Early in the season, Munford High School wrestling coach David Cline felt like his team was going to send eight to 10 wrestlers to the state meet.
Some guys got hurt and others left the team during the season, though, and Munford ended up sending six to the Class AAA meet last weekend in Franklin.
Those six made the most of their opportunity, however, as the Cougars finished a program-best 25th out of 80 teams and had a wrestler medal for the first time in 15 years.
Senior Keegan Schulz advanced to state for the fourth straight year and placed third, his best finish by far.
Wrestling in the 106-pound class, Schulz beat O’Neal Sebastian of Page, Blake Palmer of Beech and Chase Stokes of Oakland before finally dropping a fourth round match to Wilson Central’s Ethan Wilson. He then beat Grant Myers of Blackman and Nicholas Mercante of Volunteer in the consolation bracket to finish in third place.
Shulz, who plans on wrestling in college next year, didn’t start wrestling until he was in the ninth grade, which is much later than most high-level guys begin.
Cline called Schulz “freakishly strong for his size.”
“The accomplishment of going to state is, in and of itself, massive. To place is unbelievably massive,” Cline said. “For Keegan to start as a freshman and get that deep and beat some of those kids is a big deal.”
Schulz was one of just three wrestlers from West Tennessee to finish as high as third.
Two other Munford wrestlers nearly joined their teammate on the medal stand.
Justin Cavanaugh, a freshman wrestling at 113, went 3-2 in Franklin. Wemauwaumu Moktani, a sophomore wrestling at 126 who was the region champ, also went 3-2. Both were two wins away from medaling.
Chase Millican (junior, 120) went 1-2 and Christian Perez (sophomore, 132) and Ahadi Ramadhani (senior, 138) each finished 0-2.
Everyone from this season’s squad except seniors Schulz and Ramadhani will be back next year as Cline tries to continue building the program.
He made sure to thank assistant coaches Matt Bunce and Jason Adams for their help in moving Munford forward.
“I really like to give them credit because they put forth just as much effort, if not more, than I do,” said Cline, who just finished his fourth season as Munford’s head coach. “I had plenty of help from parents and my assistants.”