More than 1,500 fans are expected to crowd into Jim Smiddy Arena as 2011 traditional state champion Cleveland High visits Bradley Central, which claimed its 12th TSSAA state duals title last February.
The Blue Raiders are 13-4 on the season and currently ranked second in the Tennessee Wrestling Federation website’s Division I poll, plus fourth in Luther Killian’s poll, which includes both DI and DII teams.
The Bears are 11-2 and ranked fifth by the TWF and seventh in Killian’s poll.
Bradley Central is riding a 38-match winning streak over their crosstown rivals, dating back to 1993.
After the Bears claimed their 22nd state championship in last year’s duals tournament, the Raiders pulled off a surprising come-from-behind rally to edge Bradley at the traditional state event, giving the program its sixth TSSAA team title.
Tonight’s match will feature 17 wrestlers ranked in the two state polls, including a potential matchup of ranked wrestlers in a half dozen of the 14 varsity matches.
Top-ranked Raider Chris DeBien may face No. 4-rated newcomer Toribio Navarro in the 106-pound match, while the 113 match could pit No. 1 Austin Stevison (CHS) against fifth-ranked Dakota Ream (BCHS).
At 120, second-ranked Austin Oliver (CHS) is likely to square off against Dakota Bromley (BCHS), who received votes in Killian’s poll this week.
A 2-3 battle looms at 126 with senior Jericho Crutcher (BCHS) expecting to battle freshman Ezra Taylor (CHS).
At 152, second-ranked Tyler Schuch (BCHS) could duel No. 6 Josh Hamilton (CHS), plus reigning state heavyweight champion Patrick Benson (BCHS) will tangle with fourth-ranked Jordan Hines (CHS).
Other ranked Raiders include Jesse Jones (No. 1 at 182), Haden Hamilton (No. 3 at 132), Brandon Strickland (No. 4 at 138) and Seth Snyder (No. 4 at 220).
Bradley will have third-ranked Jacob Bailey taking the mat at 160, plus 145-pounder Robbie Clark has received votes in Killian’s poll.
Junior varsity matches will begin at 6 this evening with the varsity battle to begin at 7 p.m.