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Tribe sends seven wrestlers to state; 'Toppers take team title

Staff Report • Feb 8, 2014 at 8:30 PM

JOHNSON CITY — Multiple injuries formed a dark cloud that loomed over the Dobyns-Bennett’s wrestling team this season. Saturday’s Region 1-AAA championships served as a silver lining.

Three Indians won regional championships in their respective weight classes and four more made the finals, earning their way into next week’s state championships, which will be held in Franklin.

“I’m really happy with our guys,” D-B coach Buzzy Mann said. “We had a lot of injuries. We lost five starters during the year, so having seven in the finals was a really good thing. And the young guys that had to step in did a good job, too.”

D-B’s Austin Frye dominated Ben Rolston of Science Hill in the 152-pound weight class en route to a 9-1 decision. Teammate Tyler Dean wasted little time winning the title in the 170-pound division, pinning Jefferson County’s Virgil English in 28 seconds. And the Tribe’s Palmer Begley picked up the most emotionally charged victory of the day when he pinned Morristown West’s Griffin Broyles in the finals of the 160-pound competition. The wrestlers locked up in a match that turned unusually physical almost from the get-go, with Begley eventually scoring the pinfall at the 2:25 mark.

Michael Harer (138), Alex Jeffers (145), Michael Foster (220) and Jonathan Ruth (285) were the Indians who settled for runner-up finishes. Harer, Foster and Ruth all lost in heartbreaking fashion, coming out on the wrong end of one-point decisions. But all seven Indians survived to wrestle another day by earning bids to state.

They’ll be joined by Ricky Bear, Tucker Armstrong, Brian Thacker and Parker Estes of Volunteer, who made it to the consolation finals. Estes won third place in the 182-pound class and his three teammates settled for fourth in their respective divisions.

Science Hill won the team title with 221½ points. Tennessee High (190½) was second and Jefferson County (172) third. The Hilltoppers had four regional champions and the Vikings had five.

David Crockett’s Dillinger Messer (120) and Jefferson County’s Logan Townsend (285) also claimed regional titles.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our electronic edition.

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