WCS IN FOCUS
Congrats are in order to four WCS wrestlers who grappled, clamped and pinned their way to TSSAA individual wrestling state titles February 18 at the Williamson County Expo Center in Franklin.
Page High School senior Houston Tywater made history when he became the first wrestling state champion in PHS history by defeating Alcoa’s Noah Evans to capture the Class A-AA 182-pound title.
“I am grateful for all the individuals who have encouraged, trained and supported me since I started wrestling in seventh grade,” Tywater said. “I feel like I have spent countless hours becoming the best wrestler I can possibly be, and that work has paid off.”
Independence saw two wrestlers top the podium Saturday as senior Isaiah Demello won the Class AAA 220-pound title and junior Zanaya Shropshire took home the 185-pound girls division title.
For Shropshire, the title was the culmination of a three-year growth process where she’s done nothing but continue to improve.
The junior didn’t win a match her freshman season, finished short of the tournament last year behind a 9-9 record then went 25-4 this year on her way to a state championship.
“Wrestling is not about who’s stronger or more experienced,” Shropshire said. “I have learned it is about overcoming obstacles. Wrestling has taught me how to be mentally tough and to never give up. I am blessed to have another year to compete in a sport that I love.”
She is the first girl wrestler from IHS to win a state title since the TSSAA made it an official sport in 2014.
It was no small victory for Demello either, who capped off his final season with a state title after finishing fourth a year ago.
“Wrestling has taught me to never quit and that your dreams can become a reality,” Demello said. “The journey on the wrestling mat over the past four years has not always been easy, but it was definitely worth it.”
Franklin senior Jack Shrader also finished fourth last season, but he ended his senior season on the perfect note, winning the Class AAA 126-pound title over Independence junior Daniel Fowler.
“Finally winning a state title after making it to the state tournament all four years of high school was incredible; it still doesn’t feel quite real,” Shrader said. “I have always dreamed of being a state champ and to finally stand on top of the TSSAA podium holding that bracket really meant a lot to not only me, but my family and the countless coaches who have believed in me over the last 14 years.”