Middle Tennessee Takes Home the Bear Trophy
Macon, GA. October 29, 2011 ~ submitted by Bryan Knepper
The inaugural event of the 2011-2012 NCWA season saw the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders edge out host Mercer University to win the Bear Invitational on 10/29/11 in Macon, GA (site of the 2011 NCWA Championships). The Blue Raiders had 15 grapplers competing in 10 weight classes, placing 12 in the top-4 with two individual champions in Patrick Chadwick (133) and Everett Colbert (157). As this tournament used placement points for the top-4 in each weight classification, team depth became the determining factor for winning the championship. With 2 Seniors, 2 Sophomores, and 11 Freshman representing MTSU, the Blue Raiders are looking good for the foreseeable future. Captain Anthony Patnode (So, White House) placed 3rd at 125 going 2-1 on the day with victories over Alemar (GSU) and Kermick (MTSU). His Freshman teammate Kendall Kermick (Germantown) placed 4th after defeating another teammate, Shane Shaffner (Fr, Kingsbury), 5-4 by riding time avenging a close loss in the Blue Raider Challenge. That following a close 3-1 loss to runner-up Rowland (KSU). Shaffner went 1-2 with a pinfall victory in 1:03 over Cortez (KSU) before losing to #1 seed and NCWA Qualifier Nick Wright (Mercer). At 133, Patrick Chadwick (Fr, Overton) posted victories over Britain (GSU) 13-7, #2 seed Japa (KSU) by fall in 5:34, and a stunning fall in 5:41 over #3 seed Zach Byrd (GSU) to capture the title. Fellow Freshman Brandon Greer (Antioch) went 0-2 on the day losing to Byrd and Japa. 2011 Tennessee State Champion Eric Feuerbacher (Fr, Blackman) bumped up to 141 for team strength and was really the reason the Blue Raiders won the championship, due to his 2nd place finish garnering 7 team points going 3-1 on the day. His matches were as follows: loss by dec 7-6 (riding time) to Bauman (UNF), win by fall in 3:32 over Allmon (Mercer), win by dec 5-3 over McAraw (GSU), and win by fall in 4:16 over Everette (GSU). The Blue Raiders were lacking a 141 and 149 wrestler due to injuries to Trey Thigpen (So, Overton) and Kyle Chandler (So, MLK). At 157, Sophomore Everett Colbert (McGavock, Tusculum transfer) made a case for Most Outstanding Wrestler with a perfect 4-0 day defeating Eck (Mercer) 20-5, Nowak (UNF) 22-7, Hysaw (GSU) 17-6, and Sesay (GSU) 3-2 to win the title. Everett also collected 21 takedowns on the day…the current season record is held by Thigpen with 72.
Senior Captain Nick Appleby (Dallas, PA) contended for the title at 165 making it to the championship match where he lost by injury default to #4 seed Duke (UNF). On his way to the finals, Nick defeated Cornelius (AASU) 15-0 and pinned #2 seed Hunter Allen (Mercer) in 0:40 with a convincing cradle. Nick is the all-time wins leader for MTSU with 41 and is in his final competition season. At 174, Jonathan Roberts (Fr, Beech) placed 4th losing twice to the same opponent, #3 seed Holmes (Mercer). He gathered pinfall victories over Boykin (GSU) in 4:56 after leading 13-1 and over Visockis (GSU) in 0:36. The 184-lb weight class had 2 outstanding performances by Blue Raiders with Rakim Talley (Fr, Dickson Co.) and Michael LaBadie (Fr, East Stroudsburg, PA) placing 2nd and 4th, respectively. The two went toe-to-toe at the Blue Raider Challenge earlier this year with Talley winning on a last second takedown 7-5. Talley defeated NCWA Qualifier Steven Fowler (USC) 7-4 and #2 seed Mike Myers (Mercer) by fall in 6:54 before losing to 2010 NCWA National Runner-up Ben Brummel (USC) by fall in 4:13. LaBadie had an equally difficult route to placement losing to Coney (Mercer) 8-2, winning 8-7 on riding time over Murphy (GSU), a pinfall victory over Myers (Mercer) in 2:26, and an injury default loss to Coney in the consolation finals. Denzel Caldwell (Fr, Antioch) had one victory and two very tough losses winning against Lirette (Mercer) by fall in 0:19, losing by last-second takedown to Sandercock (KSU) 6-4, and a 9-6 loss to 2011 NCWA All-American Charlie Farr (Mercer). This last match was a very contentious match that got the crowd pretty riled and cheering back and forth. The 235-lb weight class featured Senior Miles Taylor (Oakland) and Freshman Adam Wells (Blackman). Taylor went 1-2 on the day with a victory over Herrington (AASU) by fall in 4:57, and pinfall losses to #1 seed and NCWA Qualifier Ike Okoli (USC) and Lustgarten (UNF). Wells came within 4 seconds of making the finals going 3-2 on the day with wins over Hughes (AASU) by fall in 1:25, #3 seed and NCWA Qualifier David Thornbury (KSU) 7-6, before losing to #2 seed Darren Sexton (GSU) 6-5 by last second reversal. He then defeated Herrington (AASU) by fall in 2:59 and lost to Lustgarten (UNF) by fall in 1:20. Tyler Bond (Fr, Rossview) placed 3rd going 3-1 on the day with 3 victories over Mercer opponents (2 falls and 1 major) while losing to #1 seed and NCWA Qualifier Josh Broadway (UNF) by fall in 4:33.
Overall this was a great tournament for the MTSU Blue Raiders as 4 regulars were missing from the lineup: 141 Thigpen, 149 Chandler, 174 Lorenzo Colbert (So, McGavock), and 235 Cody Quick (Jr, Tullahoma). Final team scores were as follows: Middle Tennessee (MTSU) 56, Mercer 52, Georgia Southern (GSU) 42, University of North Florida (UNF) 34, University of South Carolina (USC) 30, Kennesaw State University, Armstrong Atlantic State University. The MTSU wrestling team will host its home MTSU Alumni Duals on 11/5/11 at Smyrna H.S. featuring NJCAA opponents Spartanburg Methodist and Arkansas Baptist and in-conference foe Liberty University. The tournament begins at 10 am with the featured MTSU vs. Liberty match at 4 pm. Entry is \$10 for adults and free for kids 12 and under or MTSU students with an ID.