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Wrestling event brings the best

12:00 AM, Jan. 12, 2013 EST

Franklin's Alex Bennett controls Tyler Garrison of Blackman in the 152-pound semifinals at the G.P. West Invitational on Saturday. Bennett won the match, but lost in the final. / Larry McCormack / The Tennessean


Respected locally for its longevity, the G.P. West Invitational wrestling tournament is earning kudos for its competitiveness as well.

Only two Midstate wrestlers earned individual championships at Saturday's event at Brentwood High School, and Ravenwood's fifth-place finish was the best performance among local teams.

"It's better than any other tournament I've been to all year," said Ravenwood senior Jacob Freeman, who improved to 36-1 on the season with his 8-0 win over Luke Parish of Christian Brothers in the 145-pound final. "You've got some great Division I teams here, some great DII teams, and Union County (Kentucky), which could compete nationally.

"Luke Parish wrestles every day with Kaleb Baker, who is ranked 15th in the nation. There's a lot of great competition here."

Clarksville's Bruno Reagan posted a first-period pin of Cleveland's Koran Kennedy in the 285-pound final for the only other local individual title.

"It's the hardest tournament in Middle Tennessee, no questions asked," Reagan said after going to 31-0. "And it's starting to shape up as one of the toughest in the state. With all the DII teams and the out-of-state talent, it's a great stepping stone to build off of and get ready for the state tournament. We have a saying on our team that, however you finish here is how you finish at the state."

Clarksville finished seventh on Saturday.

Battle Ground Academy's Pierce Olson (138), Franklin's Alex Bennett (152), Blackman's Tyler Sells (160), Clarksville's Tyler Crane (170) and Ravenwood's Rex Shotts (220) all finished second.

"Once we finalized the team list and started keeping an eye on the rankings, we knew this was going to culminate into a good, hard day of wrestling," Brentwood coach Joe Blair said. "You had the top two teams in Tennessee, the No. 2 team in Kentucky, with McCallie, Franklin, Blackman and Ravenwood, all of which have been in the team rankings at some point this season."

Christian Brothers, ranked in the Top 50 in Intermats.com's national listing and No. 1 in the state in DII, finished with 267 points to win the team title -- just ahead of Cleveland (261.5), the top team in Division I. Union County (197.5) and McCallie (188.5) rounded out the top four.

"We thought it would come down to us and Cleveland, and it did," Christian Brothers ccach Chris Lewis said. "But there are a lot of good wrestlers here. It's a great tournament to tune up for state."

It was a costly win for Christian Brothers, as freshman 106-pounder Tanner Tidswell suffered an elbow injury in his championship match against McCallie's Addison Connell and had to default. The initial diagnosis was a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

"He was 33-7 for us, having a great freshman year," Lewis said. "If that's what it is, it's a three- to six-month recovery. That's going to be tough."

Reagan and Union County 126-pounder Brock Ervin won outstanding wrestler honors. The 132-pound championship match between McCallie's Adam Connell and Cleveland's Haden Hamilton was voted best match, as Connell got a takedown and three near-fall points in the final five seconds for a 7-2 win.

G.P. West Invitational

at Brentwood High School

Team scores: Christian Brothers 267; Cleveland 261.5; Union Co. (Ky.) 197.5; McCallie 188.5; Ravenwood 124.5; Blackman 107; Clarksville 98; Franklin 95.5; Siegel 68; Brentwood 65; Cookeville 57; Overton 54; Battle Ground Acad. 32.5; Franklin Road Acad. 22; Centennial 20; McGavock 13; Houston 13; Antioch 12, Page 11; Lipscomb 2.

Championship finals: 106 - Connell (McC) by injury default over Tidswell (CBHS); 113 - Oliver (CBHS) p. DeBien (Clv), 1;20; 120 - Blackwell (UC) p. Santi (CBHS), 0:51; 126 - Ervin (UC) p. Gray (CBHS), 2:46; 132 - Connell (McC) d. Hamilton (Clv) 7-2; 138 - Carr (UC) d. Olson (BGA) 13-7; 145 - Freeman (Rvd) md. Parish (CBHS) 8-0; 152 - Baker (CBHS) d. Bennett (Fkn) 9-4; 160 - Lopez (Clv) d. Sells (Blk) 3-1; 170 - Walthall (CBHS) d. Crane (Clks) 12-8; 182 - West (Clv) d. Hoodenpyle (McC) 11-5; 195 - McOlgan (CBHS) d. Stukanov (Clv) 14-11; 220 - Cook (McC) d. Stotts (Rvd) 10-6; 285 - Reagan (Clks) p. Kennedy (Clv), 1:15.



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