E.A. Sports Today

Oxford clinches county crown

Jackets win county wrestling title; Weaver’s Allison voted most valuable wrestler

Weaver’s Caleb Allison (top) was voted most valuable wrestler of the Calhoun County Tournament. On the cover, Oxford’s team gathers with the trophy after winning the championship.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT — Oxford wrestling coach Kyle Routon didn’t mind saying he was a little worried entering his first Calhoun County Tournament because the Yellow Jackets don’t compete much around the county and he wasn’t that intimately familiar with all the main players in the field.

It turned out to be worry for nothing. The Yellow Jackets won the tournament for the third year in a row — and first with Routon at the helm — by a comfortable margin.

With nine finalists and five individual champions, the Jackets scored 228.5 points to win by 36.5 points. Alexandria was second and host Piedmont was third.

“I felt a little more pressure coming into the county that I thought,” Routon said. “I don’t know any of these names so I didn’t know how the points would go.”

Routon, who came to Oxford in the spring after a multitude of success at Southside, “felt good” about his team’s chances after the semifinal round and super confident after the showing of his finalists in the three lower weight divisions.

Garrett Howell (108) and Kaleb Shelton (115) both won titles by pin — they pinned everyone they faced — and eighth-grader Kash Hornsby, a first-year wrestler, got all the way to the finals.

The Jackets also won titles at 140 (Jakob Chisolm), 147 (Chase Hicks) and 154 (Reed Hill).

In the middle of the finals it was like a dual meet as Oxford and Alexandria battled in six consecutive matches, with the Valley Cubs winning the first three and the Jackets the last three to lock up the title.

Each of the last two years Oxford won the county tournament, it went on to complete the wrestling Grand Slam by winning the State Duals, Sectionals and State.

“I’ve never put any stock into winning anything, even Sectionals,” Routon said. “I’ve always looked at one tournament, the state tournament. Everywhere we wrestle I don’t care how we finish I just want us to wrestle well and the state tournament is the one I care about.

“I’m not saying I don’t like winning them because if we win them I’m going to love them, but from the very start of practice to Feb. 17 I only thing about one tournament.”

Weaver senior 222 Caleb Allison was voted most valuable wrestler after winning his fourth straight county title with a 10-3 decision over Piedmont’s Logan Smith.

“I don’t think it was my best match, but I’m glad the coaches saw my hard work again and voted on me,” Allison said. “This being my last year it means a lot.”

Interestingly, he almost wasn’t going to wrestle this year, claiming a little bit of burnout. He decided to get back into it about a week before wrestling started and now has won four MVW awards this season.

“I’m really proud of myself for the way I pushed through,” he said.

Alexandria’s Frank Hartzog was again voted county coach of the year.

Meanwhile, back on the mat, Alexandria’s Christian Knop continued his consecutive wins streak with his fourth straight county title with three first-period pins and 205th win in a row. David McClure (172) became White Plains’ first county champion, followed quickly by teammate Ethan Bozarth (184).

“That’s a big deal to me,” McClure said. “Last year I got second in county and was hoping to get first, so this year being able to make my way up to first place and win, it means a lot. My name is always going to be in the books for White Plains wrestling.”

It didn’t take long for his teammate to join him. Bozarth won his title match in 36 seconds. In fact, his three pins in the tournament took all of 70 seconds total. His fastest came in eight seconds.

The other individual champions were Alexandria’s Adan Whittaker (122), Fletcher Swindall (128) and Jaden New (134), Saks’ Trenton Brown (162) and Piedmont’s Evan Cooper (287). New and Brown won their titles with moves that scored the winning points just seconds before the finish.

Team scores:
Oxford 228.5, Alexandria 192, Piedmont 132, Weaver 121, Wellborn 106, White Plains 88, Pleasant Valley 32, Saks 30, Ohatchee 17.

Championship matches
108: Garrett Howell (Oxford), 24-10 pinned Landen Hillburn (Piedmont), 17-6 (5:11)
115: Kaleb Shelton (Oxford), 29-16 pinned Dylan Melendez (Piedmont), 16-4 (1:24)
122: Adan Whittaker (Alexandria), 24-10 pinned Kash Hornsby (Oxford), 14-12 (3:40)
128: Fletcher Swindall (Alexandria), 28-1 dec. over Landon Burrage (Oxford), 27-9 (8-1)
134: Jaden New (Alexandria), 34-1 dec. over Wesley Slick (Oxford), 26-4 (3-1)
140: Jakob Chisolm (Oxford), 38-3 tech fall over Dakota Medders (Alexandria), 27-6 (18-3)
147: Chase Hicks (Oxford), 32-10 pinned Connor Norris (Alexandria), 8-10 (1:56)
154: Reed Hill (Oxford), 35-3 dec. tech fall over Brock Thrash (Alexandria), 18-9 (16-0)
162: Trenton Brown (Saks), 12-8 dec. over Stefan Kirby (Weaver), 25-11 (7-5)
172: David McClure (White Plains), 18-4 pinned Matthew Lindsey (Wellborn), 6-3 (1:08)
184: Ethan Bozarth (White Plains), 21-2 pinned Tristan Latham (Oxford), 12-13 (0:36)
197: Christian Knop (Alexandria), 41-0 pinned Riley Dothard (White Plains), 17-6 (1:31)
222: Caleb Allison (Weaver), 37-2 dec. over Logan Smith (Piedmont), 8-3 (10-3)
287: Evan Cooper (Piedmont), 17-1 dec. over Skylar Payne (Alexandria), 21-10 (3-1)

Oxford’s Reed Hill battles to pin Alexandria’s Brock Thrash in their 154 title match. Hill couldn’t get the pin, but he won the match by a tech fall and basically clinched the title for the Jackets..


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