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Brentwood All-Americans

Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 by Jeff Lockridge

A pretty phenomenal year for Williamson County wrestling got quite a bit better this past week thanks to Brentwood High seniors Cameron Croy and Blake Thomas.

Croy (189 pounds) and Thomas (112) achieved All-American honors at the ASICS/Vaughn Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D., placing in the top eight of their respective weight classes in the freestyle division.

In case you were wondering, this is a lofty achievement.

“That is the high school tournament in the country,” Brentwood Coach Joe Blair said. “That’s the big boy.”

The Brentwood duo competed against the nation’s elite rising college freshmen and other prep seniors. It is thought that Croy and Thomas are the first wrestlers from the same Tennessee school to earn All-American status in the same year, which is saying something in a state with tradition-rich programs like Baylor, Cleveland, Father Ryan and Soddy-Daisy.

Earlier this year Blair helped the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Park land the state duals and the state individual tournament for 2010.

“Last year I got seventh in the Cadet division at Fargo, but the Junior Nationals are a lot tougher and Blake and I were both at a younger age (than the competition),” said Croy, who went 6-1 in pool play to earn a pair of All-American placement matches, which he lost. “Last year there’s no chance I could have placed in this division.

“I think I could have done better. I didn’t wrestle my best out there. But All-American status … I can’t be ashamed about that. I think Blake and I proved Tennessee does have some good wrestling.”

“It was my first year at Fargo so I felt a little bit of pressure going there,” Thomas added. “It’s really hard to explain because you get out there and I had never wrestled freestyle before. It was a matter of getting in the right mindset and trying to focus on that and not worrying too much about what’s going on around you.

“Was I surprised (with the results)? Yes. But it’s always good to believe in yourself, and when you do that you can surprise yourself all the time.”

The showings could very well result in scholarship offers for both. Croy, who will bid for his third state title at 189 in February, said he is wide open with his college decision.

“Cornell has always been one of my goals,” he said. “They have (former Baylor wrestlers) Jordan Leen and Corey Manson, and being an Ivy League school and also one of the top wrestling schools. We talked to the coaches from Virginia Tech and they seem like they’ve got an awesome program going on — they’re getting a new facility. Stanford, Ohio State and Northwestern look good as well, and Harvard, too.

“I guess we were talking before (Fargo) to a bunch of different schools, but they were all kind of waiting to see how we wrestled in Fargo. Now coaches are going to start offering in the next few weeks and months. Once school starts I want to go on my five official visits and hopefully make a decision in the next two or three months so I can sign during the early signing period in November.”

Thomas is being recruited by Chattanooga and has interest in Duke and Davidson.

“Other than that I haven’t had much contact with coaches, but hopefully that will change after this past weekend,” Thomas said.

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