By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain’s wrestling team finished second in Saturday’s Maroon Devil Invitational at Swain.
Three Mustangs won their weight class. They were Hunter Lassiter (132), Will Frady (195) and Ethan Grasty (285).
“We had a pretty good showing,” Coach Tony Moody said. “The inexperienced guys made some rookie mistakes, and it was good for us to see so we can spend some time on fixing those. Overall, I was pleased with the performance of the whole team. The kids wrestled aggressively and looked solid.”
Lassiter opened with a pin of Hayesville’s Mason Cook and pinned Madison’s Tacoma Reed in the semifinals. He topped Rabun Gap, Georgia’s Matt Campbell 16-0 by technical fall in the finals.
Frady received a bye in the first round. He pinned Madison’s James Calloway in the semifinals,and decisioned Franklin’s Branden Berger 7-5 in the finals.
Grasty also had a bye in the first round. He pinned Franklin’s Cameron Cody in the semifinals and Brad Moore of Liberty, South Carolina in the finals.
SM’s Isaac Gunter was second at 138. After a bye in the first round, he decisioned Liberty’s Landon Teague 3-1 in the semifinals. He was pinned by Franklin’s Zack Gibson in the finals. Placing third for the Mustangs were Sam Hudson (120), Ki French (160) and Danner Hill (220).
Hudson had a bye in the first round before being pinned by Liberty’s Trent Burdette in the semifinals. He bounced back to pin Swain’s Cameron Phillips in the consolation finals.
French opened by pinning Rosman’s Willow Chance before being pinned by Rabun Gap’s Aidan Loring. He recovered to decision Liberty’s Sam Bates 5-0 and pin Madison’s A.J. Rollins in the consolation bracket.
Franklin’s Isaac Jennings pinned Hill in the first match. He bounced back to pin Rosman’s Jeshua Whited and Murphy’s Joe Swain. He decisioned Franklin’s Isaac Jennings 8-6 in the consolation finals.
Coming in fourth for SM were Hayden Hooper (106), Juan Guerrero (113) and Elijah Rodriguez (145).
Hooper had a bye before being pinned by Murphy’s Logan Hyde. He pinned Franklin’s Ben Waldroop then was pinned by West Henderson’s Matthew Vindigni.
Guerrero received a bye then was pinned by Rosman’s Brandon Ropp and Hayesville’s Dylan Walls.
Rodriguez opened with a pin of West Henderson’s Jake Baker then was pinned by Swain’s Jonas Trejo. He bounced back to pin Hayesville’s William Wimpey before being pinned by Franklin’s Aiden Carpenter.
Not placing but winning a match were Mandon Olvera (126), Jason Cole (170) and Carson Rogers (182).
Rabun Gap won the team title with 156 points to SM’s 146.5. Franklin was third at 135, followed by Madison (133), Swain (77.5), Hayesville (67), Liberty (63), Murphy (49), West Henderson (47) and Rosman (16).
In JV action, Blake Stevens, Alex Rodriguez, Joel Francis, Mitchell Russotti and Ryder Huffman went 2-0. Nathan Cook and Forrest Ward were 1-1.