Collierville High School’s nine wrestlers took part in 31 matches Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Franklin in the Class AAA state wrestling meet.
There were a lot of highlights, but the match of the day came Friday night when Dragon junior Andrew Artiles took on Bradley Central’s Wesley Devaney at 120 pounds, the winner of which would move on to the state title match.
Artiles gave up a 4-2 lead and found himself down 5-4 with seven seconds left in the match. It’s akin to a football team being down a touchdown at its own 20-yard line with just a few seconds left on the clock.
“I was already thinking towards next year, it’s over,” Collierville coach Brian Loeffler said about what he was thinking when Artliles fell behind. “You’re not going to come back off your back with seven seconds left. I put my head down and next think I know he got a reversal.”
The move gave Artiles a 6-5 win and a spot in Saturday’s championship match. Artiles celebrated by running around the mat with his hands in the air.
“The whole place erupted it seemed like,” Loeffler said. “It was a huge momentum swing, maybe the biggest I’ve ever seen.”
Artiles ended up losing to Arlington senior Reed Cannon in the title match. Cannon, a four-time medalist, was the state’s top-ranked wrestler all year at 132, but dropped down to 120 for the state meet.
Nevertheless, Artiles was the first Collierville medalist since 2013 and is first Dragon to finish runner up since 2010.
And he wasn’t the only Dragon to medal.
Junior Jared Dawson went 6-1 in the 285-pound weight class. His only loss came at the hands of Mt. Juliet’s Michael Kramer, who took first and entered the meet as the 15th-ranked heavyweight in the nation.
Dawson won four matches after the loss, including a pin over Titus Swafford of Cleveland in third place match that put him on the podium. He beat to returning medalists during his run.
“Jared was the only one to last longer than a minute with Kramer,” Loeffler said. “If he would have been on the other side of the bracket he would have been in the finals. Jared was determined to get on that podium, and sure enough he did.”
Sophomore Gage King (113) won a pair of matches for the Dragons. Junior Logan Sprague (152), senior Christian Sammons (160) sophomore Wyatt Lankford each won one match. Junior Zach Walsh (138) and sophomores Christian Flynn (145) and Ted Cooper (182) also competed for the Dragons. It was the first state tourney appearance for Flynn and Cooper.
With all but one of the state qualifiers back next season, Loeffler is optimistic about next season. But, for now, he’s happy with the way this season unfolded.
“Two medals is good for any school,” he said. “If you can get one, that’s pretty good. If you can get more than, it’s phenomenal.”