Carroll County will send six wrestlers to the 4-A West Regional Wrestling Tournament this weekend, including three Conference 24 champions.
Carroll County’s Brennan Vaught, Jarrett Thomas and Caxton Vaught all went undefeated this past weekend at the conference championships at William Byrd to capture Conference 24 titles. Cavalier freshman Elijah Caviness finished as runner-up in the 145-pound weight class, while Brock Burnette and Eli Busick also punched their tickets to regionals with third-place finishes. Carroll freshman Trenton Burnette was one place away from qualifying for regions as he took fourth in the 106-pound division.
“We had a lot of people wrestle really well. We only lost one match I felt like we should have won,” Carroll County wrestling coach Matt Tompkins said. “Realistically, everybody did what they were supposed to do except for Brock Burnette. He wrestled really well and beat two kids who had previously beaten him. He ended wrestling to third so he could get to go to regions. I was really proud of him. We’ve been rough on him the last month in practice because we know the potential is there. He had the best Saturday wrestling he has had all year.”
A senior, Jarrett Thomas went 2-0 in the 113-pound weight class to win a Conference 24 title. Junior Brennan Vaught did the same thing to win a conference crown at the 120-pound weight class, as did his brother, freshman Caxton Vaught, Conference 24 champion at 132 pounds.
“Jarrett wrestled very well. You can tell he’s definitely staying hungry. He knows this is his last shot at it and he knows if he ends up not in the top four in region he is not making state. That is his goal, to make state,” Tompkins said. “Brennan knows he was one match away from state last year and that has been his goal all year. Caxton is a freshman at 132, which is a very hard weight class. But Caxton has a lot of talent and athletic ability. The potential is there, so he is hoping he can put it all together and get to a state tournament as well.”
Freshman Elijah Caviness and junior Eli Busick will join Carroll’s three conference champions and Caviness in the regional tournament. And though Trenton Burnette just missed making it a perfect seven-for-seven for Carroll, the 106-pound freshman also had a good weekend to finish fourth. Tompkins feels like the Cavaliers are peaking at the right time now that the postseason is here. Still, there is much work to be done as the competition continues to get tougher.
“When you are able to go and take six out of seven kids to region, it’s hard to be unsatisfied. We can’t be satisfied because our region is very tough and they only take top four to state,” Tompkins said. “We will demand a lot from our kids this week and we just hope they stay hungry for next weekend.”
The 4-A West Wrestling Tournament is set for Feb. 12-13 at John Champe High School in Loudon County.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on [email protected]