E.A. Sports Today

Sweet rewards

Weaver’s Souder wins 106 crown, looks forward to a winner’s feast

Weaver's Nick Souder (R) and Ohatchee's Jimmy Wilson await the awards ceremony after their 1A-5A 106 title bout. On the cover, Souder and Wilson lock up early in their match.

Weaver’s Nick Souder (R) and Ohatchee’s Jimmy Wilson await the awards ceremony after their 1A-5A 106 title bout. On the cover, Souder and Wilson lock up early in their match.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HUNTSVILLE — Weaver’s Nick Souder won the Class 1A-5A 106-pound state wrestling title he’d been seeking all season Saturday against a very familiar opponent and when it was over he looked forward to celebrating in a way only a disciplined grappler could appreciate.

The first thing he planned to do after leaving the Von Braun Center awards podium was seek out the stash of Oreos his family has been stockpiling throughout the season.

Souder defeated Ohatchee eighth-grader Jimmy Wilson in the title match 6-4 with a reversal in the final five seconds. It was the eighth time the two county wrestlers have faced each other this season — sixth in a tournament final — with all the decisions going to the once-beaten sophomore (65-1).

“I’m about to stuff my face tonight,” Souder said. “I didn’t miss it a whole lot because I knew with all my hard work it would pay off and it did and I got what I wanted. So now I can eat a little bit more now and just watch what I do for next season.”

Guys who wrestle in the sport’s lightest division don’t have much margin for error when it comes to their weight program, a fact Souder is constantly reminded of by his family and coaches. He has been borderline maniacal about maintaining his weight throughout the season and the even the smallest cookie crumb would’ve blown his plan right out of the water.

Actually, he was four pounds under the allowance Saturday, but now he can gorge himself on the treats to his heart’s content. There might even have been a trip to the local burger-and-shake joint on his way out of town, Bearcats coach Andy Fulmer said.

Of course, moderation – with the burgers and the Oreos — is the key. No one wants to see him go to 126 any time soon.

He would’ve gotten into the cookies even if he hadn’t won Saturday, but it wouldn’t have been “like I’m about to” knowing the reward the treats represented.

Souder got on top early in his bout and never trailed, although Wilson (58-11) drew even twice before Souder made the late decisive move he always was confident he could make.

For his part, Wilson said the final went “better than I expected,” noting Souder had been winning their meetings rather handily. “This time I gave him a run for his money,” he said.

The way it looks, the 106 division in 1A-5A has the potential to stay in Calhoun County hands for a long time. Alexandria’s Fletcher Swindall, who had battled Souder and Wilson all season (and gave Souder his only loss), won the third-place match and he’s an eighth-grader as well.

Weaver, meanwhile, finished third as a team behind winner Leeds and runner-up Madison County and just ahead of Cleburne County and Ohatchee.

Bearcats junior Chase Rodgers lost a decision to St. Clair County’s Lane Burtram in the 195 final, while Jacob Howard (145) and Collin Allison (182) both placed third in their weight classes and Matt Elston placed sixth at 220

In addition to Wilson, Ohatchee’s Hunter Barclay suffered a tough, one-point loss at 285, while teammates Kevin Griffith (113), Josh Sexton (120) and Caleb Montgomery (195) all placed in the top six for the Indians.

Lane Trapp (113, third) and Christian Knop (160, fourth) joined Swindall in giving Alexandria its first-ever state placers. And Piedmont’s Jamie Crutcher was sixth in at 285.

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