E.A. Sports Today

Jackets grab early lead

Oxford qualified seven into the Class 6A semifinals, holds a 31-point lead after Day One of state wrestling championships

From staff reports

HUNTSVILLE – Defending Class 6A champion Oxford and Class 1A-5A champion Arab held comfortable leaders after Day One of the state high school wrestling championship at the Von Braun Center.

Coach Matt Hicks’ Yellow Jackets qualified seven wrestlers into the semifinals and posted 84 points. Benjamin Russell (53), Wetumpka (50), Gardendale (47), McAdory (47) and Clay-Chalkville (46.5) all finished in a battle for second place.

Oxford junior heavyweight Clay Webb and Stanhope Elmore’s Jake Andrews appear headed for another showdown after having impressive opening days.

Webb (34-1) won his first match with a pin in just 31 seconds, Andrews (25-2) won his first match with a 12-second pin and both pinned their second opponents in 1:07. Andrews beat Webb in the state finals last year and in last week’s South Super Sectional finals.

Other Oxford wrestlers to qualify for the semifinals include Chase Hicks (113), Landon Burrage (120), Jakob Chisolm (126), Wesley Slick (132), Matt King (152) and Matthew Muncher (195).

In Class 1A-5A, Arab posted 74.5 points in the start of its bid to win a sixth straight state title. Scottsboro was second with 61.5 points and Alexandria, with five wrestlers on to the semifinals, was third with 52.5. South Super Sectional champion Cleburne County was fourth with 44 points.

Weaver is tied for 15th (22), Ranburne is 26th (13), Piedmont and Saks are tied for 27th (11), Lincoln is 38th (4), county upstarts Pleasant Valley and White Plains are tied for 42nd (3).

Alexandria’s Christian Knop reached the 182 semifinals with two easy pins to improve to 58-0 on the season. He has put together three straight unbeaten seasons going 161-0 since losing his last match.

Other double winners from the area on to semifinals include Weaver’s Cody Souder (106) and Caleb Allison (220); Alexandria’s Jaden New (113), Kaleb Matthews (120), Fletcher Swindall (132) and Aaron Whittaker (152); Cleburne County’s Dylan Turner (120), Zachary Williamson (145) and Cade Smith (182); Ranburne’s Carson Hall (195) and Saks’ Jordan Brooks (285).

Oxford’s King and Weaver’s Allison posted the fastest combined pins on the day. King pinned his two opponents in 61 seconds, while Allison pinned his two in 1:09. Brooks (1:43), Swindall, Souder, Chisolm, Muncher and Matthews also had two pins.

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