Banner Sports Editor
The Cleveland Blue Raiders will be looking to continue their white-hot streak on the wrestling mat beginning tonight in the Region 3 tournament at Williams Blount High School in Maryville.
Action begins at 6:30 p.m.
Cleveland is riding high after a 78-4 state duals championship victory over Wilson Central last week and is looking to repeat at the state traditionals next week at the Ag Expo Center in Franklin.
Fifteen teams from across the Region 3 area, including Bradley Central and Walker Valley, will congregate at the home of the Mountaineers and all will be looking to send as many wrestlers as possible to state competition in search of individual and team titles.
The Blue Raiders will be odds-on favorites once again with eight No. 1 seeds on the roster with wrestlers in all 14 weight classes expected to make the field in Franklin. All 14 Cleveland wrestlers will be in the top four in their respective weight brackets.
Chris DeBien (113), Austin Stevison (120), Austin Oliver (126), Haden Hamilton (132), Joel Simpkins (145), Josh Hamilton (152), Aaron Lopez (160) and Ethan West (182) are all at the top of the list for the Raiders.
Bradley Central and Walker Valley will also have No. 1 seeds in the region tournament. The Bears will send Toribio Navarro (106) and the Mustangs will have Caleb Langford (138) and Billy Raulston (195) representing thier respective schools in the top spot.
Other top seeds include: Chad Solomon, of Maryville (170); T.J. Satterfield of William Blount (220); and Joey Evans, of Heritage (285). The Mountaineers will be at a disadvantage with the loss of team captain Skyler Boring (145) who is out with an ankle injury and Kegan Matlock who is sidelined with knee trauma.
The region 4 tournament kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Ooltewah with the Soddy-Daisy Trojans hoping to rebound from a stunning semifinals loss to Wilson Central and a third-place finish in the duals tournament. The highly anticipated championship match between the Blue Raiders and Trojans never materialized after Soddy-Daisy coach Jim Higgins dismissed three starters from the team before the tournament began, including the state’s No. 1-ranked wrestler at 152 pounds.
Region 3 Top Seeds
106 — Toribio Navarro (Bradley Central); 113 — Chris BeBien (Cleveland); 120 — Austin Stevison (Cleveland); 126 — Austin Oliver (Cleveland); 132 — Haden Hamilton (Cleveland); 138 — Caleb Langford (Walker Valley); 145 — Joel Simpkins (Cleveland); 152 — Josh Hamilton (Cleveland); 160 — Aaron Lopez (Cleveland); 170 — Chad Solomon (Maryville); 182 — Ethan West (Cleveland); 195 — Billy Raulston (Walker Valley); 220 — T.J. Satterfield (William Blount); 285 — Joey Evans (Heritage).