It’s hard to argue with undefeated.
Cole Schurlknight, Science Hill’s power-packed 126-pounder, was chosen as the Johnson City Press Super 14 wrestler of the year Thursday.
The team was selected by the Press after consulting with Region 1 wrestling coaches.
Schurlknight is 52-0 against region competitors in his high school career. And the senior is a clear contender for a state title this year.
Beginning today at Sullivan East’s gym in Bluff City, Schurlknight will try to become just the fifth four-time champion in Region 1 history. The individual wrestling tournament begins today at 6 p.m. Action continues Saturday with the championship matches scheduled to begin in the evening.
Wrestlers will compete to earn berths in the state tournament, which is scheduled for Feb. 16-18 in Franklin.
As for coach of the year, that honor went to Sullivan East’s Tim Harris. He guided his team to a top-six finish in the Class A-AA state duals.
Science Hill once again dominated the Super 14 team, placing six wrestlers on the honorary squad. Schurlknight was joined by Tyler Knowles (132), Steven Goldstein (138), Carson Schurlknight (145), Wesley Vaughan (152) and 160-pounder Justin Snyder.
No other school placed more than one wrestler on the team. Daniel Boone’s Trevor Shropshire was the pick at 195 pounds while Elizabethton’s Tank Williams was selected at 220 and Sullivan East’s Hallie McQuality earned the honor at 285.
Also on the team were Greeneville’s Jon Boatman (106), Tennessee High’s Jeremy Taylor (113), Sullivan South’s Andrew Armstrong (120), Jefferson County’s John-Logan Churchman (170), and Dobyns-Bennett Bryson Begley at 182 pounds.
Taking on competition from all angles, Cole Schurlknight is a three-time regional champion. He finished third in the state in 2011, and is ranked No. 4 this year with a record of 49-8.
“He is one of the scrappiest kids I’ve ever coached,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Jeff Price. “And he’s also one of the most respectful. He has been a real joy to coach.”
A defending region champ, Knowles (42-11) has 100 career victories. He is ranked No. 6 in the state at 132 pounds.
“Tyler is probably the strongest pinner on the team,” said Price. “He’s a great kid who has been a solid performer.”
A fifth-place finish in the state in 2011 gives Goldstein (39-9) reason to be hopeful for another strong run this year. He is a three-time state qualifier and is seventh on the school’s all-time win list with over 160.
“He is one of the most physical kids I’ve ever coached,” said Price. “And he is a great pinner.”
Also reaching triple digits for career victories, Carson Schurlknight (46-7) was the region runner-up in 2011. Price said he is a very competitive kid.
“He always turns in solid performances,” said Price. “He has worked hard to make himself a place in the lineup, and he is gritty.”
Vaughan (35-15) finished second in the region in 2011 and had a fourth-place finish in 2010. Strength is one of the keys to his success.
“He has been solid for four years,” said Price. “And this year he is one of our most improved wrestlers.”
A four-time region medalist, Snyder (47-8) has 199 career victories. That’s good enough for fourth place on the Hilltoppers’ all-time list.
“Justin is one of the most competitive kids I’ve ever coached,” said Price. “He is definitely a contender for a state title.”
Shropshire (27-1) has been close to perfect this year, and won the Bobby Bates Classic and Greeneville Invitational.
“His desire to be a champion has driven him to the next level,” said Boone head coach Reid Ratliff. “He’s very coachable and a great young man.”
McQuality (32-3) has been a powerhouse in the big weight class. He won titles in the Bristol Brawl, Ed Cressell Classic, and the Central Christmas Classic. He also went undefeated in the Patriot Duals and Lee High Duals.
Williams (22-7) finished third in the Brawl in the Hall and also took third place in the Greeneville Invitational.
Boatman (25-3) won titles at the Ooltewah Invitational, Greeneville Invitational and the Big Red Classic. He is the defending region champion.
“Jon is a dedicated, hard-working wrestler,” said Greeneville head coach Randy Shelton. “He is a year-round wrestler who strives to be the best he can be.”
Taylor (37-7) won the Best of Bristol championship and also placed first in the Brawl in the Hall.
“This kid is truly the definition of a wrestler,” said Vikings’ head coach Tim Smith.
A two-time state qualifier, Armstrong (28-2) won at Greeneville and earned the 113-pound region title in 2011.
Churchman (25-12) has qualified for the state tournament two times. He made it to the region championship match in 2011.
Carrying one of the area’s best records, Begley (47-4) was second at Soddy-Daisy and third in the Indian Classic and Falcon Frenzy.