BY TATE RUSSELL
SUN SPORTS WRITER
BRISTOL - Three Greeneville High wrestlers advanced to the final match of their respective weight classes and a total of six Greene County competitors qualified for the state individual championships during the Region 1 tournament held at Tennessee High Saturday night.
GHS seniors Atlas Fagundes (106 lbs.) and Marshall Brown (170), and freshman Josh Vance (126) all brought home runner-up finishes.
Zach Reaves (195) of Greeneville, Joseph Colby (126) of West Greene and Dustin Jaynes of Chuckey-Doak finished in the top four of their weight classes to qualify for the state tournament.
The state tournament is scheduled to run February 14-16 at the Williamson County Expo Center in Franklin.
Greeneville head coach Randy Shelton said of his contingent, "I'm proud of those guys. That's two seniors and freshman that were able to make the region finals, and that's a big deal. This is a big tournament, it's a two day tournament and it's tough."
Brown held a lead for much of his championship match against Josh Spangler of Tennessee High and looked as if he had broken a 6-6 tie with less than a minute remaining in the third round. He wrapped his arms around Spangler, holding control and appearing to be one burst away from the pin.
The official declared a stalemate and restarted them in a neutral position at the mat's center. The two went back and forth for the last minute but Spangler eventually gained the advantage and two points as the final buzzer sounded.
"You can't leave a match in the referee's hands because you never know what his decision is going to be," Shelton said. "The best thing there would be to get the take down. I thought he had the take down but we can't leave that match with the referee."
Vance had a strong performance in his first region tournament, earning two pins in his first two matches and then a 15-point tech fall win the semifinals. In the finals, he ran into Andrew Armstrong - a senior from Sullivan South who is 35-2 on the season and was named the most outstanding wrestler of the region tournament. Armstrong was too much for Vance to handle and the freshman fell by decision, 11-2.
"Josh wrestled a really good senior extremely well," Shelton said. "Hopefully this means Josh is on the right track to do some good things for Greeneville wrestling in the future."
Fagundes marched his way through the bracket to earn a spot in the region championship match and earned his 13th trip to a state championship as a Greene Devil, including wrestling, soccer and cross country.
Colby's road to the state tournament was a difficult one, as he took a loss in the opening round. He had to advance through the consolation bracket with no room for error, and that is exactly what he did. Colby defeated Seymour's Ethan Joyce by major decision, 16-7, in his final match to take home third place.
Jaynes, a senior for the Black Knights, also finished in third place. He eliminated Greenville's Justin Carlson in the consolation semifinals.
Reaves advanced to the semifinals before falling to Bryson Begley of Dobyns-Bennett. He then defeated Evan Barnes of Sevier County before taking a loss in the consolation finals to finish fourth.
The most notable absence from the Greene Devils' state tournament-bound line up was junior Jon Boatman. Boatman, a state runner-up in last year's tournament, failed to make weight and was eliminated before the tournament began.
Jared Bond, another one of Greeneville's more talented wrestlers, took a loss by injury decision in the quarter finals and was not able to recover and work his way into the top four.