HUNTSVILLE – Oxford High School sophomore heavyweight Clay Webb needed just 63 seconds to advance to Friday’s semifinals as the 61st AHSAA State Wrestling Championships got underway Thursday at the Von Braun Center.
Webb (55-1), a husky 6-foot-4, 285-pounder, won his first match with a pin a 29 seconds and took his second bout with a fall just 34 seconds into the match. Oxford, coached by Matt Hicks, posted 85.5 points Thursday to take a 13-point lead into the Class 6A competition Friday. Southside-Gadsden is second with 72.5 points, followed by Homewood with 57.5, Wetumpka with 55.5 and Pinson Valley with 54.
Arab, going for its fifth straight state title, leads Class 1A-5A after the first day’s competition. Coach Michael Pruitt’s Knights hold a slim 7.5-point lead over Cleburne County. Arab posted 77.5 points, Cleburne County has 70, Tallassee is third with 63 and Mae Jemison is in fourth place with 48.
Wrestling gets underway Friday at 9:30 a.m., with Class 7A joining the competition with its quarterfinal round. Classes 6A and 1A-5A begin the day with round two of the consolation division. All classes will begin the championship round semifinals at 1 p.m. The 2017 Championships conclude Saturday with action beginning at 9 a.m., and the championship bouts beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Webb was just of several outstanding wrestlers who needed little time on the mat Thursday to reach the semifinals. Among them was South Super Sectional runner-up Trent Holley (48-3) had two two pins. The Wetumpka senior battled Webb to three overtimes in the finals at Montgomery last week before losing the match 4-3.
In Class 1A-5A, junior Macon Edwards of Fultondale improved to 72-0 with two easy wins at 113 pounds. He posted a pin at 1:52 in his first match and posted a 13-2 major decision to advance to the semis.
Senior Zachary Van Alst of Montgomery Catholic improved to 66-0 with two pins – 28 and 48 seconds. Van Alst is two victories away from winning his sixth state title.
Others of note included:
-- Weaver senior Nick Souder (61-1) had two wins by fall at 126 pounds.
-- Junior Ethan Pippin of Westminster Christian improved to 51-0 at 170 pounds with one pin and a technical fall.
-- Sophomore Christian Knoop (56-0) posted pins in his two 182-pouned matches for Alexandria.
-- Tallassee brothers Jake and Andy Baker also advanced to the semifinals as each posted a pair of wins at 195 and 285 pounds. Jake (43-1), a senior heavyweight, had two pins, and Andy (51-1), a sophomore, had two pins in his two 195-pound victories.
-- In Class 6A, Junior Justin Ingram of Spanish Fort (51-1) reached the semifinals in Class 6A at 132 pounds with a pin and a major decision win.
-- Landon Thompson, a senior at Southside-Gadsden, improved to 72-2 with pins at 32 and 49 seconds, respectively, to advance to the 152-pound semifinals.
-- Freshman Nathan Dunnaway (60-4) handed Sidney Lanier junior Landontay Garrison (29-1) his first loss of the season in the quarterfinals with a 19-6 major decision.
-- Sopomore Carlos Figuero of Homewood (25-0) posted two pins at 182 pounds to advance to the semifinal round.
-- And in the Class 6A 220-pound weight class, senior John Ellis Rawls of Wetumpka (50-0) and sophomore Jackson Jones of Clay-Chalkville (47-1) moved one win away from meeting in the finals.
-- Complete results can be found at www.ahsaa.com by clicking on the Track Wrestling link. All matches are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network in conjunction with Track Wrestling.