BY JAKE DONOVAN
Even with tournament season looming ahead, Thursday’s meet versus Dickson County was always going to be the most important night of the season for Franklin’s wrestling team.
In addition to serving as the regular season home finale, it also marked senior night at Franklin High School which meant the last ever home meet for the eight Rebels who will go on to graduate this may.
Franklin properly commemorated the occasion, earning a 57-9 win over the visiting Dickson County Cougars.
The two teams were competitive in the seven actual matches to take place, with the majority of the Rebels’ wins and team points coming via forfeit.
Franklin physically won five matches—scoring pins in all but one—while the Cougars claimed two wins, registering one pin and the other via points.
Seniors Christian Moolman and Matthew Gomez were among the four Rebels who were able to take to the mat for their victories.
Gomez scored an early takedown and a 2-0 lead over Nick Arms en route to a pin 0:58 into the first period of their 145-pound matchup.
Moolman needed a little bit longer to close the show in his 195-pound match, twice taking down Gabe Rodriguez and going up 4-2 before ending the night at 1:21 of the first period.
“There was a lot of emotion tonight, especially for me because it was last match for the whole team this season,” Moolman told the Home Page. “It was pretty big as we get ready for the tournaments in the next couple of weeks.”
Owen Gobel registered a win for Franklin in the 106-pound division, putting away Chris Garland in 1:52 of the first period. Cooper Grills was able to outlast Cole (John) Campbell in a 5-4 victory at 152 pounds.
Dickson County’s lone win on the boy’s side came in the 126-pound division and was of the come-from-behind variety. Ronal Bargas rallied from an early 4-2 deficit to score eight straight points en route to a 10-4 win, adding three points to the Cougars’ team total.
The bulk of Dickson’s points came on the girls’ side. Tay Tay Payne was responsible for six of the team’s 9 total points, coming in perhaps the most competitive match of the evening as she was able to outlast Franklin’s Bella Campbell.
A back-and-forth affair closed out with Payne surging ahead and eventually pinning Campbell at the 4:50 mark of their 132-pound match.
Annalise Dodson officially put Franklin on the board, with the 120-pound grappler needing just 0:51 to pin Sadey Hambrick.
The end result was similar to how Dodson began her season—and girls’ wrestling as a whole for Franklin’s storied program.
Dodson and Campbell made the history books as the first females ever to wrestle at Franklin High School, with the pair of sophomores taking it all in stride for the most part but feeling light years ahead of where they first began just two months ago.
“I’m just glad I finally know what I’m doing,” Dodson quipped. “Back in the ‘old days,’ I thought all I had to do was get my opponent on her back. Now I understand exactly what I need to do to get her on her back.
“I’m very happy how far we came but will definitely miss all the seniors who wrestled here for the last time.”
It was a sentiment shared all around, especially among those who actually won’t have the opportunity to come back here to officially compete.
“I’m celebrating tonight because I end with a win,” Moolman noted before envisioning the road ahead. “At the same time, it’s a little sad knowing this will be the last time I ever get to wrestle on this mat, in this gym. This is the best team I’ve ever been on.”
Franklin heads to the district duals, which will begin Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Centennial High School, as the Cougars defeated the Brentwood Bruins 52-25 to earn hosting honors.