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Irish grapplers Veum, Hopps named ‘Outstanding’ as KIL champs
Eight westsiders claim KIL crowns

Zach Veum’s level of concentration when wrestling as a Knoxville Catholic Irish senior isn’t beyond recognizing the screams of anticipated victory.

Following his critical escape point in the final 30 seconds of the 171-pound class KIL title match that gave Veum a 5-4 win versus Adam Hill of West, “I just heard everybody screaming, especially my mother [Ellen] and brother [Scott] up in the stands,” he said. “I made this one for them.” (First reported at

Veum, one of three wrestlers named “Most Outstanding” during the Saturday, Jan. 24 tournament at KCHS, was one of four KIL champs from team runner-up Catholic: Austin Hopps, champ at 125 who also earned “Most Out-standing” honors, joined Greg Shurina (285) and Michael Harmon (130).

Other westside champs were Neel Martin (112) and Matt Slutzker (135) from Webb, Bearden’s Kyle Walter (119) and Ethan Poe (160) from Christian Academy of Knoxville.

Within the 12-team field, Farragut, Karns, Halls and Gibbs were absent. Because all schools are limited by TSSAA to four regular season tournaments per year, supposedly those schools simply scheduled four other tournaments.

Poe, also a standout linebacker on the CAK football team, “is peaking at the right time, he’s getting a lot better,” Warriors head coach Chris Hawkins said, adding Poe had a slow start because the football season overlapped wrestling season.

Westside runners-up included Jackson Beggs (103) of Hardin Valley Academy, whose tough 15-14 loss to Ryan Madison of South-Doyle earned “Most Outstanding Match” honors. Other westsiders taking second were Christian Juneau (119) of KCHS, Hardin Valley’s Tim Vara (140), Kyle Mitchell (145) of Webb, BHS’s Sam Bevelheimer (152) and Scott Impellizeri (160) of Hardin Valley.

South-Doyle, led by “Most Outstanding” honoree Wayne Cox at 140, won the team title going away (166 points versus Catholic’s 124). CAK was third (113) followed by West (107), HVA (91), Bearden (84) and Webb (77).


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