E.A. Sports Today

Karma crushed

Alexandria senior 138 Womack voted most outstanding wrestler in tournament that hasn’t been kind to him the last two years; Weaver wins team title

Weaver’s Nick Souder dominated Cole Blackwell of Wetumpka in the 126 final. On the cover, Alexandria’s Gannon Womack displays his Most Outstanding Wrestler award.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Nobody had to tell Gannon Womack his own Valley Cub Invitational owed him a few. Well, Saturday, the tournament paid him back.

To say the Alexandria senior and the tournament hadn’t gotten along the last two years is like saying Donald Trump and the mainstream media has a frosty relationship.

Womack has suffered an injury in this tournament each of the previous two years that profoundly impacted the rest of his season. But Saturday, in the most karma-crushing scenario you could think of, he was named Most Outstanding Wrestler as the Valley Cubs finished second as a team.

Weaver’s “work in progress” won the tournament with 188 points. Alexandria clinched second when Wetumpka defeated third-place Cleburne County in the 220-pound title bout that was the final match of the day.

Womack won 138 with two decisions and a pin. What sealed the award was his win in the title bout when he beat Cleburne County’s third-ranked Zac Williamson for the first time in three meetings 9-7 with a reversal near the edge of the mat in the final 10 seconds. It was Williamson’s first loss of the season.

Had the coaches picked one, there was little doubt the bout would have been voted the best match of the tournament.

“I think karma is working back in the right way for me this year,” Womack said. “It’s beyond amazement (to win MOW) due to all the recent injuries and issues with this tournament that I’ve had. I’ve had great successes to this tournament before and then it just comes to a quick stop. This year I made sure I didn’t let anything get in my way and I made sure I worked hard for everything I had.”

Womack was one of five Valley Cubs to win their brackets. Jaden New (106), Fletcher Swindall (120), Aaron Whittaker (145) and Christian Knop, wrestling up at 195, were the others.

Given all that has happened to him in this tournament over the years, it would be understandable if Womack went to the mat Saturday with a little reluctance. Two years ago, he sustained a hairline fracture in his ankle that he wrestled with all the way through the state finals. Last year he had only been back a week from a broken hip when he broke it again in his bracket’s championship match putting him out the rest of the season.

This year he pinned Dalton White of Wetumpka, beat Adam Zambrycki of Bob Jones and then stayed out of the bad positions that cost him in both previous meetings with Williamson to win in the finals.

“That was icing on the cake; that made the second-place finish a little more palatable,” Valley Cubs coach Frank Hartzog said. “We should have been in a position to battle for first, not for second. We lost some key matches we shouldnt have, so I was a little bummed about that, but (Womack) finishing like that just made the match.”

It was a popular choice.

“When you have a kid like that who overcomes an injury and comes back and works and puts the time in to improve, you always pull for a kid like that,” Weaver coach Andy Fulmer said. “You could tell his hard work coming back from an injury like that has paid off, so good for him.”

Weaver scored its first tournament win of the season – after a third and second in its previous two events – by getting 12 placers, eight in championship matches and three winners.

Nick Souder (126), Christian Pettus (132) and Kyle Clapper (170) all won their brackets. Souder extended his winning streak to 84 matches in a row. Three Bearcats who didn’t win – 160 runner-up Billy Whitson, 152 runner-up Stefon Kirby and third-place heavyweight Connor Usrey played significant roles.

“We came in with a starter out so we weren’t sure what we were going to do,” Fulmer said. “But we had some guys who stepped up, had some good draws and stepped up and got in the finals, and two guys who placed today in the finals, one of them (Whitson) I know it was the first time he ever placed in a tournament and Stefon was the first time he placed in a while.

“Our three words are ‘work in progress,’ that’s what we are. We’ll just continue to work and try to get better.”

Wellborn eighth at Moody

MOODY – Wellborn placed four wrestlers in the top four and finished a solid eighth overall in the 18-team Austin Hamer Invitational. The Panthers scored 96 points.

“I was pleased with our performance compared to last year,” Panthers coach Todd Manning said.

The Panthers finished 13th in this tournament a year ago. They led after the first round Friday night.

Clayton Conner finished third at 160, pinning Brandon Franklin of Leeds in the consolation match in 1:54. Wesley Harrell finished third at heavyweight, taking a 7-3 decision from Steven Porter of Moody in the consolation match. Brady Rinehard (132) and Zachary Chandler (220) finished fourth in their respective weight classes.

“I was proud of my teammates,” Chandler said. “They wrestled great all tournament. There were some great wins, like Clayton Conner’s pin over a very good Leeds wrestler.”

Zachary Van Alst of Montgomery Catholic was voted Most Valuable Wrestler. Marshall Stone’s (Homewood) 10-9 decision over Moody’s Will Patterson in the 120 final was voted the match of the tournament. — Namath Pitts

Team scores:
Moody 156.5, Huntsville 154, Mountain Brook 154, Mae Jemison 139, Leeds 124, Clay-Chalkville 121, Homewood 103, Wellborn 96, Westminster Christian 76, Chelsea 69, Susan Moore 65, Sumiton Christian 50, St. James 49, St. Clair County 38, Montgomery Catholic 37, ASB 16, Springville 15, St. John Paul II 8.5.

Team scores: Weaver 188, Alexandria 155, Cleburne County 153, Wetumpka 145, Bob Jones 107, Saks 92, Lincoln 25, Wetumpka B 17.

Bracket winners
106 – Jaden New, Alexandria
113 – Zaderian Toney, Bob Jones
120 – Fletcher Swindall, Alexandria
126 – Nick Souder, Weaver
132 – Christian Pettus, Weaver
138 – Gannon Womack, Alexandria
145 – Aaron Whittaker, Alexandria
152 – Tyler Mayfield, Cleburne County
160 – Rodney Reddick, Saks
170 – Kyle Clapper, Weaver
182 – Jason Higgins, Cleburne County
195 – Christian Knop, Alexandria
220 – John Ellis Rawls, Wetumpka
285 – Trent Holley, Wetumpka

106 Results
Championship match: Jaden New (Alexandria) 15-1, 7th def. Cody Souder (Weaver) 17-5, 8th (Dec 4-0).
Consolation match: Brantley Griffin (Bob Jones) 11-8, Fr. pinned Austin Creamer (Lincoln) 14-3, Fr. (1:44).

113 Results
Championship match: Zaderian Toney (Bob Jones) 12-5, So. def. Dylan Turner (Cleburne County) 17-2, Jr. (Dec 3-1).
Consolation match: Kaleb Mathews (Alexandria) 13-4, Fr. pinned Dylan Deloach (Weaver) 4-9, So. (0:59).

120 Results
Championship match: Fletcher Swindall (Alexandria) 14-1, So. pinned Tyler Anthony (Wetumpka) 2-1, So. (0:48).
Consolation match: Matthew Williamson (Cleburne County) 11-11, 8th pinned Devin Anderson (Weaver) 4-12, 7th. (1:41).

126 Results
Championship match: Nick Souder (Weaver) 22-0, Sr. def. Cole Blackwell (Wetumpka) 2-1, So. (TF-1.5 4:13 (17-0)).
Consolation match: Thomas Brown (Saks) 7-5, Jr. pinned Trey Lockhart (Bob Jones) 2-2, Fr. (1:55).

132 Results
Championship match: Christian Pettus (Weaver) 17-5, Sr. pinned Tyquavious Jones (Bob Jones) 7-4, So. (2:29).
Consolation match: Kaleb Jones (Wetumpka) 1-1, So. pinned Dakota Meddars (Alexandria) 6-5, Fr. (2:00).

138 Results
Championship match: Gannon Womack (Alexandria) 13-3, Sr. def. Zachary Williamson (Cleburne County) 18-1, Fr. (Dec 9-7).
Consolation match: Adam Zambrycki (Bob Jones) 3-1, Sr. pinned Taylor Ward (Weaver) 9-8, Fr. (0:52).

145 Results
Championship match: Aaron Whittaker (Alexandria) 14-2, So. def. Drake Monroe (Weaver) 16-5, So. (Dec 6-2).
Consolation match: David Onquit (Bob Jones) 10-9, So. pinned Hunter Beason (Cleburne County) 9-9, So. (2:00).

152 Results
Championship match: Tyler Mayfield (Cleburne County) 13-0, Sr. def. Stefon Kirby (Weaver) 7-13, So. (TF-1.5 5:31 (20-5)).
Consolation match: Tracey Brooks (Wetumpka) 3-1, So. pinned Will Henson (Cleburne County) 1-2. (1:17).

160 Results
Championship match: Rodney Reddick (Saks) 9-3, Sr. pinned Billy Whitson (Weaver) 6-12, So. (1:48).
Consolation match: Christopher Higgins (Cleburne County) 9-7, So. pinned Logan Townson (Wetumpka) 2-2, Sr. (0:49).

170 Results
Championship match: Kyle Clapper (Weaver) 20-2, Sr. pinned Devionte Garrett (Saks) 8-3, Sr. (1:34).
Consolation match: Cullen Powers (Wetumpka) 3-1, So. pinned Montrell Johnson (Lincoln) 7-5, Jr. (1:18).

182 Results
Championship match: Jason Higgins (Cleburne County) 15-5, Jr. pinned Dalton Sexton (Alexandria) 7-7, So. (1:10).
Consolation match: Zane Mason (Wetumpka) 0-1, Sr. (Bye).

195 Results
Championship match: Christian Knop (Alexandria) 15-0, So. pinned Cade Smith (Cleburne County) 15-2, So. (1:34).
Consolation match: Dawson Wells (Saks) 9-3, Jr. pinned Joe Unger (Wetumpka B) 0-2, Sr. (1:51).

220 Results
Championship match: John Ellis Rawls (Wetumpka) 1-0, Sr. def. Samuel Pate (Cleburne County) 11-3, Sr. (MD 14-5).
Consolation match: Hunter Rollins (Wetumpka B) 0-1, Jr. (Bye).

285 Results
Championship match: Trent Holley (Wetumpka) 3-0, Sr. pinned Caleb Allison (Weaver) 10-2, So. (Fall 3:21).
Consolation match: Conner Usery (Weaver) 4-1 pinned Jordan Brooks (Saks) 9-3, Jr. (2:00).

Cleburne County’s Tyler Mayfield scores more points in his dominating 152 title win over Weaver’s Stefan Kirby.

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