Father Ryan wrestlers claim dual state championship

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The Father Ryan High School Irish wrestling team knocked off the top-ranked Baylor Red Raiders in come from behind fashion to claim the Division II-AAA Dual Wrestling State Championship, held Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Williamson County Expo Center in Franklin.

The Irish were down one in team points after 10 of 14 weight classes, when three of their hammers in the lower weight classes – Joe Calvin at 120 pounds, Brody Gobbell at 126, and Casen Roark at 132 – claimed wins to seal the victory, including a pin by Calvin.

“It worked out great,” said Father Ryan Coach Pat Simpson.

Though wins by Calvin, Gobbell, and Roark sealed the win, Simpson said, “The key probably for us winning it was Micah Lemaota and Sawyer Rutherford.”

“We thought if we can win those two matches and our best guys win, we would have a good chance to win,” Simpson said.

At 160 pounds, Rutherford won by forfeit, and at 170 Lemaota took a 9-5 decision over Baylor’s Odin Phillips.

“Micah wrestled the best match of his career,” Simpson said.

Besides Calvin, Gobbell, Roark, Rutherford and Lemaota, other Irish wrestlers to claim wins were: Chancery Deane at 145 pounds, by pin; William McGrady at 220 by a decision; and Abraham Cromartie at heavyweight by a decision.

The final score of the championship match was Father Ryan 35, Baylor 28. 

It was a similar story in the semifinal match against Montgomery Bell Academy, which the Irish won 35-27.
“MBA’s got a good team,” Simpson said of the Big Red, coached by his nephew Patrick Simpson. “If they had beaten us, I would have given them a shot to beat Baylor as well.”

Pins by MBA’s Gabe Fisher at 220 pounds and his brother Max Fisher at heavyweight, gave the Big Red its first lead in the team score at 22-19. The Fisher brothers’ family are parishioners at the Church of the Assumption.

But Father Ryan’s wrestlers at the lower weights again came through big for the Irish to seal the win. Daniel Marchetti, subbing for an injured Tanner Tran, the top-rated 106-pounder in Division II, earned the first of four straight wins with a pin. “Daniel Marchetti, he stepped up big,” Simpson said. “That was a match we needed to win; he went out and got a pin.”

Marchetti’s win was followed by victories by Ethan Lampert, Calvin, and Gobbell to send the Irish to the finals.

Other Irish wrestlers to get wins against MBA were: Roark with a pin at 138 pounds; Deane with a technical fall at 152; Rutherford with a technical fall at 160; and Matt Overlander with a decision at 182.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Irish traveled to Memphis for the region individual tournament and qualified a wrestler in all 14 weight classes for the Division II Individual Wrestling Championships to be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17-18, at Montgomery Bell Academy.

The Irish have been battling injuries throughout the season, but are finally healthy just in time for the postseason. “We had not wrestled once this year with the starting 14” until dual state championships, Simpson said. 

“We feel like if we wrestle what we’re capable of, we’ve got a good chance to win,” Simpson said.

The Father Ryan wrestlers who have qualified for the state individual tournament are: Tanner Tran, freshman, 106 pounds; Ethan Lampert, sophomore, 113; Joe Calvin, junior, 120, who finished second at 106 in 2022 and third at 106 in 2021; Brody Gobbell, sophomore, 126, who finished second at 113 in 2022; Casen Roark, sophomore, 132, who was the state champion at 126 in 2022; Aron Tenpenny, sophomore, 138; Chancery Deane, sophomore, 145, who finished third at 132 in 2022; Sawyer Rutherford, sophomore, 152, who finished third at 138 in 2022; Micah Lemaota, senior, 160; Matt Oberlander, senior, 170, who finished third at 152 in 2022, fourth at 120 in 2021, and fifth at 113 in 2020; Lucas Lemaota, freshman, 182; Tim Brunet, senior, 195, who finished fourth at 195 in 2022; William McGrady, senior, 220, who finished fifth at 220 in 2020; and Abraham Cromartie, senior, heavyweight, who finished third at heavyweight in 2022.

Pope John Paul II Preparatory School qualified seven wrestlers for the state tournament: Braxton Castleman, freshman, 113; Brooks Kopp, freshman, 120; Andrew Connow, sophomore, 132, who finished fourth at 120 in 2022; Jackson Vonderharr, sophomore, 138; Caleb Hallock, sophomore, 145; Jordan Crouch, freshman, 152; and Connor Evans, senior, 170.

The Fisher brothers both qualified for the state tournament for MBA. Gabe will be fighting for his third straight state championship at 220 pounds after finishing third at 195 in 220. Max will be hoping to claim his first state championship at heavyweight after finishing third in the weight class in 2021.

MBA’s 126-pounder, David Bellet, a parishioner at St. Mary’s Church downtown, also qualified for the state tournament.

The state tournament at MBA opens at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 17, with the championship semifinals at 6 p.m. The consolation rounds will continue at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, with a Parade of Champions at 3:30 p.m. and the championship finals at 4 p.m.

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