By Thomas Sellers Jr.
FRANKLIN – Just hours away from a moment he has worked his entire high school career for, Millington Trojan Jaden Tincher was ready to just relax and go grab a bite to eat with his parents and a couple of teammates.
Before locating one of the area eateries in Franklin, Tincher took a moment to reflect on his achievement of reaching the medal stand of the Williamson County Expo Arena. In front of hundreds of wrestling fans, coaches and peers, Tincher would wear the black and gold while receiving his fifth place prize for the 106-pound TSSAA Division I-A-AA class.
“It means lot after six years of doing this, it feels rewarding to place,” he said. “All that work, it finally pays off.”
Tincher was among nine Millington wrestlers to reach the 2020 Wrestling State Championships. He was joined as a medalist by teammate Malik Wooten. The junior took home sixth place in the 113-pound division. Tincher and Wooten are the first pair of Trojan medalist since 2003.
“It was a great experience this year knowing who my competition is and hopefully next year I will make it back up here,” Wooten said, “I’ll have a better opportunity to place again.
“With 9 people getting to State it just proves what Millington is a small,” he continued. “People out here call us a small school. We proved Millington can do it, Millington can send multiple people to State. We hope to do it again next year.”
Millington sent one of its largest collections of wrestlers in more than 20 years with Milton Yarbrough (126), Lonzell Blackwell (138), Garrett Haley (145), Jahmir O’Kain (152), Drew Hassenberg (182), Verdo Young (195) and Tony “TJ” Graves (285).
O’Kain, Young and Tincher will be graduating in May. Blackwell said the Trojan Wrestling program has reached another level with the current group of underclassmen.
“It feels great to make it to State because my last two years from a freshman, I’ve improved a lot,” he noted. “It’s just an accomplishment to make it to State.
“It takes a lot, losing weight, maintaining weight,” Blackwell added. “Working hard to make it State, none of these wrestlers out here, you can’t beat them easily. You’ve got to put in the hard work. It pays off on the mat.”
Wooten agreed that whoever joined the program will have to be prepared to be disciplined in multiple phases.
“You need dedication to do this,” he said. “We’ve got people who want to go out and eat anything. But when you’re wrestling, you’ve got to watch that weight. Plus you’ve got to work hard. Ain’t any opponent up here easy, you’ve got to work on that mat and compete.”
Tincher’s last time competing as a Millington Trojan was victorious. He took care of Harpeth’s Taylor Turner 5-4 Saturday morning.
“It means a lot,” he said. “Starting off I was underweight wrestling 106. Staying 106, trying to keep my head up and stay confident, now I am here. Medaling just feels so good. All that hard work does pay off.”
Tincher will go down as one of the most decorated Millington Wrestlers of all time. Like the meal he shared with his family in Franklin, Tincher wants some company. But he has some advice for any future Millington grapplers.
“Starting off you’re going to lose,” he concluded. “It’s a guarantee. Everybody starts off losing. But you’ve got to stay with it. You’ve got to be dedicated.”