E.A. Sports Today

King of the Rumble

Weaver recovers from disappointment of Calhoun County Tournament, wins physical day in Rumble in the Jungle

Team scores:
Weaver 183, Dora 173.5, Ranburne 171, New Hope 149.5, Cleburne County 103, Oxford 101, Saks 85, Madison County 82.5, Pleasant Valley 76.5, St. John Paul II 74, ASB 63.5, Piedmont 54, Montevallo 38, Wellborn 38.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN — Andy Fulmer’s demeanor changed dramatically from where it was at the start of the week. On Monday, he left the gym glum about his Weaver wrestling team’s showing in the Calhoun County Tournament, not altogether sure if he would even take it to the weekend’s tournament. On Saturday, he went from dreary to cheery after his Bearcats won Cleburne County’s Rumble in the Jungle.

The Beacats’ position fluctuated throughout the day, from up 20 points early, to locked in a tie midway through the consolation semifinals, to up by less than five with a handful of matches remaining.

They went into the championship session with a 15-point lead and never dropped in the standings, eventually winning the big red trophy by 9.5 points over Dora, the team, ironically, they play in the next round of the State Duals Tournament Thursday.

“I was disappointed (after County) because all of my kids who made weight and wrestled like they’re supposed to wrestled hard and it’s frustrating to have a couple who didn’t do their part,” Fulmer said. “One of them was able to wrestle today and wrestled well overall.

“You win a tournament, it’s a great feeling, but when you win this tournament it’s a good feeling because there are some good teams here. A lot of the top teams are here. It’s a good feeling to know we came in and we competed and wrestled hard. This tournament’s tough because it’s brutal, it’s very physical. You leave here with some hardware and no significant injuries it’s a win-win.”

Ultimately, the Bearcats found themselves in a dogfight with Dora and Ranburne. They had five finalists in four weight classes and won two of them. Dora had four finalists and won three, including one head-to-head matchup with the Bearcats, but never overcame them. Ranburne won its only finals match and got points from three of its six consolation finalists, but finished 2.5 points behind Dora.

“I’m going to be honest with you, I hadn’t looked at it a whole lot because I couldn’t get it to pull up on my phone so I was just going on what everybody else was able to pull up on theirs,” Fulmer said. “You know, County was like the turning point for us last year so hopefully the little bit of a disappointment we had Monday maybe will kind of lead into some bigger things for us.”

Joshua Johannson’s pin of Ranburne’s Zack Buchanan in the 172 final locked up the title for the Bearcats. The undefeated Weaver senior came close to pinning his opponent early in the third period, but Buchanan wriggled free and the two traded points the rest of the match until Johannson finally dropped the hammer with 45 seconds to go.

“That last match was interesting because that’s one of the closer matches I’ve had this year,” Johannson said. “He came down from ’82 to ’70 and I haven’t faced him before. I think it was really good because I kind of got to see what areas I need to work on.

“I think I was a little fatigued, so I really thought that match was important, especially for me, to see how far I could be pushed and still get back up and still try to win. I thought that was also good because it let the team know I would push as hard as I can for us to win.”

Championship matches
108: Dalton Fink (Weaver) maj. dec. over Haiden Hise (Weaver), 11-1
115: Jayden Rouse (Dora) pinned Trent Hopkins (Saks), 1:21
122: Adrian Waugh (New Hope) pinned Ricky Weaver (ASB), 1:43
128: Izak Duke (Piedmont) dec. Nathan Cox (Madison County), 5-0
134: Damon Clayton (Dora) maj. dec. over Julian Lowe (St. John Paul II), 11-0
140: Austen Mayfield (Cleburne County) pinned Gianluca Torres (Weaver), 3:40
147: Jack Von Eschenbach (St. John Paul II) pinned Noah Screws (Wellborn), 3:51
154: Garrett Howell (Oxford) pinned Ny’dariun Jones (ASB), 3:40
162: Ricky Toney (New Hope) pinned Delvin Taylor (Dora), 2:00
172: Joshua Johannson (Weaver) pinned Zack Buchanan (Ranburne), 5:15
184: Jonathan Foster (Dora) tech fall over Anthony Usry (Weaver), 20-5 (5:46)
197: Mason Ellis (Madison County) pinned Cameron Richardson (Dora), 3:12
222: Xavier Deramus (Oxford) dec. Chrisjohn Gurley (Piedmont), 9-4
287: Carson Hall (Ranburne) pinned Caleb Tinner (Oxford), 6:34

Most Outstanding Wrestler: Jack Von Eschenbach, St. John Paul II
Best Match: 287 final: Carson Hall (Ranburne) pinned Caleb Tinner (Oxford), 6:34

Best Match

On a day that had several matches that went the distance and beyond, the tournament saved its best match for last.

Oxford heavyweight Caleb Tinner locks up with Ranburne’s Carson Hall in what will be voted the tournament’s best match.

While Weaver’s Joshua Johannson thought his 172 title match was worthy of the distinction – and it did get some consideration – the heavyweight final between Ranburne’s Carson Hall and Oxford’s Caleb Tinner was recognized as the tournament’s best match.

Hall won it with a pin in extra time after Tinner had the undefeated reigning state champion on his back and in danger of being pinned himself.

“It was extremely tense,” Hall said. “It’s insane the feeling of being on your back. Every nerve in your body is telling you to get off it and to keep driving and pushing through.

“He’s incredibly strong, a really good wrestler and I really enjoyed it. I love competition. I wish they were in 4A so I could wrestle him again.”

Tinner had Hall in a cradle early in the third period but couldn’t hold it long enough for the pin. Hall wriggled free and tied the match with a move near the edge of the circle with 43 seconds left. Hall took the match in overtime when he lifted the Oxford senior off the mat and dropped him, then completed the pin moments later.

“That was easily my most intense match of the year hands down and the most fun I had wrestling, too, easily” Tinner said. “All around, that was a really great match.

“It felt really good especially from all the people coming up to me after the match and telling me they never seen anybody push him that far and getting him in a cradle. It definitely gives a sense of pride, even though I lost, to have taken him so far.” 

Best Wrestler

Jack VonEschenbach, St. John Paul II’s 147 champion, was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler. The junior won his four matches with three pins and a tech fall in a total of 15 minutes, 15 seconds. He pinned Wellborn’s Noah Screws in the finals (3:51) and is now 27-2 on the season.

Six wrestlers kept their undefeated records in tact through the tournament: Dora 115 Jayden Rouse (32-0), Dora 134 Damon Clayton (30-0), Cleburne County 140 Austen Mayfield (22-0), Johannson (29-0), Dora 184 Jonathan Foster (6-0) and Hall (22-0).

Michael Pruitt Invitational

ARAB – Logan Whittemore finished second at 147 and two other Southside wrestlers finished fourth helping the Panthers to a ninth-place finish in the Michael Pruitt Invitational.

Whittemore pinned Pell City’s Tommy Manakides in 2:43 to reach the 147 finals, then lost an 18-2 technical fall to Pelham’s Noah Schilleci in the championship match. Patrick DeLopez (115) and Peyton Adams (134) finished fourth in their respective weight classes.

Recently crowned Calhoun County champion Alexandria finished 12th.

Team scores:
Nolensville 212.5, McAdory 191, Pelham 166, Arab 162.5, Hartselle 162.5, Mortimer Jordan 162, Pell City 118.5, Fort Payne 118, Southside 106, East Limestone 72, Mae Jemeson 68, Alexandria 46, Hazel Green, 39, Buckhorn 36, Westminster Christian 26.

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