E.A. Sports Today

Chasing a title

More than a dozen area wrestlers reach state semifinals; Oxford fourth in tight 6A, Alexandria sixth

By East Alabama Sports Today

Fifteen wrestlers from Calhoun and Cleburne counties have reached their respective semifinals and two-time reigning Class 6A champion Oxford is fourth after the first day of AHSAA State Wrestling Championships at the VonBraun Center.
The Yellow Jackets have four wrestlers in the semifinals and scored 51 points, pulling in 15 points behind leader Benjamin Russell. Wetumpka is second, followed by McAdory.
Wesley Slick (132) scored two pins to reached the 132 semifinals. The Jackets’ other semifinalists are Landon Burrage (126), Jakob Chisolm (145) and Reed Hill (152).
“The morning matches are going to be huge,” Oxford coach Kyle Routon said. “Going into this tournament all you can ask for is a chance and we are still alive going into Day 2. We just have to take care of us and see where the chips fall. I tell the guys all the time take care of what you can control.”
Weaver and Alexandria both have three semifinalists, Cleburne County and Ranburne both have two and Piedmont has one.
Piedmont’s Evan Cooper (285) scored two pins in a total time of 1:47, tied for third fastest among the 1A-5A field. Weaver’s Caleb Allison (220) scored two pins in 1:51 and teammate Cody Souder (132) scored two pins in 1:53.
Alexandria’s Christian Knop remained on track for an unprecedented fourth straight undefeated state title, scoring two more first-period pins and extending his winning streak to 233 matches (319 total) to reach the 195 semifinals. He’s joined by teammates Fletcher Swindall (126) and Jaden New (132) in the semifinals.
The other local semifinalists include Weaver’s Travis Bellar (106), Cleburne County’s Mathew Williamson (145) and Zachary Williamson (152), and Ranburne’s Christian Smith (195) and Ben Buchanan (220).
Alexandria is sixth in the 1A-5A field, 26.5 points behind leader Moody. Ranburne seventh and Weaver is eighth.

“It’s been a long day,” Alexandria coach Frank Hartzog said. “We had some unexpected tough losses, but tomorrow is a new day and I pray we have some more fight in us to battle back.”

Semifinalists who win Friday advance to Saturday’s championship round. 

CLASS 1A-5A Top 10
Moody 69, Arab 66, Scottsboro 62, St. James 57, Mortimer Jordan 45, Alexandria 42.5, Ranburne 41, Weaver 36, Southside 35, Tallassee 35.
CLASS 6A Top 10
Benjamin Russell 66, Wetumpka 63.5, McAdory 55, Oxford 51, Gardendale 50, Mae Jemison 47.5, Clay-Chalkville 44.5, Fort Payne 42.5, Gulf Shores 37, Helena 37.

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