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Five Crockett wrestlers headed to state competition, Pioneers take fifth in weekend tournament

David Crockett High School recently turned in one of its best-ever showings in the Region 1 Wrestling Tournament.
The Pioneers placed fifth in the 20-team event held over the weekend at Daniel Boone High School. Crockett qualified five wrestlers for the TSSAA state tournament.
“The regional meet is always a very long couple of days,” Crockett Head Coach Roger Hill said. “As always, it was an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. We lost some matches we should have won, but we also got some points we weren’t expecting.”
The top four finishers in each weight class at the regional meet advanced to state, which is scheduled to take place Thursday through Saturday in Franklin.
Science Hill High School won the tournament with Jefferson County and Dobyns-Bennett in second and third, respectively. Greeneville and Crockett rounded out the top five.
Crockett’s state qualifiers are seniors Dylan Bryant, Matthew Thomas, Rico Vaquero, and Tommy Ryan, along with junior Jeremiah Rogers. Bryant and Vaquero made the trip last season while this year will be Thomas’ third consecutive appearance at the state meet.
This year’s region tournament was huge for Bryant, who scored a reversal as time expired to defeat Science Hill’s Nolan Lyon to win the 215-pound regional championship by a score of 6-5 on Saturday night.
Earlier in the day, Bryant had recorded his 100th career win in a semifinal bout with Jamarl Steele of Dobyns-Bennett. Bryant was also named All-Conference and will carry a season record of 32-7 into the state meet.
It was also a big day for Thomas, who advanced to the 135-pound semifinal only to lose to Dobyns-Bennett’s Trent O’Brien by a tough 11-9 decision. Thomas responded with two big victories, including an 11-0 blanking of Seymour’s Caleb Stoffle in the third-place match.
Just before the medal round, Thomas was named as the winner of the 2011 Ricky Stroud Award, named in memory of a former Morristown East wrestler and given to the athlete in Region 1 who best exemplifies sportsmanship and dedication to the sport of wrestling.
Thomas’ season record now stands at 36-7.
Vaquero, at 130 pounds, also lost in the semifinals, in an 8-6 match with Nick Malyar of Elizabethton. But he stormed back to claim a third-place medal, defeating Sullivan East’s Robert Howington by a score of 9-3. Vaquero has compiled a 35-10 individual record this season.
Ryan’s performance at regionals was a big surprise for the Pioneers. Despite being seeded fifth and losing his first match to Sullivan South’s Lucas McReynolds, Ryan battled his way through the consolation bracket to defeat McReynolds for third place at 140 pounds. Ryan’s record is now at 26-12.
Seeded sixth at 160 pounds, Rogers showed up at regionals ready to go. He advanced to the semifinals by defeating Seymour wrestler Shane Chipley, who had beaten Rogers in the Knoxville Halls Invitational finals in January.
Rogers then lost to second-seeded Austin Fullbright of Science Hill by a 7-2 score. He eventually worked his way into the consolation finals for yet another match with Chipley, which he lost in overtime 7-5, earning fourth place. Rogers is now 28-12 on the season.