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Defending Champs Leeds (1A-5A) and Arab (6A) Take First-Day Leads As 61st AHSAA Wrestling Championships Get Underway

    HUNTSVILLE – Defending Class 1A-5A state champion Leeds High School totaled 74 points Thursday to hold a 17-point lead over second-place Tallassee as the 61st AHSAA State Wrestling Championships got underway at the Von Braun Center.
    The Tigers had 57 points, Madison County scored 52 and Deshler had 48.5 to round out the top four teams after the first session.  In Class 6A, defending champion Arab posted 89.5 points to take the top position heading into the second round Friday. Class 7A begins its matches Friday with all three divisions completing the meet on Saturday with all championship matches being live-streamed by the NFHS Network. Links can be found at www.ahsaa.com and www.nfhsnetwork.com.
    Sophomore Macon Edwards of Fultondale used just  improved to 88-0 on the season, best in AHSAA state history, using just 39 seconds to pin his first opponent, then advancing to the semifinals with a 7-1 decision over Javon Cortez of Moody in his first match. His 88 wins ranks third nationally according to the NFHS Record Book. The leader, Colton Palmer of Durham-Riverside, N.C., finished 91-0 in 2006-07 to set the prep national record for a single season. Edwards moved into third place behind Palmer and Chad Pyke of Woodward Academy (GA), who finished the 2012-13 season 89-2. 
     Two wrestlers advanced to the 170-pound semifinals in 1A-5A, senior Caleb Lauderdale of Dora (59-0) and freshman Christian Knopp of Alexandria (54-0). Both won two matches with pins.
    Josephus Smith of Leeds (32-0) advanced to the 285-pound semifinals with two pins.
    In the Class 6A competition, Pelham 145-pound senior Hassan Hawthorne, a double amputee who inspires all who watch him, improved to 35-0 with an 8-0 major decision in his first match and a 9-3 decision over strong Arab grappler Javon Cortez (38-4) in the quarterfinals. Hawthorne’s teammate Dillon Turner (29-0) also had two pins to advance to the semis at 152 pounds.
   Benjamin Russell heavyweight Daniel Bland had two pins to improve to 48-1 on the season.
    Wrestling gets underway Friday at 9:30 a.m., with consolation divisions in 1A-5A and 6A. Class 7A also begins its competition. Championship semifinals are scheduled for 1 p.m. for all divisions. Action closes out Friday with consolation semifinals for all classes beginning at 5:45 p.m.
    Saturday’s consolation finals are set for 9 to 10:30 a.m., and championship matches get underway in all three divisions at 11:30.




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