The Greeneville wrestling team came up short of advancing to the Class A Duals State Tournament for the 10th time in 11 years after falling to Gibbs on Friday, 46-28 in the state sectionals.
After a strong start the Greene Devils just could not catch the right breaks as they saw the team portion of their season come to an end.
“Gibbs is a very talented team and we knew that coming in, they are well coached,” Greeneville coach Randy Shelton said. “Just a few years ago they were two-time state champs, and they know what it takes to get there and win. But I think we left a lot of points out there. I don’t think we wrestled our best match tonight. I think we are better than that, I think our kids realize we are better than that, and I think you will see a little more fire from some of these kids in the individual tournaments.”
Friday’s action started with a dominant performance from Greeneville senior Morgan Lowery (195). He controlled his match with Cameron Norman the whole way and built a 10-2 lead by the third period before earning a pin with 1:21 remaining.
Zac Chrisman (220) followed with another strong performance for the Devils as he stayed on top of Luke Tidwell the whole way, but Tidwell refused to get pinned and Chrisman had to settle for a 10-2 major decision that gave the Devils a 10-0 lead.
Up next was Christian Feltner (285) and while he let Landon Brooks build a 6-0 lead he did not allow himself to get pinned. In the third period he found some life and battled back, but had to settle for 7-4 loss to the Eagle.
“The first few bouts were really right where we wanted them,” Shelton said. “We expected Zac to get bonus points, and really we thought heavyweight for them would get bonus points. That ended up as only a decision. So a big time shout out to Morgan Lowery, Zac Chrisman and Christian Feltner. They wrestled really well. At that point we knew we would be trading points the rest of the way, we just needed more wins in there than we got.”
At 106 pounds Gibbs closed the team score gap to 10-7 when Blake Allen won a 15-4 major decision over Gabe Oakley.
The Eagles took the lead at 13-10 when Ezra Finstead (113) pinned Hunter Shelton.
Carson Dupil (126) swung the advantage back to Greeneville at 16-13 when he jumped on top of Tyler Constantio quickly and nailed him to the mat in 1:40.
Next came a pivotal match for the Eagles. Brody Ford earned the first take down against Josue Castillo (126) to gain a 2-0 advantage in the first period. Ford went up 5-0 in the second period, but Castillo mounted a comeback in the third period. He got an escape and took advantage of a stalling call before getting a take down with 30 seconds left. The Greene Devil came close to getting the near fall points he needed to take the match, but simply ran out of time in a 5-4 loss.
Gibbs then got a big boost with a pair of forfeits by the Devils to take a 28-16 lead.
Hunter Mason (145) needed just 40 seconds to pin Evansico Ordonez to break the Eagles’ hot streak.
Gibbs Hunter Abner (152) answered by pinning Elijah Dabney in just over a minute.
Greeneville’s Collin Dupil (160) needed just 20 seconds to finish off Lucas Thompson to keep Greeneville within striking distance 34-28.
Gibbs just needed to take one of the final two matches to clinch a state tournament berth and Gilman Reid (170) gave it to them when he pinned Angus Herrell.
Gibbs’ Elijah Hubbs (182) built a 13-3 lead on Paul Anderson before an injury to Anderson ended the night.
While the duals portion of the season is over the Greene Devils still have a handful of wrestlers who are chasing individual state championships, and a handful more who will try to qualify for the individual state tournament. With that in mind the Devils are getting right back on the horse and taking some of their less-veteran wrestlers to a tournament at Alcoa to get a few more matches in before they begin another postseason push.
“We’re going to a tournament tomorrow, and we are going to jump right back on the horse,” Shelton said. “I don’t want them to sit around and think about this. Guys like Colin, Conner and Hunter can process this and move on, but a lot of these young guys haven’t experienced this. We just need them to start wrestling again.”