Pietarila, Meade, Garabrandt, Lanman lead the way; 7 Dawgs in finals
MARYVILLE — Four Farragut and West Knox County Region 3-AAA wrestling champions were crowned, while seven others earned runner-up finishes among 17 locals who qualified for this week’s TSSAA Class AAA state tournament in Williamson County.
Farragut’s Zachariah Garabrandt stood tallest in the 138-pound class during the 3-AAA tournament at Maryville High School beginning Friday evening, Feb. 14, and ending Saturday evening, Feb. 15.
This Admiral junior joined three fellow champs: Bearden Bulldog junior Matheson Meade at 152, third-place state finisher last season, and BHS sophomore Blake Lanman at 113 — plus Hardin Valley Academy senior Josh Pietarila at 170, a two-time state runner-up.
Garabrandt improved his season record to 38-11 after claiming a 14-5 majority decision against Thomas O’Connor of Heritage in his championship match.
“He’s finally checked something off that he’s been shooting for, for three years now,” FHS head coach Bobby Hampshire said about Garabrandt finally winning region. “This year he wasn’t letting anyone stop him. His drive, his determination, his leadership on and off the mat is unparallel” among the Admirals wrestlers.
With a career record of 115-39, “the biggest way I’ve improved is mental,” Garabrandt said. “I had the skill last year and I had the skill my freshman year, but I always got nervous going into the matches.
“So this year it was just all about believing
I could go out there and compete,” he added. “I was pretty much in control the whole
State runner-up at 170 last season and
at 160 in 2018, Pietarila stayed perfect this season, 22-0, after beating Bearden sophomore Aiden Duarte (24-12) on technical fall 19-4 to claim region top honors.
In eight years of coaching wrestling, and in his third season as HVA head coach, Marc Giles said Pietarila’s “drive and his desire are second to none of any wrestler I’ve ever coached.
“I can’t say enough about Josh. He’s on a different level down here than most other wrestlers,” Giles added. “He’s set the bar really high.”
“The mindset is going after that goal,” Pietarila said about clearing the final hurdle to be a state champ. “I’m just pushing the pace hard in practice, making sure I’m better than everybody. I’m going out there to dominate anybody who comes out on the mat against me.”
Pietarila said his career record at 125-14.
Ranked No. 1 in the state earlier in the season while improving his record to 34-1, Meade heads back to Williamson County a year after finishing third in state at 145. The junior needed just 28 seconds to pin Daniel Arp of William Blount in his title match.
“It’s been a lot about mindset this year. I’ve been training a lot harder,” he said. “The mindset changed after I broke the barrier and placed at state last year.”
So this year, “I go out there against everybody (thinking) ‘I’m better than you, I know it and I’m going to prove it,’” added Meade, who said his career record is 94-16.
“We’ve tried to get him some tough competition this year, but it been hard sometimes,” BHS head coach Donnie Floyd said about Meade, adding his only loss was “a slip-up, a 5-4 loss at Bradley (Central Invitational) in the semis. “Since then he’s rolled.”
Lanman, a transfer from a school in Washington state, pushed his season record to 29-6 after defeating Kainen Kyle of Maryville in the 113 title match 15-7 (majority decision).
“Back in September I get a text that a kid is coming over to say hi to me, interested in wrestling, he just moved in,” Floyd said about Lanman. “Real quiet kid, he bought in and has done a great job.”
Starting the season at 120 before dropping some weight, “Since he’s been at 113 he’s been rolling through people,” the Bulldogs coach said. “This was the third time he’s beaten that Maryville kid.”
“I’ve just been putting a lot of work in; and I’m thankful to my teammates and coaches for helping me get to where I am now,” Lanman said.
The Admirals and Hawks each had one runner-up. Sophomore Corey Walker of Farragut (23-23 record) took second in the heavyweight title match despite getting off to a good start against Joseph Vanada of Heritage before being pinned at 3:51 — in what Hampshire said was a controversial decision.
HVA senior Laith Burbar of Hardin Valley finished second at 160 (26-6 record).
Four other Bulldogs were region runners-up: senior Samuel Hensley at 182 (25-7 record), junior Dylan Burns at 132 (35-8), sophomore Seth Arana at 195 (26-14) and freshman Logan Petersen at 126 (16-8).
Farragut’s other state qualifier was Elijah Wing, a junior, claiming third at 106 after defeating Cole Lester of Stone Memorial (fall at 2:08).
Five other Hawks also qualified: finishing fourth were senior Riley McNeal (152, 16-8 record), junior Maxwell Anderson (138), sophomore Bradley McNeal (126, 11-6 record) and freshmen Tayvon Morelan (182) and Conner Clarke (220).