Two More State Champs for Wrestling
FRANKLIN – Juniors Trey Bates and Mason Smith of Beech High School are wearing new hardware after finishing first at the TSSAA individual state wrestling championships last weekend.
Bates defeated Jackson Bradford of Cleveland, 6-1 in the 120-pound finals to win his second state championship in three years.
“After I beat (Luke) Belcher on day two, I knew it was my tournament,” Bates said. “In my mind, it was in the bag because the guy I was wrestling in the finals lost to Belcher.”
Bates opened the tournament on Thursday with wins over Parker Sams and Tyler South by a combined score of 35-6.
It was safe to say the already state champion was there to leave his mark.
“I was trying to get prepared for my first match because I knew it was going to be tough,” Bates said of his match with Luke Belcher.
Bates then beat Jackson Bradford of Cleveland 6-1 in the 120-pound finals to win the state championship.
“It felt good to be back on top because I didn’t get to wrestle last year,” Bates said. “I’m very thankful.”
Bates ends his season at 44-2.
After not placing as a sophomore, Mason Smith won both matches on day one and two before winning his final match on Saturday.
Smith ends his season at 31-1 overall with wins over Ethan McWilliams, Anthony Lynn, Joseph Frye, and Amange Abdurrahman, and Levi Stone at the state tournament.
“It all comes back to your training and the hard work you put in,” Smith said. “After my second match on Friday (Anthony Lynn), when I pinned him in under one minute, I was feeling good and could start to see the end of the road.”
Wrestling Wilson Central’s Levi Stone for a third time this season, Smith took down his fellow Region 6 foe in overtime for the 5-3 victory.
Going into the third period losing 3-0, Smith took down Stone to tie the match with 30 seconds remaining.
“Once we got to overtime, I saw that he was tired, so I just wanted to dig deep and go get him,” Smith added.
Smith won the match just four seconds into the extra period for his first state title.
“I look up and see coach (Jeff) Roberts and Coach (Quantres) Bates and I say ’I’m a state champ!’,” Smith added. “I’m thinking about my family and how good it feels. I’m thinking about God and Jesus blessing me. It’s a great feeling, and I’m very thankful.”
The two state championships brought home by the Bucs are the program’s ninth in the last five years.
“That is because the kids buy into the program we put in place for them,” Beech head coach Jeff Roberts said. “Each one of those state champions put in a tremendous amount of work in both the offseason and during the season. Whether it was lifting in the summer, camps, techniques conditioning they did what it took to get the job done. Having a youth program helps greatly.”
Other Beech wrestlers Blake Palmer (106), Coen Myers (113), and Ben Scalera (195) won one match at state.
Palmer defeated Isaac Carpenter, 4-2, in round one before losing his next two matches.
Myers downed Anthony Berg of Clinton, 2-0 in round one before falling in his next two bouts.
Scalera lost his opening round match to Connor Milhorn of Siegel, 10-3, but bounced back to take down Jadin Weatherspoon, 7-0 in the consolation round. Doug Howe of Stone Memorial ended Scalera’s season 2-1 in the consolation bracket.
Donavon Rich (170) lost his first bout, 13-10, but rebounded to beat Jacob Knight and James Robinson in the consolation bracket before falling to Zach Brezna of Cleveland.