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Wrestling Updates and Tidbits...

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Maybe a few Cleveland area fan fans may appreciate... 


Cannon's Corner: Local sports roots run deep

STATE CHAMPION Bradley Central blew out perennial powerhouse Riverdale, which had won the three previous state titles, 74-18 Friday in Lee Team Camp action at Jim Smiddy Arena. The Lady Warriors were minus a trio of starters, while the Bearettes, including Alexis Barnes, right, and UT-Chattanooga commit Anna Walker, were in mid-season form.



Posted Saturday, June 8, 2019 9:32 pm

In broadcasting legend Corky Whitlock's first year on the air locally, Bradley Central did something no other high school in the state had done before, nor any since.
Taking over from legendary coach Billy Frank Smith, Harold "Red" Henslee's football Bears were voted the No. 1 team in the state of Tennessee by the Lintkenhous Ratings. TSSAA gridiron playoffs didn't begin until 1969.
That same academic year on the basketball court, Coach Bill Walker's Bears and legenadry coach Jim Smiddy's Bearettes both captured state championships to complete the coveted “Triple Crown” for the only time in Tennessee high school sports history.
"No other school had ever done that. It was a great way to get introduced to the local sports scene," related Whitlock, who became known as the "Voice of Bradley County."
When he proclaimed Bradley County as the "Sports Capital of Tennessee," there was no Cleveland or Walker Valley high schools. No Cleveland State Community College. Only Bradley Central and Charleston high schools, plus Lee College provided the sports excitement.
There have been some schools, especially in the D-II private school ranks, that have captured three TSSAA team titles in the same school year, but none have done it in the "Big 3" sports — football, boys and girls basketball.
While doing research for this column last week about the tremendous success our local teams had this past school year with Cleveland claiming both the state duals and traditional wrestling crowns, plus the Bearettes bringing home the hoops Gold Ball, I came across information, reminding me of the best year in Bradley County high school sports history.
Twenty-five years ago local teams claimed an unheard-of six state championships, plus four individual titles were captured.
Unfortunately for me, I didn't get to witness the 1993-94 local success as I was the sports editor for The Savannah Courier in West Tennessee.
While I was covering Adamsville's state tournament runs in baseball, softball and boys basketball that year, Bradley was claiming state crowns in volleyball, Large Class wrestling duals and baseball, while Cleveland brought home Gold in football and both the Small Class duals and traditional wrestling titles.
In a column about the season, my mentor George Starr wrote, "Is this a great community for sports, or what?
"Local high school athletes have just completed an outstanding year. I can't recall ever seeing our young people excel in so many sports. Remarkable is the only way I know to describe the accomplishments."
Instead of me trying to summarize the season, I'll let the longtime local sports editor and Lee University SID, who was serving at the Banner's City Editor at the time, describe it:
— "The Bradley Central volleyball team finished 44-3 under the direction of first-year coach Judy Pruett. They captured the Class Large State Championship, the third in the program's short history (they also won it the following year).
— The Cleveland High football team powered it's way to a perfect 14-0 season. Under the leadership of veteran Coach Benny Monroe, the Blue Raiders beat Brentwood Academy 26-21 for the State 4-A Championship (it was the start of a 54-game winning streak that included three straight state titles).
— The Charleston Panthers reached the state football playoffs for the first time in the school's history. Coach Warren Blankenship watched his team post a 9-3 record. The Panthers upset Coalfield in the first round of the playoffs before falling to the state champions, Trousdale County.
—The Cleveland High wrestling team won its third straight Class Small State Duals Championship. Then the Raiders, with Coach Al Miller in charge, won the traditional State Wrestling Championship. It was the second time Miller had directed his Raiders to the traditional crown. They won the same honor in 1980 (CHS has now captured the state duals and traditional titles eight times each).
— The Bradley Central Bears wrestling team dethroned four-time defending state champion McCallie in the region semifinals and then claimed the Class Large Dual Championship. Steve Logsdon, BCHS's first state (individual) champion in 1984, led the state championship march (the first of 14 state duals and 12 traditional crowns for the Bears).
— In the traditional state wrestling event, the Bears had two state champs: Heath Eslinger at 140 pounds and Alan Patterson in the 189-pound division. 
— The amazing run continued with first-year Coach Paul Cretton and the Bradley Central Bearettes stealing the spotlight. The Bearettes, longtime powerhouses in women's basketball circles, posted a 32-2 record. Cretton watched his talented club being ranked No. 1 in the state's final ratings and also nationally ranked by USA Today. They were beaten 85-67 by White County in the substate (the Bearettes were state runners-up the following year).
— Coach Roger France stepped into the hot seat at Cleveland High and turned the Lady Raiders in the right direction. The CHS team went 23-10. They took the Bearettes to overtime in the Region 3-AAA championship game and lost in the substate to Shelbyville, 65-51.
— The Cleveland men's basketball team did a huge about-face. The Raiders got off to a 2-7 start, then rebounded in fine fashion before falling to Columbia Central in the substate.
—The Cleveland High boys track team won its third straight Region 3 title and junior runner Ben Phillips won the state 1,600-meter run Saturday (May 28, 1994). Monroe was again the leader of the Blue Raider squad (Phillips repeated his state championship the following year).
— The Bradley Central baseball team showed power in all areas. Ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 20 in the nation by USA Today, the Bears (35-2) mixed great pitching, fielding and hitting in capturing their first state crown. The Bears were directed by first-year coach Greg Geren, who was an outstanding (BCHS) high school and college (CSCC and Tennessee) athlete. 
— And last, but not least, was the march of (Bradley) sophomore Eddie Coates to the state tennis championship (Coates also won the 1996 singles title).
I echo Starr's sentiment when he proclaimed, "It requires huge amounts of time and hard work to reach such goals. I've heard it said many times, 'if a sport is worth playing, it's worth giving it your very best effort.' We've seen that from our young people this school year."
This past prep sports season I witnessed the results of tremendous personal and team efforts as well.
Along with Raider double-state wrestling championships, the Bearettes claiming their sixth Gold Ball and a half dozen Raider wrestlers and tracksters stepping to the top of the podium, we also had a duo of state runners-up, as well as one individual second place finisher.
Bradley finished second in the state baseball tournament, their first time returning to the championship game since 1994. The wrestling Bears were the runner-up in the state duals. Walker Valley sophomore Jaden Langford also earned silver in the state heavyweight traditionals.
By the way, in the 1961-62 school year, Bradley also finished in the Top 4 in the state in both baseball and boys golf.
Our local sports success roots run deep, dating back more than a century and the future is bright as I watched the state champion Bearettes blast Riverdale, which had won the previous three state titles, 74-18 Friday afternoon in Lee's Team Camp action at Smiddy Arena.
Granted, the girls from Murfreesboro were missing a trio of starters, including the Hayes sisters, but Bradley was in mid-season form with crisp passes, plenty of steals and several of their limit of 10 players being involved in the offense.
While I welcome the brief summer rest, I'm already looking forward to what we are going to be treated to starting in the fall.


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Local wrestlers hitting mat hard this summer

  • By Zach Birdsong Sports Editor
  • Jun 11, 2019 Updated 7 hrs ago
  •  Tullahoma News

Josh Bosken shows Regan Rogers (right) and Destiny Shelton a move during camp on Monday. Bosken is in Tullahoma as part of a three-day camp that is taking place at Old West Middle School until Wednesday. 

Staff Photo by Zach Birdsong

Taking things to the mat, several local wrestlers, aging from high school to youth wrestlers, are aiming to increase their skills by taking part in a three-day camp at Old West Middle School in Tullahoma this week.

The clinic is held by Josh Bosken, who runs the Higher Calling Wrestling Club of Cleveland, one of the largest youth wrestling clubs not just in Tennessee, but in the south. The three-day camp opened on Monday and concludes on Wednesday.

Bosken wrestled at Science Hill and won the state championship in the 130-pound division in 2003.  Since then, Bosken has had plenty of success coaching on the mat. Right now, Cleveland is on its way to becoming a powerhouse for wrestling in the state, and he said that it all stems from having a solid youth program.

“When I moved there [to Cleveland], Bradley Central was the powerhouse, I started asking ‘how are they doing this?’ They were doing it by their feeder programs,” Bosken said. “Those kids were rolling around on the mats since they were 4 and 5 years old. A lot of small towns are football centered. Cleveland, and in Bradley, they wrestle. So, we’ve really put an emphasis on growing our youth programs.”

Since Bosken has taken over in Cleveland, there has been a boom of success on the mats, not at the high school level. In fact, as THS Head Boys Coach Al Morris pointed out, there’s a new culture of winning in Cleveland.

“Last year, Cleveland, their kids club, middle school and high school pulled the trifecta and won the state championship at every level,” Morris said. “They are obviously doing something right. We are trying to get on board and play the copycat game, I guess you would say.”

The three-day camp at Old West Middle School is the first of two camps that Bosken will take part in down in Tullahoma. Bosken will return to Tullahoma on July 1-3 for another camp. Both clinics will be focusing on different aspects of the sport.

“There are three positions in wrestling, on our feet, top and bottom,” Bosken said. “This week is solely focused on top wrestling. So breakdowns, mat returns and various amounts of returns. The second camp will be all on our feet.”

Nearly 20 Tullahoma wrestlers came out to take part in the wrestling during the first day of the camp on Monday. Morris said he appreciated the high school wrestlers taking part in the volunteer clinic.

“It’s of benefit to our kids not only for the technique, but the experience,” Morris said. “The guys who are getting here are definitely getting better. It’s an opportunity that a lot of people don’t get to have, without having to travel and pay big money for. This was a very reasonable camp.”

According to Bosken, he loves traveling and putting on the clinics. According to him, he goal is to continue to pay things forward, aiding anyway that he can in the sports of wrestling.

“The community in Cleveland is obsessed. They are obsessed with the wrestling culture, they are obsessed with winning,” Bosken said. “The expectations are very, very high. We are very blessed with our resources.

“This is an opportunity for our kids and myself to give back and kind of spread the knowledge,” he added. “This is for kids who want to be involved and get extra training, giving them the opportunity to do so. It’s good for our kids to get the extra training and for me to spread the knowledge a little bit.”


Knoxville native wins wrestling gold at Pan American Junior Games

Kenya-Lee Sloan
By Caleb Noe | 
Posted: Mon 8:20 PM, Jun 10, 2019  | 
Updated: Mon 11:42 PM, Jun 10, 2019
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Kenya-Lee Sloan spent years of her life watching her older brother wrestle, before she was invited onto the mat one day.


She never looked back.

Sloan finished her high school career undefeated at 87-0 as a four-time state champion.

Last week, she won a wrestling gold medal at the Pan American Junior Games in Guatemala.

Before wrestling, Sloan sings.

She listens to slow worship music, and picks a new song for each tournament.

Her song for the tournament in Guatemala was "Not in a Hurry", a song by a worship band from Knoxville called "United Pursuit".

Sloan, a Hardin Valley Academy graduate, is now a student and wrestler at Campbellsville University in Kentucky.


Edited by Sommers

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Shelbyville Times-Gazette
Shelbyville, Tn

Cascade wrestler gets chance with Blue Raiders

Thursday, June 13, 2019
By CHRIS SIERS ~ [email protected]
Sanders Lovvorn was recently afforded a spot on the MTSU wrestling team in the upcoming season.
T-G Photo by Chris Siers

It’s not every day a high school student gets a chance to continue their athletic career at the next level.

It’s even more rare of an opportunity for a student to get a chance to compete in a major Division I team environment.

Recent Cascade graduate Sanders Lovvorn has been afforded just that opportunity.

Earlier this month, Sanders received an invitation to compete at MTSU as part of the Blue Raiders’ wrestling team.

“Coach (Andy) Giel told me a couple of weeks ago the MTSU coach had contacted him and was asking about me. That was a really neat experience because I never thought I would get opportunity to wrestle at the next level,” Lovvorn said.

Word of Lovvorn’s work ethic and dedication to the sport spread high enough up the food chain to prompt the MTSU coaching staff to reach out to Giel on behalf of Lovvorn and the rest was history.

“To have somebody in just two years of experience, he was one of the eight guys finish the season that first year. To see him grow as a leader has been amazing. He was the heart and soul of our team this year,” Giel said.

Cascade began its wrestling program just two short seasons ago, and while numbers were thin in the first few campaigns, the team was never short on heart or hard work—a large part of which Giel credited to Lovvorn.

“One of the great things about wrestling, you compete in your weight class. They’re all right there around his weight. Anywhere from 90 pounds to 285 pounds, there’s someone in your weight class.

“The fact they actively sought him was pretty special. I see big things for him,” Giel added.

As his high school career continued to march on, Lovvorn said he was relatively undecided on where to pursue a college degree.

“Around junior year, I was thinking about what college I wanted to go to. MTSU didn’t really cross my mind. In my senior year, I decided that maybe it was better to stay home,” Lovvorn said.

Then while working one day, a text message from the MTSU coaching staff changed the path of Lovvorn’s future.

“They text me and asked what weight class I wanted to wrestle at and asked if I would like to be part of the team,” he said.

Though it wasn’t a scholarship offer, the Blue Raiders know they’re getting an unparalleled work ethic by bringing Lovvorn on board.

“He outworked everybody he faced. He was going against guys that had seven or eight years more experience than him. Every day, he came to work and got better every single day,” Giel added.

Lovvorn was quick to credit his coach for helping make the connections to help guide his path to MTSU as well.

“Coach Giel has been great. He’s been my football coach for three years and wrestling coach for two years. He approached me about joining the team and I earned captain status this year. That was pretty cool,” Lovvorn said.

While the program is still in its infancy, Lovvorn says the camaraderie and friendships built while wrestling over the last two seasons were some of his fondest athletic memories to date.

“Just seeing everybody grow, because none of us really knew a lot about wrestling. People that I hadn’t talked to a lot became close friends. It was really neat to see them grow. We had guys completely flip their seasons around,” he said.

Lovvorn ended his high school career at the state competition—a mark which he says shows the program is trending the right way.

“Last year, I came in and wasn’t expecting to win any matches and coming into this year, qualifying for state was a big deal,” he added.

Lovvorn will enroll at MTSU this fall and will be in touch with his new coaching staff later this summer for workouts and preseason meetings.

He plans on studying to become a teacher

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Ramos' legacy well reflected in packed Collins Hill wrestling room




SUWANEE — Cliff Ramos opened practice with some typically dry humor Saturday at the Collins Hill field house named in his honor.

“You know, a lot of years I had trouble finding a few heavyweights on the team,” Ramos said.

He paused and looked pointedly at more than 75 men — ranging in age from 18 to 60 — sitting in front of him.

“That’s not a problem with this team,” Ramos said with a sly grin.

The Hall of Fame coach, barely a year removed from being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, invited many of his former wrestlers to participate in Saturday’s event.

It stemmed from comments he’s heard from wrestlers over the years about just wanting to have one more practice. He was also inspired by the book “The Last Lecture,” co-authored by former Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch.

“He was a teacher, like me,” Ramos said. “He was battling pancreatic cancer, like me. The difference was, his was terminal. He didn’t have a lot of time left. I owned some hope with mine.

“Those two things together made me think of doing one more practice. For 14 months, I’ve been living with pancreatic cancer and, to be honest, when I found the diagnosis 14 months ago, I didn’t think I’d have much time left.”

Ramos had surgery at M.D. Anderson last October and has completed his treatment.

“I’m doing pretty well,” he said. “The last month and a half, I started improving a lot. I have some things I’m dealing with, but every day I’m so thankful to God for another day.”

Last September, when Collins Hill officially dedicated the wrestling facility to the man who started the terrifically successful program from scratch, Ramos was in the midst of his battle with the disease.

Almost 10 months later, his voice rang out with renewed strength. Ramos, who needed to sit for much of the ceremony last year, cranked out 20 pushups with the rest of the group during warmups.

By the end, everyone was sweating. They were still laughing, though.

Ramos said beforehand he wasn’t going to make it too difficult.

“It’s more of a reunion than anything,” he said. “I’m definitely not going to kill them. I’m going to tell them I’m going to, but some of them will be done after we do a pre-practice jog.”

Rick White was at Ramos’ first practice as a head coach in 1976 in Butler, Missouri.

He said things haven’t changed that much.

“My senior year, Cliff was our new coach,” said White, who was sporting a cut over one eye and laughed about it. “It, to me, is an honor, just the short year I had him.”

He and Scott Smith, who was a junior that season, flew down from Butler for the event.

Many others came from around the Southeast to participate, a few on very short notice.

“I think it’s a great testament to Coach Ramos that so many people have made an effort, especially on Father’s Day weekend, to come out,” said Jim Gassman, who wrestled for Ramos at Collins Hill before coaching with him there and later at Mountain View. “Then, to participate in a wrestling practice, it’s one of the hardest things you can do. But he always had good practices.”

The bulk of the former wrestlers came from his days at Collins Hill, where Ramos had a dual meet record of 626-80, won nine state team titles and had 34 individual state champions. There were a dozen from Mountain View and Meadowcreek, six from Greater Atlanta Christian, two from East Hall — Ramos’ first job in Georgia — and five from Butler.

Both his sons, Trevor and Taylor, participated. As did Ramos’ most famous student, Kyle Maynard.

“Back in September of last year, we didn’t know how long he was going to be here,” Trevor Ramos said. “Judging by the statistics and what you hear, knowing what the prognosis was, we didn’t know how much more time we had to spend with our dad. It’s just been an answer to prayer that he’s still here and all the glory goes to God.

“It’s amazing to see this wrestling family (today). Wrestlers are such a fraternity and it’s amazing. I knew this was going to be hard, but at the same time, I knew it was going to be really special. It’s such a blessing.”

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