Tag Archives: Nick Boykin

Riverdale’s Boykin sweeps pair of wrestling titles at Fargo

Nick Boykin arrived in Fargo, N.D., as a Tennessee high school wrestling state champion.

He’ll leave as a potential Olympian.

The 285-pound Riverdale rising junior, who became the first Volunteer State athlete to win a Cadet Greco-Roman national championship Monday with a 16-6 technical-fall victory over California’s Gavin Nye, added a freestyle crown Friday with a 10-0 tech-fall decision over Zach Muller of Illinois.

He is the only Tennessee wrestler to win both Greco-Roman and freestyle championships at Fargo.

“We’ve had some great wrestlers,” said Jeramie Welder, one of three Team Tennessee coaches at the tournament. “Tennessee has some of the best wrestlers in the country. We’re just having a hard time building the Olympic styles. That’s the big thing. Everything (in Tennessee) is focused on folkstyle at a young age. We’re playing catch-up with a lot of these states.

“Nick’s style, the way he wrestles, his positioning is great. He’s a really good Greco wrestler, even though he’s new at it. He made a name for himself and represented Tennessee incredibly well.”

In a performance very similar to his run through the Greco-Roman bracket, Boykin won all of his matches by either technical fall or pin in freestyle competition with the exception of a 10-4 decision.

“I didn’t expect to just go out and demolish everybody,” said Boykin, who was making his first appearance at Fargo. “I knew it would be good competition. I wanted to do my best. It was really fun.”

Boykin’s tournament performance caught the attention of collegiate and national coaches – including Matt Lindland, who has worked with a number of wrestlers at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs.

“Matt called me after (Friday’s championship match) and told me he’s got to work with him,” Welder said. “He was ready to get him out to Colorado tomorrow. He said he can be an Olympic champion if he wants to be. I agree with him. He’s that good, that talented.

“What he did is a really big thing for Tennessee. A lot of people may not realize it, but it is amazing what he’s done. He had one match that went the whole distance and he was still in complete control of it. I wouldn’t have expected him to walk over these guys like he did. He’s really god a lot of people talking. The buzz is out there.”

The 16-year-old is still trying to figure how to balance his new wrestling future with his high school athletic career – he’s a two-way lineman for Riverdale, which begins full-pad practice Monday.

“I’m going to play football, but my main priority is wrestling, after this tournament,” he said.

Along with Boykin, Father Ryan’s Eli King earned Cadet freestyle all-American status with his fifth-place finish at 138 pounds Friday. Ryan’s Trey Chalifoux will be a Junior freestyle all-American as well and will wrestle for seventh place in Saturday’s medal round.

Riverdale’s Boykin wins national wrestling title at Fargo

With a 16-6 technical-fall victory, Riverdale rising junior 285-pounder Nick Boykin became Tennessee’s first Cadet National Greco-Roman champion Monday, defeating Gavin Nye of California to cap his tournament run in Fargo, N.D.

“I just wanted to have fun while I was wrestling,” Boykin said. “I was just going after it.”

The younger brother of former Riverdale state champion Scottie Boykin, who qualified for the NCAA national tournament this past year as a sophomore at Tennessee-Chattanooga, Nick won Fargo in his first tourney appearance.

“It can be an intimidating tournament because it’s so well known,” said Jeramie Welder, one of three Team Tennessee coaches. “You’re never sure how guys are going to react. But Nick does a great job of keeping his composure and he wrestles everyone the same way. He has that internal confidence that he believes he can do it, and it shows.

“It was fun just getting to watch him compete and do what he does. He did a great job throughout the tournament. He wrestled five matches and he just dominated everybody, either pinned or teched everybody.”

Nick, who competed in the Cadet Duals last summer and went 13-1, said working out with Scottie this summer at UT-C helped.

“Getting to train with my brother was really fun,” he said. “I stayed down there, practiced with their heavyweight and Sammy Evans (Alcoa’s Class A/AA state titlist).”

Nick won the Class AAA 285-pound title in February with a second-period pin of Cleveland’s Koran Kennedy after finishing third as a freshman.

“It’ll be a lot of pressure coming back this next couple of years at Riverdale,” he said. “They’ll be coming after me.”

Before worrying about his junior season, though, the younger Boykin’s focus will be on the Freestyle competition in Fargo that begins Wednesday. Tennessee hasn’t had a Cadet national champion in that format since Nick Marable in 2003, and has never had a double champion.

“It’s very exciting,” Welder said. “He’s going to see these guys again and he knows there’s no one he can’t go with. He’ll be making that transition, making the little adjustments. I’m excited for him to come back and go after another title.”

Let’s get ready to wrestle — state tourney style …

Josh Peck wouldn’t call it strength in numbers, but having a room full of wrestlers two days before the state tournament was an appealing sight for the Ravenwood coach.

And he figures it will be mutually beneficial to all involved.

Six other teams – District 11-AAA rivals Brentwood, Centennial and Independence as well as Page, Battle Ground Academy and Franklin Road Academy – were represented at Tuesday’s practice as fine tuning for the weekend wound down.

“It’s not just having a big room, but having good practice partners,” said Peck, who has traditionally issued an open invitation to area programs this time of year. “Some of these guys can beat everybody on their own team, but you come here and you’ve got a conglomerate.

“There’s somebody that will push you and make you better. And right before state, when the competition level goes up, the better your practice, the better you’ll be.”

Breaking the monotony of a long season is one purpose served by practicing with other teams. Creating a bit of an edge is another.

“You’re out of your element,” Peck said. “You want to work harder with another team – to show them you’re not tired, to show them how hard you work.”

Super six: Middle Tennessee has a half-dozen wrestlers that will be looking for their second state championships in as many seasons.

In Class AAA, Brentwood 152-pound senior Luke Hamilton won at 145 last year. Riverdale’s Sean Kennedy returns at 170 and Wilson Central’s John Kramer is back at 220 after claiming titles at those weights in 2014.

In Division II, Father Ryan’s Eli King eyes a 132-pound crown after winning 106 a year ago, with teammate Chris Wesnofske looking to follow his 2014 win at 132 by doing likewise at 145. Montgomery Bell Academy’s D’on Coofer goes for a second straight 220 title.

Chasing perfection: Riverdale features a pair of undefeated wrestlers — Kennedy (43-0) and sophomore 285-pounder Nick Boykin (38-0).

Also looking to stay perfect is Blackman’s Tyler Garrison, who comes into the state tournament at 54-0 and on a 91-match win streak that covers his junior season as well. The 160-pound Garrison was unable to wrestle in last year’s tournament after being ruled medically ineligible.

Working through tragedy: Blackman will have five wrestlers in action at this week’s tourney, following the death of Daniel Winters in a car wreck early Sunday morning. Winters had just qualified for his first state tournament by placing third in the 120-pound weight class at the Region 5 tourney.

Senior Michael Brobeck, the driver of the vehicle, will not participate after winning the region 132-pound title. Freshman Hunter Winters, Daniel’s younger brother, qualified with a fourth-place region finish at 170 but will not wrestle.

“He’s not ready,” Blackman coach Ronnie Bray said of Hunter’s availability. “If he were a junior or a senior, he’d probably be mature enough, but as a freshman, he’s just not ready.”

As for the remaining five wrestlers – including Garrison, 138-pound region champ Josh Feuerbacher, 152-pound region titlist Matthew Sells and 195-pound region runner-up Andre Bravo – Bray said they’re handling the situation as well as could be expected.

“Each of them is different,” he said. “Thank goodness Tyler and ‘Bam’ (Feuerbacher) are seniors; they’ve still got their eye on the prize. The others are there, trying their best to work hard. (Wednesday) was a big day to get through.

“They’ve been awesome.”

Schedule: Wrestling begins at the Williamson County Ag Expo in Franklin with four rounds of Class AAA competition starting at 3 p.m. Thursday, and resumes Friday at 10 a.m. with all three classes in action as well as the girls tournament. Championship semifinals are scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday and championship finals are set for 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $10 per day and parking is $5 daily.

Independence sets fundraiser: The Indy Eagles Wrestling Club will hold a dinner on March 12 at Dolan’s in Spring Hill. Tickets for two are $100, and ticket holders will also be able to guess the number of M&Ms in a jar with a 2015 Ford Escape going to the winner. For more information, go to indywrestlingroom.org.

Mat burns: Riverdale cuts class for wrestling …

Long known for its football and more recently for its girls basketball, Riverdale pushed a different sport out front Thursday.

The Warrior wrestlers hosted crosstown rival Oakland in a dual match during school hours, with students getting out of class to attend.

“It’s part of our homecoming week,” principal Tom Nolan said. “It’s something we do every year, to try to help grow the program. Most people don’t know a lot about wrestling. This gives our kids a chance to see kids (compete) that they don’t normally get to see, exposes them to something different.

“And it being Oakland, makes it a little more interesting.”

Riverdale's Nick Boykin (top) works for a first-period pin of Oakland's Kofi Arthur during Thursday's match

Riverdale’s Nick Boykin (top) works for a first-period pin of Oakland’s Kofi Arthur during Thursday’s match

Despite the presence of reigning Class AAA champion Sean Kennedy and 2014 third-place finisher Nick Boykin, the visiting Patriots got out with a 60-23 win.

“We had a fun time,” said Boykin, who finished a pin just before the end of the first period against Oakland 285-pounder Kofi Arthur. “Usually there’s nobody cheering you on (at dual matches). It makes it go better when you’ve got somebody cheering for you, like in football.”

Among the student spectators was Kahliya Murry, a junior forward for the Lady Warrior basketball team.

“It’s weird to see them wrestling,” she said. “They’re different people in class. They’re nice. They’re mean when they’re wrestling.”

For Riverdale coach Shawn Jones, the crowd was a pleasing sight for more than one reason.

“Wrestling isn’t a revenue-generating sport,” he said. “To have enough people to pay the official is saying something. But for these guys to have an opportunity to come out and show what they’ve got, they love it.

“The kids come and they’re thinking WWE, coming off the top rope. They see what it’s really about and they get into it. We love it.”

Riverdale makes the trip to Oakland on Jan. 16 for an in-school match.

Conflict resolution: They’re only about 15 minutes (OK, probably 20) apart, but take it from a guy who’s tried to cover both:

The G.P. West and the Father Ryan wrestling tournaments are an either/or proposition.

And their shared spot on the schedule this weekend puts a lot of pressure on teams and fans (as well as concerned media).

Franklin and Clarksville, which have typically competed in both tournaments when able, had to choose this year. Clarksville will participate in the Brentwood tourney, with Franklin going to Ryan.

“They usually have theirs the weekend before ours,” Brentwood coach Joe Blair said. “It usually works out that theirs is the first weekend in January and ours is the second. I’m not sure what happened.”

But it sounds as if the conflict is on the way to a resolution.

“We’re looking at changing our (date) next year,” Ryan athletics director Pat Lawson said.

“We recognize the quality of wrestling in this area has grown to the point that we need to have the best teams at one tournament. We’re looking at changing ours so that we can compete against the best each and every weekend – and at the same time, uphold the tradition of the Johnny Drennan Invitational with quality teams and quality competition while recognizing they (Brentwood) want to do the same for their tournament as well.”

Wrestling at Brentwood starts at 6 p.m. Friday and will resume at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Semifinals are expected to start at 11 a.m. Saturday, with championship matches set for approximately 4 p.m.

At Ryan, wrestling begins at 2 p.m. Friday and starts back up Saturday at 10 a.m. Semis are expected to start at about 12 noon with the finals at about 6 p.m.

This week’s state rankings: Tbe Tennessee High School Wrestling Poll, compiled by Luther Killian, for this week is as follows.

1. Baylor (last week 1)

2. Father Ryan (2)

3. Bradley Central (3)

4. Cleveland (4)

5. Montgomery Bell Academy (7)

6. Wilson Central (6)

7. McCallie (5)

8. Christian Brothers (9)

9. Beech (10)

10. Soddy Daisy (8)

11. Brentwood (NR)

12. Tullahoma (11)

Also receiving votes (in alphabetical order): Arlington, Cookeville, Halls, Pigeon Forge, Red Bank, Science Hill, Summit.