E.A. Sports Today

On the verge

Oxford’s 6A-leading team, 12 local wrestlers on the verge of winning state championships Saturday in Huntsville

By East Alabama Sports Today

HUNTSVILLE – The Oxford wrestling team is in “a good spot” to complete a season Grand Slam with its first-ever state championship, but Yellow Jackets coach Matt Hicks has been at this long enough to know not to count any chickens.

The Yellow Jackets remained atop the Class 6A team standings Friday night after the second day of the AHSAA Wrestling Championships at the VonBraun Center with 182 points. Southside-Gadsden is second with 147.5 and still mathematically in the hunt.

Cleburne County remains second in the Class 1A-5A standings behind Arab. The Tigers are 46.5 points behind. Alexandria is fourth (4.5 points out of third) and Weaver is seventh. Wellborn and Ohatchee are both in the top 20.

“I try not to get too excited too soon,” Hicks said after Friday’s session. “They’re wrestling well. If we continue to do what we’ve done the first two days, then tomorrow will take care of itself.

“We’re sitting good, but as long as there’s a mathematical chance (of being caught) we’re going to err on the side of caution and keep our nose to the grindstone.”

If the Yellow Jackets pull off the state title Saturday, they will have completed the sweep that includes the Calhoun County championship, the State Duals title and the South Sectional crown.

The Yellow Jackets also have five wrestlers vying for individual state championships Saturday, an all-time high in Hicks’ coaching career – Jakob Chisolm (120), Wesley Slick (126), Matt King (160), Josh Thomas (195) and heavyweight Clay Webb. Thomas won’t wrestle Saturday, having suffered a broken collarbone in his semifinal win.

Chisolm is 8-0 the last two weeks and has beaten the second- and third-ranked wrestlers in the state. This week, he rallied from four points down to win his quarterfinals match and Friday he was down 4-0 before coming back to beat the No. 2 wrestler in the state.

“This kid has wrestled out of his mind the last two weeks,” Hicks said. “He never backs down. He must have ice water in his veins.”

The Oxford Five are among 12 Calhoun and Cleburne County wrestlers in the finals of their respective weight classes, including defending champions Nick Souder of Weaver and Christian Knop of Alexandria.

Souder is going for his third state title in a row. He will face Brantley McHugh of Madison County, who he beat in their only meeting this year at the Gene Taylor Memorial. Knop is looking to go back-to-back and complete his second straight undefeated season.

“I just have to take care of business,” Souder said. “Its not as bad as last year or the first year, but more anxious and excited to get it. It’s my last year; it’d be nice to win it.”

The other local finalists are Alexandria’s Jaden New (106), Cleburne County’s Tyler Mayfield (152) and Christian Seale (170), and head-to-head 220 finalists Caleb Allison of Weaver and Caleb Montgomery of Ohatchee.

“(Saturday), that’s all about that kid,” Hicks said. “There is a team aspect to that sport … but once you get to the finals my philosophy is there’s one goal and that’s to win and be an individual state champion.

“If we do what we’re supposed to do, everything will take care of itself. I’m not putting any undue pressure on those kids. If you’re wrestling for a medal at the state tournament, you’ve had a pretty good weekend.”

Team scores:
Oxford 182, Southside-Gadsden 147.5, Pinson Valley 138, Homewood 105.5, Wetumpka 97.5, Athens 94.5, Clay-Chalkville 82, Gulf Shores 64, Gardendale 62, Chelsea 59, McAdory 47, Columbia 42, Austin 41, Helena 41, Park Crossing 41, Spanish Fort 36, Stanhope Elmore 34, Pell City 33, Pelham 27.5, Opelika 26,

Muscle Shoals 24, Benjamin Russell 22, Shades Valley 22, Fort Payne 18, Carver-Montgomery 17, Minor, Daphne 12, Center Point 11, Hueytown 11, Northview 11, Brookwood 10, Paul Bryant 10, Florence 7, Baldwin County 6, Hartselle 5, Northridge 5, Sidney Lanier 5, Carver-Birmingham 4, Russell County 3, Walker 1, Decatur 0, Robertsdale 0.

Team scores:
Arab 161.5, Cleburne County 115, Tallassee 98, Alexandria 93.5, Mae Jemison 91, Moody 79, Weaver 76, Hayden 70, Madison County 69.5, Scottsboro 67.5, Leeds 58.5, Deshler 55, Dora 49, Wellborn 48, Westminster Christian 42.5, Mortimer Jordan 40, Holtville 39, Ohatchee 39, St. Clair County 38, Fultondale 34, Susan Moore 34,

Montgomery Catholic 26, Oak Grove 24.5, Lee-Huntsville 20, Sumiton Christian 18.5, American Christian 15, Elmore County 12, Piedmont 12, St. James 11, Shelby County 10, ASB 9, Saks 9, Wilson 9, Beauregard 7, New Hope 6, Montevallo 5, Corner 4, Prattville Christian 4, Ranburne 3, East Limestone 2, Ashville 1, Gordo 1, Beulah 0, Curry 0, Dadeville 0, J.B. Pennington 0, Lincoln 0, St. John Paul II 0, Thomasville 0.

(involving Calhoun-Cleburne county wrestlers)
120 – Jakob Chisolm, Oxford vs. Jacob Smith, Southside-Gadsden
126 – Wesley Slick, Oxford vs. Cole Blackwell, Wetumpka
160 – Matt King, Oxford vs. Trevor Muncey, Gardendale
195 – Josh Thomas, Oxford vs. Carlos Figueroa, Homewood
285 – Clay Webb, Oxford vs. Jacob Andrews, Stanhope Elmore

106 — Jaden New, Alexandria vs. Jailen Young, Mae Jemison
126 – Nick Souder, Weaver vs. Brantley McHugh, Madison County
152 – Tyler Mayfield, Cleburne County vs. Channing Marmann, Deshler
170 – Christian Seale, Cleburne County vs. Ethan Pippin, Westminster Christian.
182 – Christian Knop, Alexandria vs. Davion Watkins, Lee-Huntsville
220 – Caleb Allison, Weaver vs. Caleb Montgomery, Ohatchee

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