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Knox is state champ
Knox 171 title culminates steady rise to excellence

CHATTANOOGA — Though his high school coach and older brother, Joe Knox, spoke of him as a multiple state champion in grade school, Justin Knox said he still had a long way to go as a young wrestler.

“When I was a little kid I always wrestled and stuff ... but I wasn’t real serious about it,” Justin said shortly after fulfilling his dream and winning the Division I, 171-pound class high school state championship in The McKenzie Arena Saturday, Feb. 19.

The win completed an unbeaten season (41-0) for the No. 1-ranked Farragut High School senior.

After winning championships regularly as a grade-school wrestler in Georgia and Tennessee according to Joe, “I think it was a kind of shock for him not to win all the time,” Joe said of Justin, adding that his younger brother went from 220 pounds as an eighth-grader to 145 as an FHS freshman.

“After his freshman year he just started training his butt off,” Joe added “I think Justin did a great job, he’s a hard worker. “

Justin said, “When I didn’t qualify for state my freshman year I sat in the bleachers and watched the (state) tournament, that’s when I decided I wanted to win a state championship. I decided I didn’t want to lose anymore, so I worked out all summer (at a camp in Atlanta) for six weeks, trained every day, and came back that next year and finished fourth in the state (at 160 in 2003) as a sophomore.”

Justin inched closer to his goal last season before losing to Bryant Blackmon of Bradley Central 1-0 in a painfully close 171 title match.

But in his last go-around, “It’s a big win for me, I fell short of it last year and didn’t want to let it happen again this year,” Justin said of his 12-6 championship match victory against Thomas Minwell of Clarksville, giving him a final career mark of 151-26. “I came here and got it done … I went out there with a good mindset I wasn’t going to loose.”

Justin joined teammate and friend, Nick Reveiz at 215, as state champions from FHS. (See Reveiz story on this page).

They were among six other Admiral grapplers who qualified for state. Paul Mountain’s sixth-place finish at 125 joined Bearden’s Aaron O’Hern (fifth at 152) and five Webb and Knoxville Catholic state placers. More on Mountain, O’Hern and the other wrestlers later in this story.


Having never faced the “real tall and lanky” Minwell, “I didn’t know what to expect from him,” Justin said. “I wasn’t going to back off, I wasn’t going to be hesitant. When I get in on my shots I’m going to come straight up and finish … real explosive.”

Justin said he’s improved his technique and “mat awareness” since losing in the 171 state finals last year. “My coaches (including FHS co-head coach Kerry Ferguson) have worked with me in several situations to where if I get in any kind of trouble I can get out,” she said.


Mountain, a senior, pulled an upset in the opening round against Johnnie Ramoa of Cleveland, wining 4-2 in overtime. “Some of the people from Region Three were going, ‘man, who is this guy, who’s Mountain,’” coach Knox said.

Bearden’s O’Hern, a senior, won his first three matches, making it to the semifinals and finishing with a 4-2 record at state.

Shane Reveiz (189) didn’t place, but won two matches while making it to the quarterfinals, “which was incredible,” coach Knox said. Seniors Chad Blankenship (152) and Chuck Layton (140) also participated.

Freshmen Daniel Turner (112) and A. J. Farinella (119) also made it to state. “Those are two tough kids,” the coach said.

As a team, FHS finished sixth in the state with 80.5 points.

Webb had three state placers in Division II: Dean Smith (third at 152), Chad Manning (third at 145) and Thomas Sherbakoff (fourth at 112). KCHS placers were Matt Ericson (fifth at 189) and Eamon Hosey (sixth at 135).


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