Led by Joey Rotella’s 145-pound championship, Carroll County’s wrestlers placed eighth out of 14 teams Saturday in the Ed Cressel Classic at Virginia High School in Bristol.
After receiving a first-round bye, Rotella opened the tournament by pinning George Wythe’s Coleman Dove in 3:40. Rotella won by a 12-4 major decision in the semifinals against Sullivan East’s (TN.) Caleb Berg. In the championship round, Rotella made quick work of Jefferson Forest’s Eric Smith, pinning him in 51 seconds.
“We wrestled pretty good. We still have a lot of growth to have between now and the end of the season,” Carroll County wrestling coach Jason Morris said. “We dropped some matches I thought we could have done better in, but Joey wrestled really well and the other guys had good efforts. Our younger guys wrestled better than they have been wrestling. They were right there close to placing.”
Logan McCollum also had a big tournament, going 4-1 in the 152-pound division to place third. After losing his opening match to Rockbridge County’s Bryan Chapman, McCollum won four straight to take third. McCollum bounced back by pinning Virginia High’s Evan Myers in 34 seconds and won a 6-0 decision over Robert E. Lee’s Nahom Fissaha. McCollum then topped Grayson County’s Clay Anders via forfeit before earning a tough 1-0 decision over Virginia High’s Joe Crum in the third-place match.
Also placing for Carroll were Gavin Scott and Jarrett Thomas. Scott went 2-2 in the 160-pound weight class, opening the tournament by pinning Jefferson Forest’s Zack Cavanaugh in 3:10. Scott then dropped to the consolation bracket after falling to Wise County Central’s Logan Adkins. Scott bounced back by pinning J.I. Burton’s Alize Wadsworth in 1:48 before dropping the third-place match to George Wythe’s Jake Lewis.
Thomas lost his opener to Sullivan East’s Luke Hicks in the 106-pound division, but bounced back by pinning Carroll teammate Riley Henderson in 4:17 and Wise County Central’s Grayson Mullins in 4:28. He met up again with Hicks in the third-place match before falling to take fourth in the weight class.
Josh Brooks went 2-2 at 132 pounds for Carroll County, while Riley Henderson was 1-2 at 106 pounds.
“We just have to keep working. We head to Richlands (Jan. 15) and go to the Big Blue Classic on Friday,” Morris said. “Those are two big events. Friday is a big event for our guys and the postseason is just a few weeks away. We just hope that we can keep improving.”