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Hilltoppers' Diehl seizes second straight state title

Johnson City Press • Feb 17, 2019 at 4:32 AM

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — For the second consecutive year, there were no “Diehl-breakers” to be found in the TSSAA wrestling tournament.

Last year’s 160-pound class champion in Class AAA, Science Hill senior Chase Diehl won the 170-pound state title on Saturday — capping a remarkable 63-0 season.

“Chase is the most decorated wrestler in the school by far and there’s no doubt he’s the best to ever come through this school,” said coach Jimmy Miller, whose Hilltoppers finished third as a team. “He’s a special kid, who wrestles and acts a certain way.”

Elizabethton’s Jonathan Morton was crowned the 195 Class A-AA champion this weekend. Avery Kibelbek of David Crockett won the girls’ championship at 103, with Daniel Boone’s Isabella Badon taking it all in the 119 class.

Diehl bested Blackman’s Landon Fowler (62-4) with a 3-1 decision.

“To jump up a weight class,” Miller said, “and beat the defending state champion in the final, everyone was like, ‘Why don’t you go 160 again?’ He wanted to go up and see what he was made of. He did exactly what he wanted to do. He ended up a two-time state champion, three-time state medalist and I’m happy for him.”

Morton capped a 41-6 campaign by pinning fellow sophomore Noah Hill of Forrest in 5:41.

Kibelbek (22-1) prevailed by pinfall in the last seconds of her match with Cookeville’s Elizabeth Raper, winning in 5:49.

It was an all-local final for the girls at 119, in which senior Badon (28-5) squeezed out a 3-2 decision over Elizabethton sophomore Tyesha Thomas (19-1). This was named “best match” on the ladies’ mats and Badon was selected as the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.

Joining Thomas in the runner-up ranks were Science Hill’s Braxton Mann (126), Elizabethton’s Hunter Morrell (113) and the Sullivan East girls representative Sonoma Davis (125).

Mann (51-5) lost by pinfall (1:55) to unbeaten Beech grappler Brayden Palmer (32-0).

Morrell finished 38-8 and Davis 13-2.

Also taking home medals were:

Class AAA boys — Brennan Watkins (4th, 113), Dobyns-Bennett; Jackson Hurst (4th, 138), Dobyns-Bennett; Tyler Seeley (5th, 132), Science Hill; Joseph Frye (5th, 145), Science Hill; and Jared Harter (5th, 152), Science Hill.

Class A-AA boys — Chris Taylor (3rd, 182), Elizabethton; Joseph Kechter (5th, 285), Elizabethton; and Andrew Fontanez (6th, 132), Elizabethton.

Girls — Lexi May (3rd, 125), Daniel Boone; Taylor Roy (4th, 112), David Crockett; Carlie Brown (4th, 140), Science Hill; Morgan Ratliff (4th, 160), Science Hill; Linnea Dabrescia (5th, 150), Sullivan South; and Olivia Gasteiger (5th, 190), Science Hill.

Science Hill totaled 139 team points. Cleveland was tops with 233.5.

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