When Bobby Hampshire took over as head coach of the Farragut High School wrestling team three years ago, he vowed to rebuild the program — starting nearly from scratch.
But the Admirals, who have had success on the mats since Hampshire arrived, are off to a fast start this season.
They had a night of mixed results in Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium Thursday, Nov. 30.
Farragut (5-1 in dual meets in 2017-18) opened the night with a 42-21 victory over Powell. The Ads then beat a combined team from Carter and Cumberland County 41-30, before losing the evening’s finale to Webb School of Knoxville 36-33.
Against the Panthers, Tyler McKeefery picked up Farragut’s first win as he pinned Powell’s Tanner Messer in just 40 seconds in the 120-pound division.
FHS also picked up wins by Cabrin Viox (126 pounds), Devin Martin (138), Ethan Stinnett (145), Chase Walker (152), Alan Guillen (170) and Ian Farr (182).
Walker pinned Powell’s Garrett Sepesi in 2 minutes, 31 seconds — but that bout proved to be full of drama as Walker was down 8-2 before winning by fall.
“He tried to pull me over in a cradle and then I got my arm loose and I was able to get a pin,” Walker said.
In its second match, Farragut got victories from McKeefery (113 pounds), Zach Garabrandt (126), Martin (138), Stinnett (145), Walker (152), Guillen (170) and Farr (182)
The Spartans narrowly edged the Ads to close out the night’s action.
The two teams wrestled just four bouts in the dual.
In the 106-pound weight class, Webb’s Matthew Tieng won by forfeit. At 113, McKeefery, a two-time state tournament qualifier who reached the quarterfinals last season, won by forfeit.
Viox (120), Garabrandt (126) and Walker (152) also picked up forfeit wins for Admirals.
In the 138-pound division, Martin won a 10-4 decision over Zach Tieng of the Spartans. At 145, Webb’s Lucas Farr pinned Stinnett in 1:35. At 160, the Spartans’ Jack Gulley won by forfeit.
In the 170-pound weight class, Webb’s Charlie Martin won by fall versus Guillen. At 182, Ian Farr pinned Nabil Arabi in 1:21. The Spartans closed the match with forfeit wins from Stone Cummins (220) and Jackson Bradley (285).
“We’ve started things off pretty well,” Hampshire said. “It’s early and this is a tune-up time. We have some new guys and we have three new coaches and everybody’s getting used to the new coaches.
“We’re trying some new kinds of wrestling.”
McKeefery, one of the area’s top lightweight wrestlers who plans to return to the 106-pound division later in this season, said he likes the direction of the Farragut program.
“I’m glad we have some new coaches and some new guys out,” said McKeefery, who has earned a state tournament berth at 106 each of his first two seasons. “I’m happy that we have a solid team.”