Arlington wrestling just blew through several school records, including crowning two young men as Tennessee State Champions in the TSSAA I-AAA division.
The high school wrestling season concludes each year with the individual regional and state tournaments. Arlington wrestling had an outstanding Region 8 Individual Championship Tournament performance, taking 1st place as a team. The tournament was held at Collierville High School on February 9. All four healthy Arlington seniors were first place regional champions: Reed Cannon (120 lbs.), Luke Kerns (132 lbs.), Dalton Cockman (160 lbs.), and Austin Antcliffe (182 lbs.). Reed Cannon was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament. Austin Antcliffe was named the Memphis area Wrestler of the Year.
Altogether, twelve Tiger wrestlers placed in the top four in Region 8 and qualified for the TSSAA State Individual Championship Tournament. Freshman Dylan Cockman lost a close finals match that was named Outstanding Match of the Tournament to finish second in the 126-pound weight class. Other medal winners included a second place for Mason Hull (170 lbs.); third place finishes for Jacob Roaten (113 lbs.), Isaac Jordan (195 lbs.), and Jon Worley (285 lbs.); and fourth place for Hayden Baudoin (138 lbs.), Jeremy Poe (152 lbs.), and Adam Milton (220 lbs.). Also, Head Coach Jonathan Simpson was Outstanding Coach of the Tournament and Coach Andrew Sossaman was declared Assistant Coach of the Year for the region.
The following week, on February 14-16, the top wrestlers from the Memphis area joined the best wrestlers from across the state at the Tennessee TSSAA State Individual Championship Tournament. A total of nine wrestlers from Region 8 received a medal for top 6 finishes. Three of those were Arlington seniors Reed Cannon, Luke Kerns, and Austin Antcliffe. In Arlington program history, only one wrestler had placed at the state tournament before they entered high school. They were a part of changing that history, with more Arlington wrestlers placing each year and placing higher on the podium. Cannon, Kerns, and Antcliffe all defeated their first four opponents in the large 32-man brackets earning the right to compete in the finals. Cannon and Antcliffe both came up with big victories in the finale’ to be crowned State Champions, while Kerns lost a hard-fought match to become State Runner-up Champion in his weight class.
Reed Cannon completes his high school career as a four-time Region Champion, a four-time State placer, an All-American, and a State Champion. Reflecting on it all, Cannon says, “I am excited that my Senior year ended with me achieving my ultimate goal of State Champion. I can walk away from my high school wrestling years knowing that I gave this sport my all and left it all out on the mat.” This fall Cannon will attend UT Knoxville in the Fall where he will study business and wrestle at the club level.
Austin Antcliffe also completes his high school career as an All-American and State Champion, overcoming the type-one diabetes he learned he has just last summer. In fact, his only lost this season came in overtime when he had failed to keep his insulin and blood sugar levels correct. Antcliffe reflected on his first-place finish and jokingly shared his only regret: “I wish we'd have started at 182 pounds so I could say I was the first State Champion from Arlington, but Reed took that from me.” Antcliffe will wrestle for Cumberland University (NAIA) in Lebanon, Tennessee next year and study Sports Science.
The other Arlington senior placer, Luke Kerns, finished his high school career as a two-time Region Runner-up and two-time Region Champion, coming up short at states three times before walking away as Runner-up Champion this year. With fondness, Kerns stated, “It has been a great season and career with this team. I am thankful for all the friendships and bonds formed through our hard work on the mat and in the weight room. It was great to see the work pay off, especially for us seniors.” Kerns will study environmental engineering in college this fall at Georgia Tech or Colorado School of Mines, perhaps wrestling in NCAA Division 2 for the latter.