Arlington wrestling has outstanding finish

From left are Arlington Head Coach Jonathan Simpson, Assistant Coach Andrew Sossaman, Luke Kerns, Reed Cannon, Austin Antcliffe and Assistant Coach Thomas Schlather. Photos by Jonathan Kerns.

Arlington wrestling just blew through several school records, including crowning two athletes as Tennessee State Champions in the TSSAA I-AAA Division.

Arlington senior Luke Kerns (at left) performs a take-down on an opponent.

The high school wrestling season concludes each year with the individual Regional and State tournaments. Arlington wrestling had an outstanding Region 8 Individual Championship Tournament performance, taking first place as a team. The tournament was held at Collierville High School on Feb. 9.

All four Arlington seniors were first place Regional champions with Reed Cannon (120 lbs.), Luke Kerns (132 lbs.), Dalton Cockman (160 lbs.) and Austin Antcliffe (182 lbs.). Cannon was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament. Antcliffe was named the Memphis Area Wrestler of the Year.

Altogether, 12 Tiger wrestlers placed in the top four in Region 8 and qualified for the TSSAA State Individual Championship Tournament. Freshman Dylan Cockman lost a close finals match that was named Outstanding Match of the Tournament to finish second in the 126-pound weight class. Other medal winners included a second place for Mason Hull (170 lbs.).

Jacob Roaten (113 lbs.), Isaac Jordan (195 lbs.) and Jon Worley (285 lbs.) had third-place finishes. Fourth place medals were brought home by Hayden Baudoin (138 lbs.), Jeremy Poe (152 lbs.) and Adam Milton (220 lbs.).

Also, Head Coach Jonathan Simpson was Outstanding Coach of the Tournament and Coach Andrew Sossaman was declared Assistant Coach of the Year for the Region.

The following week, on Feb. 14-16, the top wrestlers from the Memphis area joined the best wrestlers from across the state at the TSSAA State Individual Championship Tournament.

A total of nine wrestlers from Region 8 received a medal for top six finishes. Three of those were Arlington seniors Reed Cannon, Luke Kerns and Austin Antcliffe. In Arlington program history, only one wrestler had placed at the state tournament before they entered high school. They were a part of changing that history, with more Arlington wrestlers placing each year and placing higher on the podium.

Cannon, Kerns, and Antcliffe all defeated their first four opponents in the large 32-man brackets earning the right to compete in the finals. Cannon and Antcliffe both came up with big victories in the finale’ to be crowned State Champions, while Kerns lost a hard-fought match to become State Runner-up Champion in his weight class.

Cannon completes his high school career as a four-time Region Champion, a four-time State placer, an All-American, and a State Champion.

“I am excited that my senior year ended with me achieving my ultimate goal of State champion,” Cannon reflected. “I can walk away from my high school wrestling years knowing that I gave this sport my all and left it all out on the mat.”

This fall Cannon will attend UT-Knoxville in the Fall where he will study business and wrestle at the club level.

Austin Antcliffe also completes his high school career as an All-American and State Champion, overcoming the type-one diabetes he learned he has just last summer.

In fact, his only lost this season came in overtime when he had failed to keep his insulin and blood sugar levels correct.

“I wish we’d have started at 182 pounds so I could say I was the first State champion from Arlington, but Reed took that from me,” said Antcliffe reflecting on his first-place finish and jokingly sharing his only regret.

Antcliffe will wrestle for Cumberland University (NAIA) in Lebanon next year and study Sports Science.

The other Arlington senior placer, Luke Kerns, finished his high school career as a two-time Region Runner-up and two-time Region Champion, coming up short at states three times before walking away as Runner-up Champion this year.

“It has been a great season and career with this team,” Kerns stated. “I am thankful for all the friendships and bonds formed through our hard work on the mat and in the weight room. It was great to see the work pay off, especially for us seniors.”

Kerns will study environmental engineering in college this fall at Georgia Tech or Colorado School of Mines, perhaps wrestling in NCAA Division II for the latter.

Other Division I-AAA placers from the Memphis area included Steven Dindl of Bartlett (106, fith), Kolin Koss of Bartlett (113, fifth), Andrew Artiles of Collierville (120, second), Jake Manuel of Houston (138, sixth), Jared Dawson of Collierville (285, third) and Dionte Coleman of Bolton (285, sixth).