Jefferson exercised its dominance outside state lines once again, winning its third-straight Pigeon Forge Invitational.
The Dragons went 9-0 to take home the title in the Tennessee tournament. That run included beating Franklin — a team ranked no. 4 in Pennsylvania — 36-31 in the final. The Dragons also downed Gilmer County, the defending dual and traditional state champions in Class AAA.
Jefferson (20-0) started the Lambert Hook ‘em Horns Invitational on Tuesday. The traditional-format event ends today.
The Pigeon Forge win was the Dragons’ third tournament victory this year, and coach Doug Thurmond said this might have been his team’s finest hour thus far.
“I think it was as far as a team effort,” he said. “They all did a really good job. I think everybody there was looking at the Pennsylvania team. We knew Gilmer was tough and the team from Pennsylvania was tough. I’m extremely proud of how our guys stepped up.”
Cain Finch, Forrest Prszybszy and Zach Allen all went 9-0 in the two-day tournament. Nearly all of the rest of the Dragons’ lineup went 8-1. Simply, put Jefferson didn’t drop many individual matches at Pigeon Forge.
“And the good thing was, it was sporadic,” Thurmond said of those individual losses. “It didn’t really come in one match. A lot of them did really well. We’re really proud of them.”
Jefferson started by going 4-0 in its pool — beating Heritage, Tenn. (66-12), Ringgold (75-6), Seymour, Tenn. (71-6) and Whitley, Ky. — to advance to the championship bracket.
There the Dragons beat Dutch Fork, S.C. (71-6), Carrollton (74-6), Gilmer County (35-27) and host Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (55-6) before edging out Franklin, Penn. by five points in the finals.
“That was a great match,” Thurmond said.
The Franklin team included the no. 1 rated wrestler in the country at 125-lb.
Thurmond said his team handled the pressure of this high-profile tournament well.
“They didn’t get psyched-out, which I was proud of,” Thurmond said.
Jefferson continues to prepare for the area duals Jan. 7-8, when the top four team will qualify for the Jan. 14-15 state duals. The Dragons are seeking their 10th-straight duals title.