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Clarksville High wrestler Isbell looking to win state at 145 pounds after finishing second at 140 pounds last year


Clarksville High senior wrestler Chad Isbell was the runner-up in the 140-pound class last year. He hopes to win it all at 145 pounds this year. Isbell spoke with James D. Horne of the Clarksville Sports Network.

Clarksville Sports NetworkClarksville, TN – Clarksville High senior wrestler Chad Isbell is proud to be a member of one of the state’s most respected programs.

“I’m proud to be on such a tough team, were always doing well in Regionals, we’ve been region champ the past 16 seasons,” Isbell said. “I’m proud to be on a team like this and I’m proud I’ve helped it continue since my freshman year. I love the program. (Clarksville High) coach (Jeff) Jordan focuses on strength and wrestling and that’s everything we need. Most teams don’t focus on strength and we always come out and are one of the strongest teams. I’m proud to be a part of such a successful program.”

Success is something that Isbell understands, especially after finishing second in the state tournament at 140 pounds last season. That capped off a 48-3 season for the senior.

“It was tough making weight everyday at state,” Isbell said. “There ‘s always so much pressure to do well at state and I was expected to make it that far. I was psyched out, but it was crazy to be in a huge gym in front of everybody.”

And Isbell has been a winner since moving to Clarksville from Colorado Springs with his family his freshman year. He went 50-10 as a sophomore at 125 pounds and was 45-20 as a freshman.

He knows he has a bull’s-eye on his back this year as he tries to win state at 145 pounds.

“This year with the target on my head, it makes me have to be perfect every time,” Isbell said. “I can’t have an off match. One off match and you don’t have a chance to win state so you have to do your best. If someone beats you then they can say they beat someone who was second at state. So every match I have to be at 100 percent, if not I might as well go home.”

Isbell says that expectation puts a lot of extra pressure on him.

Clarksville High senior wrestler Chad Isbell

Clarksville High senior wrestler Chad Isbell

“There’s a lot of extra pressure, but really I just try to focus on my match,” he said. “I don’t worry about who I’m wrestling. I just do my stuff and do what I do, because once you get worried you think about too much and psyche yourself out. That’s not what you want. You just want to have a clear mind on the mat.”

Isbell and the Wildcats will be apart of Clarksville High’s annual Slamfest, one of the top wrestling tournaments in Tennessee starting Saturday at 9:00am. The Championship match will be at 6:30pm.

It’s an early season test where the winner becomes one of the early favorites in the running for the Class AAA State  Championship.

“Slamfest is always a tough one, because they’re always good teams there,” Isbell said. “You always have to worry about those one or two teams that may not have a lot of members, but have one or two people on the team that you have to watch out for. I love Slamfest. I love how it’s not about the individual, that it’s about the team. You and your whole team has to win together, it’s not just about one person.”

But Isbell hopes to use Slamfest as a springboard for the rest of the season.

“Dual meets definitely help me as an individual,” he said. “Even though all the pressure is not one me, it helps me work on my moves. It helps me with everything. Sometimes wrestling is not an individual sport, it’s the whole team that has to win it and that can help you as much as winning by yourself.”

Three things people didn’t know about Chad Isbell:

  1. He’s not strong
  2. He’s very flexible
  3. He’s a very unorthodox wrestler

Three things Chad Isbell likes:

  1. Eating (when not in wrestling season)
  2. Working on wrestling
  3. Spending time with family

Three things Chad Isbell doesn’t like:

  1. Heights
  2. Snakes
  3. Brocoli

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About James D. Horne

    James D. Horne

    James D. Horne began his writing career at the Carrollton Missouri Democrat in 1995, and was the assistant sports editor/writer for the Hammond Louisiana Daily Star for two years.  In 1998, Horne became the Missouri Basketball beat writer for the Columbia Daily Tribune. He joined The Leaf-Chronicle in Oct. 2003 as the lead prep writer and became the Austin Peay beat writer in March of 2005. During his career he won a state association sports writing award at the Daily Star and two while at the Leaf-Chronicle.

    Originally from Tampa, Florida, Horne earned his B.A in communications from Central Methodist University in Fayette Missouri.

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