JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A battle of state powers didn’t go Science Hill’s way Friday night as the Hilltoppers fell into an early hole before losing to Bradley Central 40-30 in their first match of the 20th annual Fandetti-Richardson Brawl at Science Hill.
Things looked good early. Junior 170-pounder Liam Medina scored a first-round pin, giving the Toppers an early 6-0 lead in a battle between the second and third-ranked teams in the state. Things turned south in a hurry from there, though, and by the time Science Hill hit the strongest portion of its lineup, Bradley Central had reeled off 37 straight points.
With just five matches left, even five pins by Science Hill would have resulted in a one-point loss.
Perry Tate lost 20-9 at 182, then a 4-0 loss by Levi Grunder at 195 gave the Bears their first lead at 7-6. Two 3-0 losses at 220 (Kain Rogers) and heavyweight (Keimel Redford) made the score 13-6 — still plenty close.
After Nolan Blevins got pinned at 106, Science Hill had to forfeit at 113 and the deficit had grown dangerously large at 25-6. Gio Demetrikopolos (120) and Javelle Gillespie (126) both suffered pins and the Bears had built an insurmountable lead.
Senior Tyler Willams then went out for an anticlimatic match against the Bears’ Gavin Hughes. Williams, who finished fifth in the state individual tournament, had never lost to Hughes, but the Bradley Central wrestler jumped out to an early lead and finished with a 10-4 decision.
That was all the scoring the Bears would manage, but successive pins by Braxton Mann, Jahkye Aples and Joseph Frye at 138, 145 and 152 were inconsequential. With the score 40-24, Joseph Harter won in a walkover at 160.
The tournament continues through Saturday. Science Hill’s girls lost their first match to perennial state power Rossview by a score of 60-6. The boys won their second match of the night in the 16-team tournament.