BRISTOL, Tenn. — Dobyns-Bennett brought Science Hill’s four-year dominance of Northeast Tennessee wrestling to an abrupt halt Saturday night at Viking Hall.
With its first-place performance in the Region 1-AAA championships, D-B won an overall team title for the first time in school history. The Indians defeated the second-place Hilltoppers 195-168.5.
Indians coach Buzzy Mann credited the championship to his team’s ability to overcome adversity.
“Our guys wrestled really well. Truth be told, we won the title in the consolation brackets. That’s where we were able to pick up a lot of points to win the team title,” Mann said.
The Tribe had two wrestlers win in the championship bracket — but they had five advance to the third-place round.
D-B wrestlers Austin Frye and Palmer Begley won the 145- and 152-pound divisions, respectively, to earn automatic berths to the TSSAA tournament next weekend.
Frye pinned Morristown West’s Nick Cline at the 3:59 mark to gain the regional championship.
“I’m pleased with my performance today. I had to beat two very good wrestlers to advance to state, so I just have to keep that momentum going for one more weekend,” Frye said.
Begley pinned Morristown West’s Griffyn Broyles halfway through their match.
“I felt like there were some calls in my match that could have gone either way, but I ended up coming out on top today,” Begley said.
As he prepares for the state tournament, the D-B sophomore said he hopes to perform well in the event.
“I want to do well this year, but ultimately, I just want to continue to get better over my next two years at Dobyns-Bennett,” Begley said.
Despite his team’s ninth-place finish in the standings, Sullivan South coach Derek Harrison felt his Rebels performed well in the tournament.
“We had 13 boys coming into the tournament and we end up with three going to state,” he said.
In the finals bracket, South grappler Andrew Armstrong punched his ticket to the state tournament by claiming an 11-2 decision over Greeneville’s Josh Vance in the 126-pound division.
Armstrong — a three-time state qualifier — will be joined at state by teammates Matthew Gobble (132), who pinned Jefferson County’s Jackson Shannon in two minutes for third place; and Bryan Brockwell (106), who fell to Jefferson County’s Jose Blanco in a 7-5 decision in the third-place bracket.
The top four teams from Saturday’s event — D-B, Science Hill, Jefferson County and Seymour — advanced to the state finals.
Daniel Boone’s Trevor Shropshire won at 195 over D-B’s Bryson Begley, and Sullivan East’s Ryan Whitaker won at 113 to reach the state tournament.
East’s William Alston (182), Daniel Boone’s Jacob Cutshall (120), Volunteer’s Ernest Holmes (160), and D-B’s Brad Bishop (113), Alex Jeffers (138), Tyler Dean (160), Clint Caldwell (170) and William Campbell (220) also advanced.
State qualifiers will travel to the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center in Franklin for the TSSAA championships, which will be held Feb. 14-16.