The Stone Memorial Panther wrestling team placed first on the strength of eight medalists in the 28-team Knoxville Catholic Invitational on Friday and Saturday, after the Panthers beat McMinn County 60-18 and lost 58-18 to Heritage Thursday in Athens.
Darren Rosser (145), Anthony Giattino (152) and Cody Caruthers (160) all placed third, while Nick Bohannon (285) placed fourth in the tournament. Cody McCarl (106), TJ Starkes (113) and Landon Barlow (170) all placed fifth, while Dakota McAdoo (138) placed sixth.
McCarl lost in the second round to the eventual champion, but came back win five pins to take a medal.
“Cody needs to find his signature moves so he can be in the finals of these tournaments. He had a good tournament overall,” said Coach Brian Parker.
Starkes had two pins before losing to the eventual champion in the semi-finals. He had one more pin to win the fifth-place medal.
Parker said, “TJ’s technique has definitely gotten better since last year. He has to learn to avoid the cradle to win the big matches.”
McAdoo had two pins before losing in the semi-finals, but went on to place sixth.
Rosser had two pins before losing to the eventual champion in his weight class. He went on to get two more technical falls to place third.
“Darren is a very physical wrestler but he met an equally physical kid in the semifinals and under-estimated him. He won’t make that mistake the next time he meets him,” added Parker.
Giattino went 4-1 on the weekend with two wins and two pins. “Anthony should have won this tournament but some conditional issues got in his way. He was definitely the better wrestler. This should be a wake-up call for him,” continued Parker.
Caruthers had five pins and a win on his way to third place.
“Cody had a conditioning problem as well. He gave the match to the eventual champion with three stalling calls. He should have won his weight class. We will be addressing the conditioning issue in practice,” Parker added.
Barlow had a good tournament with four wins and a fifth-place finish. He lost to a state medalist in the quarterfinals but came back strong. Parker said, “Landon has exceeded my expectations already this season. Once we get him some signature moves from top position, he will be unstoppable.”
Bohannon went 5-2 on the weekend with four pins. He lost to a state ranked heavyweight in the quarterfinals by regular decision.
“Nick has been pleasant surprise for us so far this season. To come into this tournament with three weeks experience and perform so well is amazing,” the veteran coach stated.
Brenden Carter (120), Ismael Matias (126) and Justin Johnson (195) each won a match by pin to contribute to the team victory.
“These guys did a good job for only having four weeks of experience. The final team scores were so close, I don’t think we could have won the tournament without them,” Parker noted.
Chase Eichner (220) also participated in the tournament.
“The whole team really surprised me this weekend. I expected to be in the top five and they went above and beyond to get us the title. When I saw that we were only three points behind Lassiter, GA, I told my captains that we needed all pins in the medal round to win this thing. They came through with four pins, a tech fall, and a decision to beat Lassiter by eight points. What a great weekend,” Parker concluded.
SMHS hosts Cookeville and Livingston today at 5:30 p.m.