The defending state champion Trojans put 17 team points on the scoreboard in less time than a full regulation match with a pair of pins and a sub-four minute technical fall from a trio of top-ranked wrestlers to start the dual meet. They never looked back.
The Bears managed just two victories while suffering their second single-digit showing in a little over a week as Soddy-Daisy posted a 61-9 victory for its second straight win in Jim Smiddy Arena to improve to 16-3 on the current campaign.
Now 14-4 on the season, three of Bradley’s losses have come in the last 10 days, including 63-9 to second-ranked Cleveland on Jan. 10, and 31-27 to third-ranked (Division II) Baylor on Jan. 12. Baylor shocked Soddy-Daisy 35-33 Tuesday evening on the Trojans’ home mat.
Along with Cleveland and eighth-ranked Walker Valley, both the Bears and Soddy have earned a spot in this week’s Region 4 Duals at the Raider Dome Thursday.
Like the Bradley-Soddy match, the Blue Raiders and Mustangs were postponed from Thursday’s orignal date due to poor weather conditions and will wrestle Wednesday at “The Stable,” with the result determining the region semifinal pairings. The Cleveland-Walker Valley winner will face Bradley Thursday with a berth in the TSSAA State Duals on the line, while the loser will do the same against Soddy.
Bradley will tune up for the postseason with a trip to Red Bank to battle the Lions Tuesday evening.
With Friday’s meet starting at the 138-pound weight classification, the Trojans sent three straight wrestlers ranked in the top 3 in the state in their division to open the varsity battle.
Second-ranked John Williamson needed just 95 second to earn a pin a 138, while No. 3 145-pounder Logan Richmond posted a 15-0 technical fall in 3:49. Top-ranked Turbo Smith completed the trifecta with a 59-second pin at 152.
Bradley’s first state-ranked wrestler stepped on the mat at 160 as Robbie Clark, listed fifth in this week’s rankings, almost had his opponent’s shoulders to the mat when time ran out in the second period and had to settle for an 8-2 decision to improve to 29-5 on the season.
Soddy claimed victories in the next five matches, including a trio of pins and a pair of major decisions to salt the meet away with a 43-3 lead,
In the first of two matches pairing state-ranked wrestlers, No. 2 Toribio Navarro earned the Bears’ only other win on the evening with a 78-second pin of third-ranked Jacob McClure. Navarro’s second pin of McClure this season improves the Bradley sophomore to 29-2 on the campaign.
After the visitors picked up a decision and pin in the next two matches, third-ranked Tucker Russo and No. 5 Dakota Ream stepped onto the mat for the 128-pound match.
Russo, who won the first meeting between the pair with an 8-5 decision in the championship match of the Bradley Invitational, struck first with an opening period takedown, but Ream earned an escape for a 2-1 difference when the first buzzer sounded. Both wrestlers earned escapes after choosing the down position in the next two periods but those were the only other points allowed, giving Soddy’s Russo a 3-2 decision.
The Trojans capped the evening off with their seventh pin just as the horn sounded to end the second period of the 132-pound match.
“I’m proud of our seniors. Clark, Ream (Dyer) Rose and (Dakota) Bromley showed a lot of fight and Toribio had another great match, but overall I didn’t see the effort, heart and fight that I thought we should have shown,” declared Bear head coach Ben Smith.
“We are having trouble carrying what we show in practice and from our other matches into our more difficult matches,” he explained. “Granted after Cleveland and Soddy, there is a big dropoff in the strength of the teams we wrestle, but against both of them we had a lack of effort and fight that we should have shown against them.”
“I feel good about our practices, but for some reason in these big matches we aren’t showing what we are capable of,” coach Smith continued. “Our heart, effort and fight in practice and in most of our matches have not been reflected in these big matches.”
TROJANS 61, BEARS 9
Match started at 138
106 — Toribio Navarro (BC) pinned Jacob McClure, 1:18; 113 — Austin Houser (SD) dec. Dyer Rose 9-4; 120 — Jacob Stevens (SD) dec. Dakota Bromley, 10-4; 126 — Tucker Russo (SD) dec. Dakota Ream, 3-2; 132 — Alex Oliver (SD) pinned Taylor Kazy, 4:00; 138 — John Williamson (SD) pinned Caven Rogers, 1:35; 145 — Logan Richmond (SD) tech. fall Colter McConnell, 15-0, 3:49; 152 — Turbo Smith (SD) pinned Jacob Staton, :59; 160 — Robbie Clark (BC) dec. Brandon Hunt, 8-2; 170 — Garrett Alexander (SD) major dec. Eric Goins, 9-1; 182 — Blake Henry (SD) pinned Nathan Adams, 2:26; 195 — Tyler Hixson (SD) pinned Alex Forgey, 3:01; 220 — Luke Reno (SD) major dec. Zach McFarland, 15-7; 285 — Cody Grant (SD) pinned Jerry Johnson, :49. Records: Soddy-Daisy 16-3; Bradley 14-4.