By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Waiting one more day didn’t bother Millington High Trojan Luke Walker.
Since the 10th grade, the Millington senior has been in contention for a Regional title. Coming into last weekend’s Region 8-3A Individual Wrestling Tournament at Cordova, Walker was the favorite in the 182-pound division.
Originally scheduled to be held Friday and Saturday, snow came in the area Saturday morning moving the championship and consolation rounds to Sunday. After improving his record to 29-1, unbeaten in 182, Walker faced Collierville’s Cameron Tarver for the championship.
Using his technical skills he developed over the years and natural ability, Walker dominated the match to win on points.
“Ever since the 10th grade I told myself I was going to one day be Region champ,” Walker said seconds after winning. “My goal was obviously to be the best in the tournament. I think I deserve it. I put in work today.”
Walker and several of his teammates put in work Sunday with a total of four reaching State. Joining Walker at this week’s Class 3A State Wrestling Tournament will be Jaxon Cook (152), Brandon “The Professor” Carmichael (160) and Quinton Harrison (285).
The Collierville Dragon program will have the largest representation for West Tennessee and the region at state, sending 10 wrestlers, including champions Matthew Richardson (138), Seth Williams (145) and Tres Ring (285).
Houston will have nine wrestlers at state, featuring Region champions Grayson Young (126) and Alexander Tekle (220). The Arlington Tigers will feature eight athletes at state and Cordova and Bartlett will send seven wrestlers.
Among the best was Walker. The coaches recognized his talent nominating him for Wrestler of the Year in the Region. Walker has been a leader for Head Coach William Richardson’s program.
The Coach of the Year nominee said Walker coaches the younger guys, works on improving his skills every day and has natural gifts on the mat.
“My ability to control my hips controls the match,” Walker noted. “I can speed it up when I need to and slow it down when I need to. I believe that is my best attribute.
“It’s been a lot mental, keeping my head in the game and not doubting myself,” he added. “I kept telling myself, ‘I can do it. I can take first place in the State. I can be Region champion.’”
Walker said several people have helped him reached his goal from family and friends to his coaches. But he gave a special thank you to past teammates and current Trojans like Cook and Luiz “Hendo” Hernandez.
“When I was younger we had JT, Rodney and Shawn,” he recalled. “Those people helped me at an earlier age to be tougher. I learn to get my butt kicked first before giving a few butt kickings.
“Recently, Jaxon and Hendo have helped me a lot with them being a little bit smaller,” Walker added. “They helped me improve my quickness which is an advantage against bigger people.”
All the lessons have paid off with the 2014 Region championship in his division. And as he prepared to leave the Cordova Gymnasium Sunday night, Walker was called a champion.
“It sounds great,” he concluded. “It has been a long time coming. It’s a great feeling.”
Region 8 Champions
- 103 Cordova’s Aaron Carter (pinfall)
- 113 Bartlett’s Alex Carroll (points)
- 120 Arlington’s Bryce Dodson (points)
- 126 Houston’s Grayson Young (points)
- 132 Arlington’s Andrew Zarshenas (pinfall)
- 138 Collerville’s Matthew Richardson (points)
- 145 Colleriville’s Seth Williams (pinfall)
- 152 Arlington’s Nathan Enzon (points)
- 160 Cordova’s Matthew Mullins (points)
- 170 Germantown’s Jeffrey Houston (points)
- 182 Millington’s Luke Walker (points)
- 195 Cordova’s Tyree Daniels (pinfall)
- 220 Houston’s Alexander Tekle (points)
- 285 Collierville’s Tres Ring (pinfall)
- 103 Jeremy Henson (Collierville)
- 113 Dalton Ridling (Bolton)
- 120 Mitchell Nguyen (Collierville)
- 126 Braun Stephens (Bartlett)
- 132 Diego Scott-McCabe (Collierville)
- 138 Alaa Shihadeh (Houston)
- 145 Matthew Dale (Houston)
- 152 Jaxon Cook (Millington)
- 160 Kevin Reeves (Bartlett)
- 170 Essex Ramsey (Brighton)
- 182 Cameron Tarver (Collierville)
- 195 Irana Moore (Memphis East)
- 220 Nathan Hale (Collierville)
- 285 Quinton Harrison (Millington)
- 103 Houston’s Matthew Smolin (points)
- 113 Collierville’s Alex Connell (points)
- 120 Houston’s Travis Arthur (pinfall)
- 126 Kingsbury’s William Perez (points)
- 132 Bartlett’s David Thoms (points)
- 138 Arlington’s John Craft (pinfall)
- 145 Cordova’s James Costner (pinfall)
- 152 Bartlett’s Kris Bledsoe (pinfall)
- 160 Millington’s Brandon Carmichael (points)
- 170 Collierville’s Graydon Yoder (pinfall)
- 182 Houston’s Cole Young (pinfall)
- 195 Kingsbury’s Ahmad Malaw (pinfall)
- 220 Arlington’s Kylan Gray (points)
- 285 Memphis East’s Radarrious Anderson (pinfall)
- 103 Jonathan Abel (Bolton)
- 113 Samuel Greenberg (Houston)
- 120 Tyler Poe (Bartlett)
- 126 Bailey Hulley (Arlington)
- 132 Justin Taylor (Cordova)
- 138 Josh Houston (Kingsbury)
- 145 Josiah Miller (Germantown)
- 152 Ahmad Richardson (Cordova)
- 160 Matt Wideman (Arlington)
- 170 Rayveon Hardin (Arlington)
- 182 Ismaeel Bayakly (Cordova)
- 195 Nick Wilson (Bartlett)
- 220 John McDougal (Southwind)