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Bright wrestling future for Irish

In his 23rd season coaching at Knoxville Catholic High School, Irish wrestling head coach Don Beardsley knows plenty well how a young team can blossom.

Looking back on Catholic’s dual meet season, which produced a second-place District 4-AAA finish despite fielding just 10 of 14 weight classes, “Considering I’ve only got one senior … and three juniors, I’m pretty happy,” Beardsley said.

“For us only fielding 10 out of 14 weight classes, and to beat Bearden and Farragut and make it to [region], I’m proud of them.”

But Irish luck was especially low Tuesday night, Jan. 24, in Catholic’s Region 2-AAA semifinal match versus Hardin Valley Academy at West.

Beardsley’s boys fielded just seven wrestlers: two out injued and one out sick.

A 69-12 KCHS loss wasn’t unexpected. Catholic’s two wins came from sophomore Nathan Teter at 145, pinning Hawk Joshua Uphoff in the first period, and John Cortese at 189, doing the same to HVA’s Majdy Dweik.

Cortese, a junior with a 20-8 record, said he’s “on pace to possibly challenge for the regional [individual] championship.”

Just one match from state qualification last season, Cortese added he’s improved because “I’ve really put together my finishes better. And my shooting’s definitely improved a lot.”

Though Teter, a sophomore, admitted this season “started out rough,” because “I didn’t get much practice time this summer,” things are looking better.

“I’ve slowly progressed, and in the last two matches I’ve done better,” added Teter, who normally wrestles 140. “My stamina’s gotten better.”

Beardsley said his most successful wrestlers this season are Cortese, John Shurina at 215 (out Tuesday) and 135 sophomore Aaron Wirthwein (out Tuesday), sporting a 23-8 record.


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