E.A. Sports Today

‘Left side’

With points coming from the consolation side of the bracket, Weaver clinches its third consecutive Class 1A-4A state wrestling title.

Cover photo: Weaver coach Andy Fulmer signals to the Bearcats’ cheering section Saturday, after they clinched their third consecutive Class 1A-4A state wrestling title in Huntsville’s Von Braun Center. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Editor’s note: Complete team scores and brackets from the 2024 AHSAA state wrestling tournament can be found at this Trackwrestling.com link.

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

HUNTSVILLE — The left side of the bracket is never a wrestler’s first choice, but Weaver got plenty of consolation points in this year’s state wrestling championships.

Enough, in fact, for another state title.

Led by Cael Fulmer’s second-place finish in the 106-pound class, Weaver banked its third consecutive Class 1A-4A state title Saturday in Huntsville’s Von Braun Center.

The Bearcats entered championship finals with 127.5 points and finished that way. Ashville had 110.5, and the Bulldogs’ three finalists needed pins to overtake the Bearcats. Nick Williamson (157) got a pin, but Tyler Ebner (165) won a 9-2 decision, clinching the title for Weaver.

Ashville finished with 124.5 points.

The moment Ebner’s match ended, Weaver coach Andy Fulmer stood up from his mat-level chair and held up three fingers to the Weaver cheering section, signifying the Bearcats’ threepeat.

“That we were able to win this one was really big, because we didn’t have any individual champions,” said Andy Fulmer, Weaver’s head coach for all of the program’s three state titles in as many years. “We scored a bunch of points on the left side of the bracket, which is how you can win a lot of tournaments, if you wrestle back, and our kid did that this weekend.”

Weaver’s cheering section reacts after the Bearcats clinched their third consecutive Class 1A-4A state wrestling title on Saturday in Huntsville’s Von Braun Center. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Weaver’s 127.5 points marked a program best for its three state titles. The Bearcats won with 105 in 2023 and edged Ohatchee 82-81 in 2021.

Victory in Huntsville clinched the Bearcats a sweep of the 2024 duals and conventional state titles, a feat accomplished only by Thompson in 2022, 2020, and 2019; Gardendale in 2021 and 2020, Arab in 2020, 2018 and 2017, Oxford in 2018 and 2017, Jasper in 2023 and Vestavia Hills in 2017.

Weaver’s Cael Fulmer and Ranburne’s Carter Driver battle during their Class 1A-4A 106-pound championship final Saturday in Huntsville’s Von Braun Center. (Photo by Joe Medley)

The duals-format state tournament started in 2017. Weaver, which has 12 conventional state titles, won its first duals title this season.

The duals format is a depth test, and depth keyed Weaver’s latest conventional state title. No individual weight-class champions, but Fulmer (106) took second, Peyton Andrews (113) sixth, Haiden Hise (120) third, Dalton Fink (126) third, Dylan Brown (138) sixth, DaShawn Kirby Barnes (150) fourth, Caden Thornton (157) third and Brandon Jolliff (215) third.

Weaver qualified 13 wrestlers for state, and eight made it to the last of three days of competition.

“We had a really good weekend with a really young team,” Andy Fulmer said. “All five of our eighth-graders qualified. We had a freshman, two sophomores, one senior and four juniors, and they all wrestled really well this week.”

Cael Fulmer was Weaver’s lone championship finalist, losing a 2-1 decision to Ranburne’s Carter Driver, but got to share a state title with his head coach and father in Cael’s first full season as a varsity starter.

“We love each other,” he said. “We just have a hard thing in how we show it to each other, but we just love this sport, and we want it to grow.”

Fink sees what Weaver accomplished with a young team, with no individual champions, as a signal of more to come.

“It just says we’re all here to battle for each other,” he said. “Even though we don’t have that one stud right now, all of these guys are going to end up being studs.

“Once they’re all studs, they’re all going to end up being great.”

Other individual state champions from the area included White Plains’ Mason Hahm (120) and Cleburne County’s Austen Mayfield (144).

Carter Driver

Ranburne’s not just Heavyweight High School anymore, now that Driver is a 106-pound state champion. He emerged victorious in one of the most competitive finals.

“It started off pretty quick,” Driver said. “He was very aggressive on offense and neutral, and I defended it pretty well. I got the takedown off of his shot, and the rest of the match was pretty even.”

Mason Hahm

Hahm scored his first state title after finishing as runner up in 2023 and gave White Plains its fifth individual state champion in four years.

He beat Reeltown’s Drake Wood in a 7-3 decision.

“I knew he was long,” Hahm said. “I just wanted to go in there and do my thing, score, get on top and turn him from there.”

Austen Mayfield

Mayfield is a state champion after runner-up finishes the past two years, pinning Oak Grove’s Dru Moore at 2:15.

Mayfield jumped into the arms of Cleburne County coach Jake Mayfield, his cousin. Austen adds the latest state title in a family that includes cousin and two-time state champion Tyler Mayfield, another cousin.

“I’ve been wanting this my whole high school career,” Austin Mayfield said. “I’ve been chasing it since seventh grade. It’s amazing.”

This story will be updated.

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