E.A. Sports Today

Oxford, Ohatchee both sit third

UPDATED: Calhoun County has 12 wrestlers alive for state titles

By East Alabama Sports Today

HUNTSVILLE – The last instruction Oxford coach Matt Tanner will have for his wrestlers before Friday’s second day of the state wrestling championships is non-negotiable: Leave the cell phones in the your room.

The Yellow Jackets were a distant third behind Class 6A favorite Arab after the tournament’s first day Thursday, but there are still a lot of points to be had. Tanner doesn’t want his charges to be constantly checking the Trackwrestling website for updates – which most (Tanner included) admitted doing Thursday at the VonBraun Center — when they need to focus on their matches and supporting teammates in theirs.

Arab, with a full complement of 14 wrestlers, scored 119 points on the day and has 10 wrestlers still in the hunt for individual state championships. Southside-Gadsden is second with 67 points, Oxford third with 61.

“You look at the score the first day and it looks a certain way and you can’t really go by it,” Tanner said. “It’s the first day and they have 14 kids in it; they’re going to score a lot more points than anybody else. They’ve just got to take it and not get discouraged.

“I’ll ask them to leave the phones here tomorrow. They’ll tell us what the score is Saturday.”

The Yellow Jackets, county and sectional champions, have four wrestlers in the championship semifinals — Hayden Carpenter (113), Mason Blakeney (120), Matt King (138) and Hunter Lee (182). Three of them left potential bonus points on the mat Thursday by not scoring pins.

Blakeney’s quarterfinals win was big for the cause because he pinned Kewaan Kennedy of challenging Homewood who had beaten him twice before this season. King defeated Arab’s Nick Cater in a key head-to-head bout 5-4, but failed to score a fall. Lee faces an Arab wrestler in his semifinal bout Friday.

“If all four of our guys win in the semis … that jumps us right back in it,” Tanner said. “We’re not worried about the score today, we’re not worried about the score tomorrow, we’re not worried about the score Saturday. What we’ve got to make sure we take care of is each match and … maximize our potential points.

“If we maximize our potential points and it doesn’t come out the way we wanted, that’s just the way it is. We’ve just got to give ourselves the best opportunity to win it and the only way to do that is if we bust our butt for each other and take advantage of every opportunity.”

Class 1A-5A

Leeds leads with 68.5 points, but holds only a 5.5-point edge over Madison County. Ohatchee is third with 49 points, but only eight points separate third from seventh. Cleburne County is fifth (46) and Weaver sixth (45).

Alexandria, with two wrestlers still in the championship bracket, has 27 points, Piedmont has 11 and Saks has 5.

“It’s really tough to say how it’s going to come out,” Ohatchee coach Matt Sweatman said. “We’ve got the semis and consolation matches yet and there’s a lot of points there. I think it’s going to be close. I think there are five or six teams that have a chance to win it. I think we’ve all got a shot.”

“I think it’s really going to come down to Saturday’s final matches to decide the top two or three,” Weaver coach Andy Fulmer predicted.

Weaver’s Nick Souder and Ohatchee’s Jimmy Wilson stayed on track for a meeting in the 106 1A-5A final, but Wilson has to get past top-seeded Kage Robertson of Susan Moore in the semifinals.

The other semifinalists from Calhoun County include Weaver’s Jacob Howard (145) and Chase Rodgers (195), Ohatchee’s Caleb Montgomery (195) and Hunter Barclay (285), and Alexandria’s Lane Trapp (113) and Christian Knop (160).

Montgomery and Rodgers will go head-to-head in Friday’s semifinals.

Cleburne County has three semifinalists — Corey Davis (138), Tyler Mayfield (152) and Alex Sandmann (220). Sandmann faces top-seeded Colton Parton of Madison County, who pinned each of his first two (Calhoun County) opponents in 48 seconds.

Class 1A-5A

1. Leeds 68.5, 2. Madison County 63, 3. Ohatchee 49, 4. St. James 47.5, 5. Cleburne County 46, 6. Weaver 45, 7. Dora 41, 8. Hayden 38.5, 9. Helena 36, 10. Fultondale 30, 11. St. Clair County 29, 12. Mortimer Jordan 29, 13. Alexandria 27, 14. Sumiton Christian 26, 15. Deshler 25, 16. Westminster Christian 25, 17, Moody 23, 18. J.B. Bennington 22, 19. Montgomery Catholic 21, 20. Tallassee 18.5, 21. Holtville 16, 22. Calera 15.5, 23. Susan Moore 14.5, 24. (tie) Corner, J.O. Johnson 12, 26. Piedmont 11, 27. Oak Grove 8, 28. (tie) Ashville, Lincoln 7, 30. (tie) Elmore County, Shelby County, Springville 6, 33. (tie) New Hope, Saks 5.

Class 6A

1. Arab 119, 2. Southside-Gadsden 67, 3. Oxford 61, 4. Muscle Shoals 51, 5. (tie) Hartselle, Homewood 48, 7. Athens 42.5, 8. Benjamin Russell 39, 9. Pinson Valley 36.5, 10. Scottsboro 33.5, 11. Wetumpka 32, 12. Brookwood 30, 13. Clay-Chalkville 29.5, 14. Pelham 27.5, 15. (tie) McAdory, Opelika 24.5, 17. (tie) Fort Payne, Hueytown 23, 19. Gardendale 22, 20. Stanhope Elmore 19.5, 21. Austin 14, 22. (tie) Chelsea, Russell County 9, 24. Decatur 8, 25. Park Crossing 6, 26. Lee-Huntsville 5.

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