JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Science Hill’s wrestling team hit its home mat on senior night Thursday with a district championship in its sights. Dobyns-Bennett had other ideas, with junior Tre Morrisette sealing the win in the 160-pound contest against Science Hill senior Jared Harter in a battle of the state’s top two wrestlers in their weight class.
The teams traded pins and three point decisions in the first four matches. Science Hill’s Liam Medina came out and scored a first-round pin over Aidan Rhoton at 182. The Tribe returned the favor when Eli Smith pinned Levi Grunder at 195.
A 16-15 Kain Rogers win over D-B’s Jessee Greear, in which Greear was penalized multiple times, was followed by a 3-0 Caleb Burleson win over Science Hill’s Keimel Redford and the score was 9-9.
After a Hayden Bodo decision at 106 put Science Hill up 12-9, the tide turned. The Tribe rode a strong run in the middle contests to take a 25-12 lead. A turning point came when Nolan Blevins, leading 5-1 over Gavin Armstrong with 51 seconds left in the 113 match, was reversed and pinned.
A Greyson Cunningham pin over Gio Demetrikopolos and a four-point decision by Brennan Watkins over Javel Gillispie at 126 put D-B up by 13.
Science Hill senior Tyler Seeley dominated his match at 132 but couldn’t manage a pin, winning a four-point decision 12-2. The Toppers’ Braxton Mann followed with a three-point decision in a 12-5 win over Shane Lemons and the score was 25-19.
An 11-3 Jackson Hurst win over Jahkye Aples at 145 put the Tribe up 29-19 before Joseph Frye won a technical fall at 152 to draw Science Hill to within five at 29-24 with two matches remaining.
That set up an epic battle at 160 between Science Hill senior Jared Harter, ranked first in the state, and longtime rival Tre Morrisette, a junior ranked second in Tennessee. A win of any kind by Morrisette would seal the victory for Dobyns-Bennett.
A win by Harter, who will wrestle for King University next year, would set up a finale at 170 in which the winner would give his team the district trophy.
In a struggle befitting two elite wrestlers, the pair were locked in a close match with Harter on top and leading 4-2 when Morrisette rolled him and got into position for a potential pin. It took him 15 seconds to subdue Harter, but when it was over Dobyns-Bennett had an insurmountable 35-24 lead.
“Jared Harter’s a heck of a wrestler,” Dobyns-Bennett head coach Wesley Idlette said after the match. “Him and Tre, they’ve been going at it for years, and just two great wrestlers that we expect to represent East Tennessee as we go on to the state tournament. I know they’re just going to continue to represent their programs and put East Tennessee on the map.”
Idlette said the Tribe needed to keep its momentum going as the regional dual meet approaches. It’s Jan. 30 at Jefferson County. “We don’t want this to be the best wrestling that we’re doing. We want to make sure that we’re improving. We’re going to go back, watch film, try to find ways that we can get better.”