Trojans gear up for Regionals

Feb. 15, 2013 @ 05:06 AM

Regionals are just a week away for a large group of Rutherford County wrestlers. The Chase Trojans have six hopefuls when the brackets are announced. Five of Chase’s six hopefuls won a conference title last weekend including Dillon Hemphill, Lance Johnson, Josh Stephens, Stephan Phillips and Richard Sharek. The sixth wrestler, Jesus Sanchez, finished fourth.

“I knew this year we we’re going to have strong individuals,” Chase head coach Adam Dedmon said. “I made sure to schedule some tough individual tournaments so they would see some good individual competition.”

The region chooses 16 wrestlers (based on winning percentage) from each

weight class to compete at the Western Regional. The top four finishers in each weight class earns a spot in the State Championships the following week.

“At this point in the season we’re just trying to keep them in shape,” Dedmon said. “If they don’t know the moves by this point then they wouldn’t be here.”

Dedmon broke down his regional hopefuls.

“113 is a tough weight class at Regionals. He’s going to be fighting hard for a spot at the state tournament but I think he has a good shot. He has experience at State, he’s been there before.”

“Lance has been wrestling great lately. He’s come up with some big wins over kids that are ranked in the state and even won conference. I think if he puts his mind to it then he should win the regional tournament.”

“I don’t really see anybody at Regionals challenging Josh. we just have to keep his mind focused on winning the state title. I know he’s hungry for it. He’s wrestled since the third grade and this is what he’s worked for so I just keep reminding him about it...He’s 44-0 this season, he’s a three-time state placer (6th, 5th and 3rd), hopefully he can finish first this year. He’s seen the toughest competition in the state this year. He should win it hands down.”

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“He’s a really tough, hard-nose kid that goes hard the whole time. He does not stop wrestling. He beats a lot of kids going into the third period because he’s in such great shape. He has a really good shot at qualifying for state.”

“I’m really impressed with this kid. He’s the most improved on our team by far. He had four wins all of last year and this year he has 31. He’s been in the weight room and really stepped it up. His work in the offseason has really shown. The sky is the limit for him. He’s a future state champion in the making.”

“He was so close to qualifying for state last year, he should have gone. He’s wrestled all summer. Hopefully this year he can win a state tournament. he’s got a good shot and he’s certainly put in the work for it.”

Western Individual Regionals will be held Friday, Feb. 22 at West Lincoln High.