Photo by Jonathan Kerns

Arlington wrestlers win 5th straight regional title

The Arlington High School Tiger Wrestling team won the regional finals against Houston High to secure their 5th straight Region 8 Team Dual title. Photos by Jonathan Kerns.

The Arlington High School Tiger Wrestling team finished its team dual regular season undefeated in district and Region.

The Tigers clinched their fifth straight district championship with their win over the Collierville Dragons Jan. 17. Arlington hosted and won their first round dual of the Regional Team Dual Championships against Kingsbury a week later. Then in Collierville on Jan. 25 the Tigers defeated Munford in the Region Semifinals and Houston in the finals to secure their fifth straight Region 8 Team Dual title.

The Arlington Tigers and Houston Mustangs, the top two teams in the Region, advanced to the TSSAA State Dual Championships in Franklin. The schools faced off against a competitive field of the state’s top teams on Feb. 1-2.

The Houston wrestlers suffered a loss to Centennial in their first round and another loss to Sevier County in the first consolation round. The Arlington Tigers entered the State competition ranked as the No. 3 Div. I-AAA dual team in the state according to The No. 3 ranking is the highest state ranking the team has achieved since the inception of the program.

The Tigers had a victory over Maryville in the first dual. However, in the second round Arlington was defeated by last year’s State runner-up team, Science Hill, by one match.

On Feb. 2 in the consolation bracket and fighting for a trophy still, Arlington defeated Sevier County. The Tigers then squared off against the number two ranked team, Wilson Central. Arlington kept it close, but in the end fell short and were eliminated from the tournament. Several wrestlers also suffered injuries in the tournament. It was a disappointing end to their most successful season yet for the program.

While the team component of the wrestling season is complete, there are still two more weeks of wrestling: Individual Regional Championships and the Individual State Championships. The Tigers have been led by a group of five seniors who have been very instrumental in the team’s success and have posted records in individual competitions as well, with many individual tournament champions at the Blackhorse, Heart of Dixie and GP West Invitational tournaments.

This Saturday, Feb. 9, Collierville High School will host the Region 8 Individual Championship Tournament. Wrestling begins at 10 a.m., and the championship matches will be at 4:30 p.m.

Senior Arlington wrestler Justin Donahue lifts and returns his opponent from Wilson Central. Unfortunately, Donahue fractured his fibula (the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg) in the final seconds of the match, ending his high school career with this 14-10 victory.