HUNTSVILLE – Oxford accumulated 182 points to take 34.5-point lead in Class 6A while Vestavia Hills (7A) and Arab (1A-5A) had comfortable leads in the other two divisions after Friday’s action at the 62nd AHSAA State Wrestling Championships being held at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center.
Wrestling gets underway with consolation finals Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. The championship finals will start at 1 p.m. The finals will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network. Go to http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/tournament/alabama-winter-championships to access the live-stream.
Southside-Gadsden has 147.5 points, Pinson Valley 138 and Homewood 105.5 to lead the Class 6A team rankings after day two. Defending state champion Vestavia Hills posted 119.5 points as Class 7A got underway Friday. Hoover is second with 91.5 points, Hewitt-Trussville is third with 82 and Thompson is fourth with 73. The Rebels won their 14th state title overall last year – a fitting send off for AHSAA Hall of Fame Coach Steve Gaydosh, who retired as Vestavia’s wrestling boss. Monterrious Adams took over as head coach this season.
Arab, chasing its fifth state championship in a row, built a 46.5-point lead over Cleburne County Friday totaling 161.5 points. Cleburne County had 115, followed by Tallassee (98) and Alexandria (93.5).
Coach Michael Pruitt’s Knights won the 6A state crown in 2016 and 2015 and the Class 5A titles in 2014 and 2013.
All three division leaders captured the first AHSAA Wrestling Duals tournament titles earlier this season.
Coach Matt Hicks’ Yellow Jackets have recorded 20 wins by fall – most of any team in the competition – advanced five wrestlers to the finals Saturday. Among the five is sophomore heavyweight Clay Webb (56-1), who posted his third straight pin to reach the Class 6A 285-pound finals to face Jacob Andrews (36-3) of Stanhope Elmore. Jacobs beat rival South second seed Trent Lolley of Wetumpka 3-2 in the semifinals to set up the showdown with Webb.
A total of eight unbeaten wrestlers will be attempting to close out the season with wins in their respective weight divisions Saturday. Another 11 have just one loss on the year and another, senior Landon Thompson of Cass 6A Southside-Gadsden, is 73-2 on the year at 152 pounds.
Senior Zachary Van Alst of Montgomery Catholic (66-0) will face Hayden’s Chace Phillips (60-1) in the 138-pound Class 1A-5A finals Saturday. Van Alst is attempting to become just the third wrestler in state history to win six individual state titles. He won his first championship as a seventh grader in 2012 and has won every year since. Macon Edwards of Fultondale improved to 73-0 with a 10-0 major decision win in the 113-pound semifinals. He was 90-0 last season while winning the 106-pound 1A-5A title. He will meet Landon Castleberry of Hayden (59-9) in the championship match.
In Class 7A, sophomore Sam Latona of Thompson (70-1), rolled into the Class 7A 106-pound finals with pins in both his matches Friday. He is 35-0 against in-state competition this season and 35-1 versus out-of-state competition. Latona’s brother Dominic won the 126-pound 7A state title as a senior in 2016.
And in Class 6A, Southside-Gadsden senior Landon Thompson (73-2) will be trying to win his 74th victory in the Class 6A 152-pound finals versus Isaac Jackson (22-2) of Park Crossing.
Twelve defending champions will be in the finals again Saturday. Brooks Schrimsher of Huntsville (40-0) is in the 182-pound 7A finals after winning the 170-pound crown last season. Vestavia Hills’ James Edwards (40-0) will be attempting to defend the 220-pound title. His twin brother Jacob Edwards (39-3) has also reached the Class 7A 285-pound championship match.
Complete results can be found at www.ahsaa.com and its track wrestling link. Saturday’s finals match-ups are listed.