By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The quiet man on the Millington Trojan Wrestling team made a loud impact last Wednesday at the 2021 State Individual Wrestling Tournament.
Inside the Civic Center hosted by Williamson County and the City of Chattanooga, Wooten was one of nine Trojans to hit the mats for the grand finale of the 2020-21 Wrestling season.
The Trojan senior, fresh off a sixth place medal in 2020, came to this year’s tournament determined. Wooten earned a pair of victories to start the 2021 edition in Class A-AA 113 Division.
Wooten defeated Jacob Pennington of Eagleville 12-9 and earned a pinfall win over Cory Manuel of Greenback in 3:15.
Wooten would finished the State Tournament 3-2 overall earning the fourth place medal in his weight class.
By Friday morning #OneMillington, #TrojanPride and #38053 was trending through Flag City celebrating Wooten’s achievement and stellar career in the Black and Gold.
Coaches like Jeremy Haley thanks him for the young man he is and his character. One of the Trojan boosters Susan Graves noted Wooten is one of five wrestlers that medaled in consecutive years in his Millington Central High School Wrestling career.
Trojan Wrestling coach, booster and team photographer said, “Two time State placer. This year’s Most Outstanding Wrestler and he only wrestled three seasons. And he wanted to quit after his first season as he wrestled Jaden Tincher and Alex Abraham in practice. Both very good wrestlers. Malik is in that class and not to mention a fantastic young man.”
Wooten led a group of Trojans to Chattanooga in Cole Stevens (120), Garrett Haley (132), Milton Yarbrough (138), Lonzell Blackwell (170), Levi Smith (182), Darren Garrity (195), Tony “TJ” Graves (285) and Eli Roberts (160).
Roberts was the other Trojan to reach the medal stand giving the program a second straight season with multiple medalist. Roberts went 3-2 in Class A-AA 160 Division starting with a 12-10 decision over Tavin Birdwell of Sequatchie County.
After Hixson’s Kobie Smith picked up win over Roberts, the Millington senior rolled off a pair of victories beating Polk County grappler Jacob Speights 15-13 and shutting down Tyner Academy’s Demetrii Lovick.
Carson Reep of Gibbs High School ended Roberts’ day on the mat with a pinfall. Wooten’s concluded his day with a 12-7 decision over Greogery Gomez of Martin Luther King with a 12-7 decision.
Prior to that match, Wooten had two tough defeats to Greeneville’s Leandre Dabney Jr. and Pigeon Forge’s Hunter Gentry.
Wooten’s fourth place finish was the highest for any Trojan since 2009 when Bandreicus Farmer also finished fourth. The last Trojan grappler to finish higher was Brian Hall back in 2001 when he won the state championship at 119.
Wooten will forever be a part of the Trojan Wrestling history book.
“Wrestling in Chattanooga for the first time was very exciting on and off the mat,” Wooten said. “I feel great knowing I worked hard to make it back to State and placed even higher this go around.”
Wooten said each match he was not on that mat alone.
“I have to thank my parents and all of the wrestling parents for their support,” he said. “Plus my teammates and coaches pushing me all year to achieve this goal.”
Multiple medals at State, impressive winning streaks and a mentor to his younger teammates, Wooten said he wants his legacy with Millington Wrestling to be continuous.
“I hope everyone who wrestles for MCHS after me learns to never give up and to keep working hard,” he concluded.