Unbeaten Murphey looking to repeat at state after region

Farragut’s Thibeault, Catholic’s Anderson runner-ups; 4 to state

  • Elaina Thibeault, FHS senior (blue headgear), has the upper hand on Katie Harr of Gibbs in the 165-pound class Region I championship match at Alcoa High School Friday night, Feb. 18. Despite Thibeault’s 3-0 lead in the third period, Harr managed to get a late pin to capture the region title. - Wrestling photos courtesy of Jake Mealey

  • Sophomore Ella Murphey of HVA (blue) dominates Trinity Lynn of Gibbs in the 185-pound class Region 1 championship match at Alcoa High School Friday night, Feb. 18. Murphey’s pin at 2:21 improved her record to 21-0. - Wrestling photos courtesy of Jake Mealey

  • Anderson - Wrestling photos courtesy of Jake Mealey

ALCOA — No one should be surprised about Ella Murphey’s dominance in the 185-pound weight class as a sophomore wrestler at Hardin Valley Academy.

State champion as a freshman, Murphey improved her unblemished 2021-22 record to 21-0 heading into this weekend’s TSSAA state tournament in Williamson County with a second-period pin of Trinity Lynn of Gibbs — her first loss of the season (11-1) — in the 185 Region 1 championship match at Alcoa High School Friday night, Feb. 18.

“She’s gotten a pin or tech fall on every opponent,” HVA coach Stephen Wilkinson said of Murphey, whose performance highlighted local wrestling results in the region.

Joining Murphey at state will be Farragut senior Elaina Thibeault (14-6), who was in command of her championship match at 165 versus Katie Harr of Gibbs (16-5) before giving up a pin just 28 seconds away from a region crown.

Also heading to state are a pair from Knoxville Catholic: Alyssa Anderson captured second at 220 (12-5), while junior Lilly Hosford finished fourth at 138 (27-7).

Murphey on a roll

To keep sharp between matches, Murphey takes on the HVA boys. “She goes toe-to-toe with our boys every day ... our 190-pounder and our 220,” Wilkinson said. “Her strength is unbelievable, what she can do.”

About improving from her freshman season, “100 percent,” Murphey said. “I’ve been conditioning; I’ve been working hard in the wrestling room. I’ve been trying to get as much done as I can and learn as much as I can from everybody I meet,” she added.

Thibeault a good sport

Displaying good sportsmanship, Thibeault went out of her way to congratulate Harr — keeping a smile on her face despite the obvious disappointment. “She knows all the girls in the region, they’re all friends,” FHS head coach David Garabrandt said.

About Thibeault’s performance in the title match, ‘We did everything right” before “one small mistake” turned the match, the coach added.

FHS sophomore Makena Porter (126) and freshman Ruby Manning (100) were sixth.