BRISTOL -- Science Hill wasn’t able to keep the hammer down or the hammer in its possession at Saturday’s TSSAA Region 1 wrestling championships at Viking Hall.
Dobyns-Bennett outscored Science Hill by 36.5 points to win the team title and take the sledge hammer trophy that goes along with it. It ended the Hilltoppers’ streak of four straight championships as each of the previous three years, the ‘Toppers won the regional title by record margins.
Still, Science Hill coach Jeff Price wasn’t too disappointed after what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. After nine wrestlers graduated from last year’s team, he saw the positives of what his team accomplished this season.
“We won the conference, we won the region duals, so from that standpoint, it’s been a good year,” Price said. “I think we peaked early. I think we peaked a couple of weeks ago. The only thing that was disappointing we felt our best effort was good enough to win, and I’m not sure we got that. It is what it is and you learn lessons from it and go on.”
The Hilltoppers’ Max Vaughn in the 132-pound weight class was the lone Science Hill grappler to win an individual championship. Daniel Boone’s Trevor Shropshire at 195 and Elizabethton’s Logan Buck at 160 also captured individual titles.
It was the first Region 1 title for Dobyns-Bennett, which had four runner-up finishes including last season. The Indians, coached by Buzzy Mann with former David Crockett head coach Roger Hill as his assistant, had two individual champions -- Austin Frye at 145 and Palmer Begley at 152.
Science Hill still had some to cheer about with seven grapplers earning state-championship berths and four making it to the final round.
Vaughn dominated his match against Tennessee High’s Johnathan Taylor from start to finish to capture a 13-2 major decision and his second regional title.
“I was just trying to stay in the same position, working hard to rack up points,” Vaughn said. “I knew he was a tough wrestler so I was thinking what I could do to score on him.”
The strategy obviously worked as Vaughn improved his individual record to 52-4. It was a different experience for the junior grappler after being on the three championship teams.
“Individually, it was nice working with a young team,” Vaughn said. “We were third in the state and this year, we went 0-2 at the state duals, but we’re still working hard. I’m proud of the team and it’s been an honor to wrestle with them all year.”
The most dramatic individual championship involved Shropshire and Dobyns-Bennett’s Bryson Begley. Shropshire had an escape at the end of the second period to take a 1-0 lead, and then scored a takedown as the clock hit zero at the end of the third period for a 3-1 victory.
“You just have keep fighting until the whistle blows,” Shropshire said. “That match personified that better than anything -- to escape with about two seconds left, and the takedown, the same thing.”
Earning his second Region 1 title, Shropshire defeated Chase Bruson of Morristown East in the semifinal and Begley in the final. He explained he hadn’t fared as well in their previous meetings this season.
“I came into this tournament and I had lost to those two guys,” Shropshire said. “I lost to Begley, and I lost to Chase Brunson twice this year. Last year, I came in as the No. 1 seed and everything had gone better for me throughout the year. This year, I had some holes in the road and came in as a third seed. To win the region tournament, it’s awesome.”
Also down to the wire, the Cyclones’ Buck took a 7-5 overtime thriller over Jack Jones of Tennessee High for the 160 title. After Jones rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie on an escape with only one second left in the third period, it took Buck only 25 seconds to take advantage of a mistake in overtime.
“The last time I wrestled him, it was 12-2,” Buck said. “This time, he really wanted it. But, wrestling is as much about punishing them for their mistakes as it is doing it wrong. He pushed into me a little too hard and I got the throw.”
The three Science Hill wrestlers who earned runner-up finishes were: Gary Hudgins, who dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision to Sullivan East’s Ryan Whitaker at 113, Matt Dammann, who lost 5-4 to Tennessee High’s Corbin Hurley at 120, and Damian Hayes, who came up one match short of defending his regional title at 220.
Other Hilltopper grapplers who qualified for the state were third-place finishers Austin Bagley at 145 and Colby Hardin at 182, and fourth-place finisher Ben Rolston at 152.
Elizabethon had a trio of fourth-place finishes -- Dalton Callahan at 145, Stephen Frazier at 170 and Aaron Somers at heavyweight, who qualified for the state.
Happy Valley’s Tim Morris also qualified for the state with a third-place finish at 120. He earned an 8-3 decision over Daniel Boone’s Jacob Cutshall, who also earned a state berth.
The state meet begins next Thursday at the Williamson County Expo Arena in Franklin.
Region 1 championships
At Viking Hall
(Top four qualify for state)
1. Dobyns-Bennett. 195
2. Science Hill 168.5
3. Jefferson County 157.0
4. Seymour 151.0
5. Tennessee High 120.5
6. Greenevlle 108.0
7. Sullivan East 104.0
8. Elizabethton 88.0
9. Sullivan South 85.0
10. Morristown East 78.5
11. Daniel Boone 57.0
12. Morristown West 55.0
13. Sevier County 53.0
14. Volunteer 42.0
15. Cocke County 38.0
16. West Greene 35.5
17. David Crockett 34.0
18. Chuckey-Doak 32.0
19. South Doyle 21.5
20. Happy Valley 20.0
21. South Greene 4.0
106--Chris Poore (Seymour) dec. Atlas Fagundes (Greeneville), 16-10
113--Ryan Whitaker (Sullivan East) dec. Gary Hudgins (Science Hill), 3-2
120--Corbin Hurley (Tenn. High) dec. Matt Dammann (Science Hill), 5-4
126--Andrew Armstrong (Sullivan South) major dec. Josh Vance (Greeneville), 11-2
132--Max Vaughn (Science Hill) major dec. Johnathan Taylor (Tenn. High), 13-2
138--William Stooksbury (Seymour) dec. Joseph Evon (Jefferson Co.), 7-5
145--Ausitn Frye (Dobyns-Bennett) pin Nick Cline (Morristown West), 3:59
152--Palmer Begley (Dobyns-Bennett) pin Griffyn Broyles (Morristown West), 2:54
160--Logan Buck (Elizabethton) dec. Jack Jones (Tenn. High), 7-5, OT
170--Josh Spangler (Tenn. High) dec. Marshall Brown (Greeneville), 8-6
182--Brailan Brown (Jefferson Co.) pin William Alston (Sullivan East), 1:45
195--Trevor Shropshire (Daniel Boone) dec. Bryson Begley (Dobyns-Bennett), 3-1
220--William Hayde (Jefferson Co.) pin Damiain Hayes (Science Hill), 1:52
285-- Max Araiza (Sevier Co.) dec. Jesse Cuddlebeck (Cocke Co.), 6-3
106--Jose Blanco (Jefferson Co.) dec. Bryan Brockwell (Sullivan South), 7-5
113--Brad Bishop (Dobyns-Bennett) dec. Andrew Adams (Sevier Co.), 14-9
120--Tim Morris (Happy Valley) dec. Jacob Cutshall (Daniel Boone), 8-3
126--Joseph Colby (West Greene) major dec. Ethan Joyce (Seymour), 16-7
132--Matthew Gobble (Sullivan South) pin Jackson Shannon (Jeff. Co.), 2:00
138--Dustin Jaynes (Chuckey-Doak) dec. Alex Jeffers (Dobyns-Bennett), 4-0
145--Austin Bagley (Science Hill) dec. Dalton Callahan (Elizabethton), 5-1
152--Landon Porter (Morr. East) dec. Ben Rolston (Science Hill), 3-1
160--Tyler Dean (Dobyns-Bennett) dec. Ernest Holmes (Volunteer), 9-4
170--Clint Caldwell (Dobyns-Bennett) pin Stephen Frazier (Elizabethton), 4:35
182--Colby Hardin (Science Hill) pin Jacob Loveday (Seymour), 2:40
195--Chase Brunson (Morristown East) pin Zach Reaves (Greeneville), 1:01
220--William Campbell (Dobyns-Bennett) pin Dillon Baldwin (Seymour), 2:23
285--Drew Cannon (Seymour) pin Aaron Somers (Elizabethton), 4:32