Holding true to their No. 2 ranking, the Hilltoppers captured second-place honors Saturday in the Class AAA state duals at the Williamson County Expo Center.
“This is a big step for us,” said Science Hill coach Jimmy Miller. “This is something our kids talked about four months ago. They said, ‘This is what we want to do — this is where we feel like we can get to.’ And we did it.”
After picking up two wins on Friday, the Hilltoppers gained their title shot with a hard-fought 37-31 win over Heritage in Saturday’s semifinals. In the championship match, Science Hill fell 51-22 to top-rated Cleveland.
“Our weekend was great,” Miller said. “Our kids came down here with something to prove. We were ranked No. 2 in state for most of the year. I don’t think there were a lot of believers — beside the coaches, our kids and our families — that we were capable of making the finals. There was a lot of talk around the state that couldn’t get there.
“Our kids kept putting one match together over and over and over. We did it three times over the weekend and got to finals match. We had opportunities during the finals, but we had matches that just didn’t go our way. Our kids wrestled tough. … I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
This was Science Hill’s first finals appearance at the state duals. The ’Toppers took third place a year ago.
“I couldn’t be happier for our kids,” Miller said.
Luke Story, William Diehl and Weston Brown showed the way for the Hilltoppers over the weekend. All went 4-0 with Story capping off his day in the 138-pound weight class with a 5-2 decision over Michael Whiteside of Cleveland.
Diehl scored a pinfall at 5:07 over the Blue Raiders’ Zach Brenza at 160, and Brown pinned Logan Strickland at the 4:00 mark in the 195 final.
Braxton Mann was also undefeated, going 3-0 at 113 and earning a 12-5 conquest of Jackson Bradford in the final round.
Tyler Seeley and Joseph Morrell both sported 3-1 records. Seeley’s weekend included a 9-0 major decision over Burns Meagher in the 120 final. Morrell rolled through his first two matches at 170, winning each by pinfall in less than a minute.
Isaiah Ryan was 2-1 for Science Hill at 152 before losing to Cleveland’s Austin Sweeney.
Joseph Frye went 2-2 at 132, as did Arthur James at 145.
Hayden Bodo (106), Jim Kalogeros (182), Denzel Medina (220) and Jesse Cross (285) also picked up victories over the weekend.
“We’re graduating a ton of seniors,” Miller said. “They put the time in and built this thing from ground up. We’ve had good teams here before, no doubt about that. This is a special bunch and they’ll all be missed.”
Miller conveyed the program won’t lose its hunger.
“We’ll be graduating a lot of kids, but a lot of kids are coming back,” he said. “They are just tough — tough-hammer kids. We’re going to build on this. We’re not going to sit back on our haunches.”
Miller, who also spoke well of his coaching staff, will now turn the Hilltoppers’ attention to next weekend’s regional tournament (individuals) at David Crockett.
“Our goal is to go out and win next weekend,” he said. “That’s something that’s evaded us the last couple of years. We missed (the title) by only 3-4 points last year, battling with a good Tennessee High team. This year we should have upper hand. We need to go in there and respond to this weekend and have a good tournament.”
In Saturday’s consolation bracket, Dobyns-Bennett handled Anderson County 60-24 before losing a 56-17 match with Brentwood.
Working from the 113-pound weight class, the Indians’ Gabe Hawkins posted a 3-0 tournament mark. Dillon Lemons, wrestling at 152, also finished 3-0.
Jackson Hurst won both his matches in the 126 division.