Claiborne drops two matches at state tournament

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Qualifying for the state wrestling tournament as a freshman can be a lonely feeling, especially in the 138-pound weight class.

Oak Ridge’s Brandon Claiborne lost both his matches in Bakersfield at the toughest tournament the state has to offer. Claiborne opened the tournament by getting pinned by Jacob Macalolooy of James Logan in 2:37 and in the first round of consolation, Claiborne was pinned again by Nolan Kistler of Martin Luther King in 2:48.

Both of Claiborne’s opponents are juniors; two years older, two years more mature and two years more experienced. There was only one other freshman in the 138-pound division, Abner Romero of Buchanan, who ironically would have been Claiborne’s opponent had he won his first match. Romero faired a bit better than Claiborne. While he also lost his first match, Romero won two matches in the consolation bracket before being eliminated.

Despite not winning a match, the future is bright for Claiborne and the lessons he learned over the weekend will help him in the future.

“I know what to expect next year,” Claiborne said. “I thought the state tournament would be insane, but it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

Claiborne was Oak Ridge’s lone participate in the tournament. His brother, Zach, qualified in the 182-pound division, but suffered an injury last week at the Masters Tournament and did not make the trip to Bakersfield. Another teammate, Keaton Subjeck, one of the favorites in the 170-pound division, also was injured last week at Masters and while he made the trip to Bakersfield, he was unable to compete.