Halls wrestling gets its own day

Red Devils dominated the sport and capture the attention of local and state leaders
Halls wrestling gets its own day
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 7:38 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - When you win enough titles and medals, you’ll eventually capture the attention of local and state leaders.

This is exactly what happened to the Halls High School wrestling team. Not long after the season ended, Governor Bill Lee declared February 25 to be Halls Wrestling Championship Day.

“It was nice to be able to finally put a team together after 17 years,” said Halls head wrestling coach, Shannon Sayne, who’s led this program the last 17 years and also claimed a pair of his own state titles when he competed for Halls.

In the state tournament, eight wrestlers medals. As a team, Halls claimed the state title and traditional tournament championship.

Sayne added, “It was something we had on our calendar and marked on our calendar. And we knew coming into it that we had a chance. We just had to get all the pieces put together.”

What they put together captured the attention of Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, the Knox County Commission, and Governor Bill Lee. Together, they proclaimed that Feb. 25 belongs to Halls wrestling.

Sophomore wrestler, Harlen Hunley described what this recognition has meant to him and the team, “It’s definitely overwhelming. Growing up, we wrestlers don’t really get a lot of recognition. So to have this, I’m just super grateful for it. And I think a lot of the guys "

Sayne continued, “Having the recognition from not just Knox County, but the state as a whole with Governor Lee. It’s just amazing for this program. And I think it’s it’s something to be celebrated for years to come.”

Hunley has dreamt of winning a state title since the third grade, he finally did so in his sophomore campaign.

“It was just surreal. I mean, it didn’t even feel real. I mean, but you know, thank thankful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I had the opportunity to do that. And I just hope that I can use that to help the guys around me and help our team out,” said Hunley.

For Halls, there almost isn’t a day when they aren’t hitting the mats, eager to repeat history, or even set a new standard for halls wrestling.

Hunley stated, “It’s definitely something I’ll remember forever. I mean, it’s something with a group of guys that you’re in here beating each other up all day. I mean, you just have a relationship like no other and to be able to celebrate that with them was just amazing.”

The team is already building for next season. Of the eight medalists from the state tournament, seven are returning. As Hunley puts it, they’re already looking to next season.