Over Cleveland

Bears Advance 10 To Quarters To Lead By 2.5 Points Over Blue Raiders

Thursday, February 16, 2017 - by John Hunt
Cleveland's Jason Strickland, right, and Oakland's Ryan Bruley square off in the Class AAA 195-pound consolations. Bruley took the match by a 7-5 decision. After day one, Bradley Central leads the Raiders by 78.5 to 76. Action picks up again Friday morning at the TSSAA State Championships being held at the Williamson County Ag/Expo Center in Franklin, Tenn.
Cleveland's Jason Strickland, right, and Oakland's Ryan Bruley square off in the Class AAA 195-pound consolations. Bruley took the match by a 7-5 decision. After day one, Bradley Central leads the Raiders by 78.5 to 76. Action picks up again Friday morning at the TSSAA State Championships being held at the Williamson County Ag/Expo Center in Franklin, Tenn.
- photo by Dennis Norwood

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – There’s still a long way to go and a lot of important points yet to be scored, but the defending Class AAA state champion Bradley Bears are leading the traditional state tournament after the first day.

And to nobody's surprise, the Cleveland Blue Raiders are nipping at their heals.

Bradley won 12 of 13 matches in the opening round and later advanced 10 of 12 to Saturday’s quarterfinal round.  Ethan Anderson and Ed Elkins both stayed alive in the consolation rounds as the Bears finished the first day with 78.5 points.

Cleveland won 10 of 13 in the opening round and then advanced six more to the quarters, but the Blue Raiders kept six of seven individuals alive in the consolation rounds and are a close second with 76 points.

Tennessee High is third with 59 points while Halls and Independence are tied for fourth with 57.5 points.

Other Region 4 teams include Soddy Daisy in 10th with 47, East Hamilton in 21st with 28, Walker Valley in 31st with 18, Rhea County 52nd with 10, Ooltewah 61st with 6 and McMinn County 64th with four points.

Bradley coach Ben Smith knows that it’s close right now and it may still be close 24 hours from now, but he’s liking what he’s seen so far and he’s just hoping that his team can keep winning.

“We won 12 of 13 in the first round, but I felt like we were flat in spots,” he said before the first of two consolation rounds began here at the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Park.

“We won 10 of 12 in the second round and got a whole lot more bonus points, so I feel much better about the second round than the first.  We lost to some pretty good kids in the matches we lost as I don’t think we got upset, so for the most part, I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far.

“It’s the state tournament and crazy things can happen here, but my kids are doing alright.  If we keep putting points on the board, we’ll be okay,” Smith added.

Cleveland coach Josh Bosken wasn’t about to panic after only winning six of 10 in the second round after prevailing in 10 of 13 in the first round.

“I feel like we’ve performed well.  Even in the matches we lost, we battled.  The guys who are supposed to be winning are winning and we’re taking care of business for the most part.  I’m just hoping we can win all six in the quarters tomorrow,” he said with a positive tone.

“Bradley’s awfully tough.  It’s hard to compete with them in an individual tournament, but this thing is a long way from over,” he said after Seth Garcia had advanced with a pin in the second round.

Bradley’s 10 in the championship round include Wes Devaney at 106, T.J. Hicks at 113, Trey Hicks at 120, Ryan McElhaney at 132, Andy Robinson at 138, Knox Fuller at 145, Austin Mathews at 152, Caleb Adkins at 160, Kevin Gentry at 195 and D.J. Gibson at 220.

Ethan Anderson is still alive in the consolation rounds at 126 as are Ed Elkins at 182 and Chris Cash at 285.

Cleveland’s six in the championship hunt include Garret Bowers at 113, Bryce Pond at 120, Colton Landers at 132, Cody Mathews at 138, Dylan Jones at 170 and Garcia at 220.

Jayce Mullin (126), Caleb Eachus (145), Austin Sweeney (152), Zach Brezna (160), Jack Hicks (182) and Titus Swafford (285) are all alive in the consolations while Logan Strickland is the only one who has been eliminated after losing a tough 7-5 decision at 195 pounds.

Soddy Daisy has three in the championship round while East Hamilton and Walker Valley have two each and Ooltewah one.

Soddy Daisy’s three include Landon Wheaton at 126, Tony Wilson at 145 and Ty Boeck at 220.  East Hamilton has Conner Thornburg at 113 and Grant Lundy at 132 while Walker Valley’s two include Dillon Clark at 138 and Mikel Gregory at 160.

Ooltewah’s one includes Victor Bednarski at 285.

Friday’s first round includes the AAA quarterfinals and consolation third and fourth rounds, the first two championship rounds for A-AA and the Division II quarterfinals.

The evening session will include the always-exciting championship semis in all divisions and several more consolation rounds.

(Email John Hunt at

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