Polk County’s Tori Strickland, center, won the 106-pound class at Thursday’s Western Highlands Conference wrestling tournament

Strickland, Burnett, Thompson capture WHC wrestling titles

Polk County’s wrestling team ended eight years of Western Highlands Conference frustration with a bit of history.

Wolverine sophomore Tori Strickland became the first Polk female wrestler to win a conference title and the first of any gender to win a WHC crown in eight years when she won the 106-pound class at Thursday’s conference tournament at Mitchell.

Strickland wasn’t alone – seniors Preston Burnett at 126 pounds and Trey Thompson at 195 pounds also soon followed Strickland’s path to the top of the awards podium. No Wolverine since Juan Vera in 2012 had won a conference title, and it marked the first time since 2011 that multiple Polk wrestlers brought home WHC championships.

The three wins capped a successful night for the Wolverines, who placed third in the team standings and had five wrestlers reach the championship round. Regular-season champion Avery took top honors in the team competition, with Madison placing second.

The 106-pound class featured four female qualifiers, undoubtedly the first time in conference history that has happened.

Strickland began the evening by pinning Mountain Heritage’s Summer Geraci. She then trailed Mitchell’s Halley Wheeler 4-2 entering the third period of the championship match, but scored four points in the final minute, including the clinching two points with 19 seconds left, for a 6-4 decision.

Polk County’s Preston Burnett, center, won the 126-pound class at Thursday’s Western Highlands Conference wrestling tournament
Polk County’s Trey Thompson, center, won the 195-pound class at Thursday’s Western Highlands Conference wrestling tournament

Burnett earned a spot in the 126-pound final with a pin of Mountain Heritage’s Devin Burgin, then earned a forfeit win over Mitchell’s Elijah Smith in the championship match.

Thompson moved into the championship match at 195 pounds with a pin of Mountain Heritage’s Alan Penland, who entered with a 31-9 record but also lost to Thompson on Tuesday. Thompson then dominated the championship match with Owen’s Everett Vale, scoring a 16-5 major decision.

Two other Wolverines – Collier Foster at 113 pounds and Gage McSwain at 182 pounds – reached the championship round and placed second in their respective classes. Satchel McCoy at 120 pounds and Jacob Knighton at 152 pounds each won two consolation round matches to place third in their classes.

Polk County will now turn its attention to the 1A West Regional, slated for Feb. 14-15 at Mount Airy High School.

WESTERN HIGHLANDS CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
106

Semifinal – Tori Strickland (Polk) won by fall over Summer Geraci (Mountain Heritage) (Fall 0:20)
1st Place Match – Tori Strickland (Polk) won by decision over Halley Wheeler (Mitchell), 6-4

113
Semifinal – Collier Foster (Polk) won by decision over Zeke Grabowski (Owen), 8-7
1st Place Match – Zachary Morrow (Madison) won by fall over Collier Foster (Polk) (Fall 1:40)

120
Quarterfinal – Satchel McCoy (Polk) won by fall over Jude Reitzel (Owen) (Fall 5:31)
Semifinal – Ethan Shell (Avery) won by fall over Satchel McCoy (Polk) (Fall 0:54)
Cons. Semi – Satchel McCoy (Polk) won by fall over Devin Coleman (Mountain Heritage) (Fall 1:48)
3rd Place Match – Satchel McCoy (Polk) won by major decision over Kyle Jamerson (Madison), 11-2

126
Semifinal – Preston Burnett (Polk) won by fall over Devin Burgin (Mountain Heritage) (Fall 2:24)
1st Place Match – Preston Burnett (Polk) won by forfeit over Elijah Smith (Mitchell)

132
Semifinal – River Griffith (Avery) won by fall over Deacon Nodine (Polk) (Fall 0:22)
Cons. Semi – Trenton Wheeler (Mitchell) won by fall over Deacon Nodine (Polk) (Fall 1:46)

138
Quarterfinal – Jesse Lopez (Mountain Heritage) won by fall over Aidan Riva (Polk) (Fall 0:35)
Cons. Semi – Seth Elsaesser (Mitchell) won by fall over Aidan Riva (Polk) (Fall 0:33)

145
Quarterfinal – Daniel Woods (Owen) won by fall over Bryson Mccraw (Polk) (Fall 4:00)
Cons. Semi – Bryson Mccraw (Polk) won by decision over Adrian Morales (Mitchell), 6-2
3rd Place Match – Isaac Gosnell (Madison) won by fall over Bryson Mccraw (Polk) (Fall 0:56)

152
Quarterfinal – Daniel Loredo (Madison) won by major decision over Jacob Knighton (Polk), 8-0
Cons. Semi – Jacob Knighton (Polk) won by fall over Cameron Greene (Mitchell) (Fall 3:35)
3rd Place Match – Jacob Knighton (Polk) won by decision over Aidan Nalley (Owen), 8-3

170
Quarterfinal – Nathaniel Hughes (Mountain Heritage) won by fall over Bryce Thompson (Polk) (Fall 1:33)
Cons. Semi – Owen Vale (Owen) won by fall over Bryce Thompson (Polk) (Fall 2:11)

182
Semifinal – Gage Mcswain (Polk) won by decision over Jerri Galdamez (Owen), 11-5
1st Place Match – Lucas Andrews (Aver ) won by fall over Gage Mcswain (Polk) (Fall 1:03)

195
Semifinal – Trey Thompson (Polk) won by fall over Alan Penland (Mountain Heritage) (Fall 1:06)
1st Place Match – Trey Thompson (Polk) won by major decision over Everett Vale (Owen), 16-5