E.A. Sports Today

Cubs claim crown

Alexandria posts three individual champions, wins Arab Invitational; Knop gets No. 300; White Plains wins ASB event
 
By East Alabama Sports Today
 
ARAB –
 Fletcher Swindall, Jaden New and Christian Knop all won individual gold Saturday leading Alexandria to the team title in the Arab Invitational.
 
The Valley Cubs scored 25 pins in the tournament and posted 181.5 points, well ahead of runner-up Mae Jemison (164) and third-place Wetumpka (158).

“This was big, it really was,” Alexandria coach Frank Hartzog said. “It’s really a mental victory. We needed to believe in ourselves.
 
“We’ve not been able to wrestle on all cylinders it seems like the whole season in a tournament similar to sectionals. To have that is a big deal. Hopefully it’ll get us some momentum.”
 
Swindall won the 128 title with a 6-3 decision over Samuel Jaggears of Gadsden City. New clinched the team title for the Valley Cubs when he won the 134 title by pinning Arab’s Patrick Lawler in 3:08. Christian Knop pinned Diaris Donaldson of Mae Jemison in 2:17 for the 197 title.
 
Knop’s win was No. 300 of his high school career and extended his state record for consecutive wins to 214 in a row. He is 50-0 this season. Tournament organizers announced the milestone to the crowd after the match.

The N.C. State signee is only the fifth Alabama wrestler with at least 300 all-time victories, according to records available by the Alabama High School Athletic Association. His next target on the list is Dillan Campbell’s 308, currently fourth on the all-time wins list. Scottsboro’s Brandon Womack is the listed all-time record holder at 422.
 
Knop said he wasn’t even aware he was that close to the milestone until his father mentioned it to during the break before the tournament semifinals. He was just focusing on trying to get points to bring the Valley Cubs a team title.
 
“It’s definitely an honor being among some of the most elite guys to ever come through Alabama,” Knop said. “I definitely wouldn’t have imagined it a few years ago just sitting in the practice room sweating. It’s a pretty good thing to go to bed knowing your team won and you’ve hit another milestone.”
 
The Valley Cubs actually had four wrestlers in championship matches and another in the consolation final. Skyler Payne lost a tough 1-0 decision to Matt Burrow of James Clemens in the 287 final that Hartzog is convinced with about three more seconds his man would have at least tied the match; he was that close to a reversal before time expired.
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“Skyler Payne really impressed me,” Hartzog said. “He wrestled with a lot of heart. That’s the thing: If we’re going to have success at sectionals, at state, those are the kinds of things that have to happen. I’ve never seen that kid fight harder than he did in that match.”

Jayson Spencer, St. John Paul II’s 162 champion, was voted most valuable wrestler. Spencer scored five pins in the tournament in a total time of 9:59.
 
Southside’s Jacob Dease’s 8-7 decision over Wetumpka’s Kyler Adams for the 122 title was voted best match of the tournament.
 
Arab, Mae Jemison and St. John Paul II all had two individual winners.
 
ARAB INVITATIONAL
Team scores:
 Alexandria 181.5, Mae Jemison 164, Wetumpka 158, Pell City 150, Bob Jones 147, Arab 135, Hayden 106.5, Jasper 91, St. John Paul II 84, Fort Payne 83, Southside-Gadsden 82.5, Grissom 81, McGavock 80, David Crockett 78, Buckhorn 71.5, New Hope 65.5, Springville 65, Sparkman 64, Madison County 57, Hartselle 55, Pelham 47, Westminster Christian 47, James Clemens 42, East Limestone 41, Columbia 38, Deshler 32.5, Gadsden City 31.5, Austin 18, Hazel Green 6, Lee-Huntsville 6.
 
Championship matches
108: Chris Calvin, East Limestone (28-2) pinned Xander McWilliams, Wetumpka (49-4), 1:21.
115: Evan Phillips, Hayden (47-6) maj. dec. over Shawn Ammerman, Madison County (16-6), 12-4.
122: Jacob Dease, Southside (32-4) dec. over Kyler Adams, Wetumpka (49-3), 8-7.
128: Fletcher Swindall, Alexandria (31-1) dec. over Samuel Jaggears, Gadsden City (28-1), 6-2.
134: Jaden New, Alexandria (37-1) pinned Patrick Lawler, Arab (51-8), 3:08.
140: Garrett McClendon, Arab (42-5) dec. over Evan Vieira, New Hope (18-2), 8-3.
147: Desmond Pearson, Mae Jemison (20-1) maj. dec. over Cole Blackwell, Wetumpka (49-5), 12-3.
154: Michael Flynn, Mae Jemison (17-3) pinned Tilman Patterson, Pell City (35-11), 2:00.
162: Jayson Spencer, St. John Paul II (26-1) pinned Jackson Stocks, Pell City (36-4), 3:39.
172: Gerard McArron, St. John Paul II (25-2) dec. over Mason Blackwell, Wetumpka, 9-2.
184: Noah Barclay, Wetumpka (40-2) dec. over Jordan Hunter, Buckhorn (24-4), 6-5.
197: Christian Knop, Alexandria (50-0) pinned Diaris Donaldson, Mae Jemison, 2:17.
222: Zac Pugh, Arab (49-8) pinned Brodie Vinson, Jasper (24-7), 5:12.
287: Matt Burrow, James Clemens (8-2) dec. over Skyler Payne, Alexandria (23-10), 1-0. 
 
ASB HOMECOMING TOURNAMENT
 
TALLADEGA –White Plains won the duals-style tournament by edging Piedmont in the final 42-39. The Wildcats had seven pins in the match to Piedmont’s six pins and a decision.
 
Actually, the deciding factor in the match came in the first bout when White Plains’ 106 Gavin Kilgore, even though he lost, stayed off his back and avoided the fall. Had he been pinned the match would have gone to a tiebreaker. Just saving those three points was enough to put the Wildcats over the top.
 
“He was the first match but did not realize the implications he had on the dual until the end,” White Plains coach Todd Manning said.
 
The Wildcats also defeated Lincoln, Ohatchee, Talladega and ASB on their way to the title.

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