KNOXVILLE — With his work ethic and competitiveness, Hardin Valley Academy’s Josh Pietarila has become a constant winner. Pietarila, who was a Large School Division state finalist last season, proved it Saturday, Dec. 1, in the Knoxville Catholic Invitational.
He claimed the 170-pound championship when he pinned Grace Christian Academy senior Nic Bass in 3 minutes, 20 seconds.
“Josh just continues to win for us no matter where we put him,” said Mark Giles, the Hawks’ second-year head coach. “Right now, he weighs about 165 and he’s wrestling at 170 — and he’s winning.
“We’d like to get him down to 152 after Christmas so he can have a really good chance to win a state championship.”
“When I lost in the (state finals), it made me 100 percent more hungry,” Pietarila said. “I’ve got to work hard and get my weight down. I’m looking to win the next two state championships.”
Matheson Meade, Bearden High School sophomore 152-pounder, won his bracket when he scored a pin over Morristown East’s Sebastian Barboza in 59 seconds.
“It feels really good to come here and win a championship,” he said. “I’m still getting my stride for the season and I’m still not where I want to be.”
Farragut High School posted four runner-up finishes: sophomore Elijah Wing (106);
senior Tyler McKeefery (126); Zach Garabrandt (132) and sophomore Mason Thurnauer (138).
“I didn’t think I was going to do so well,” Wing said. “I’m pretty pleased and I’m kind of shocked.”
Other area medalists were highlighted by Dawson Hardesty (HVA, 285, runner-up) and Nick Law (Bearden, 220, runner-up).
Others finishing in the top six were Gavin McCormick (Hardin Valley, 120, sixth place); Samuel Hensley (Bearden, 195, fifth); Seth Arana (Bearden, 170, fifth); Parker Gilstrap (Bearden, 285, sixth); and Dylan Burns (Bearden, 126, sixth).