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.
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.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Gary McGriff of Holly Pond and David Briseno of Clovis, New Mexico, and have been selected as national award recipients by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Officials Association.
McGriff, who has been involved in officiating in various capacities for 30 years, is the recipient of the National Contributor Award. Briseno, who has been involved in officiating in New Mexico since 1984, is the recipient of the National Active Official Award.
“Few people have made the impact Gary McGriff has had on officiating in the state of Alabama,” said Steve Savarese, executive director of the AHSAA. “A visionary, always providing opportunities for our officials to grow technologically, Gary continues to be a state leader with regard to communication, not only between officials, but most important our Association.”
McGriff officiated four sports, including basketball for 18 years, and has continued his involvement in officiating by serving as district director for basketball (12 years) and track and field (five years). In addition to his on-the-field accomplishments, McGriff has been a photographer at all Alabama state championships for the past 15 years, and he developed the officials’ software program for the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA).
“I am honored and humbled to be nominated and receive this award for something I love doing so much,” said McGriff, who spent 25 years at NASA working as a tester for space shuttle main engine components. “I owe a special thanks to the AHSAA for allowing me to bring in new ideas and for embracing and encouraging those ideas. Supporting officiating and officials of all sports has been enjoyable and rewarding.”
He wrote the software program and has continued to develop the program to cover registration, testing, training and recordkeeping of officials in all sports. In addition to the software program for the AHSAA, McGriff developed the same program for the Mississippi High School Activities Association, the Los Angeles area baseball associations and the Dixie Youth Baseball programs in the Southeast.
McGriff established the first website of its kind in the world designed for primarily for contest officials. It included threaded multiple sport discussions that sparked worldwide participation of officials about such topics as rules, mechanics and game situations. This website was cited by Referee Magazine as one of the top 40 milestones in history of officiating.
He has written articles for Referee Magazine, including a cover article about how officials were could use the internet for training and discussions. He also wrote a very poignant article about how officials should behave while watching a game from the stands.
McGriff has also helped pioneer the use of crew communication system headsets among contest officials. Working with Vokkerro, the designer, he has helped train officials in the use of the system at the high school level (AHSAA), college level (Southeastern Conference, Big 10 Conference, Big 12, Pac 12, Mountain Wet, Sun Belt and Western Athletic conferences as well as the National Football League. He has also demonstrated the equipment for the NBA, Atlantic Coast Conference and Missouri Valley Conference.
He is currently active as an AHSAA district officials’ director for basketball and track.
BIRMINGHAM – Coach Jim Tate’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Lady Saints captured the school’s 24th state title at the AHSAA ‘s 48th State Indoor Track Championships Saturday at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Hoover’s boys also snapped Auburn’s two-year dominance in Class 7A as the Bucs rolled to their seventh indoor title overall.
Coach Devin Hind’s Bucs accumulated 111 points en route to the Class 7A boys’ championship. Hewitt-Trussville, coached by David Dobbs, was second with 58 points. McGill-Toolen Catholic and Mountain Brook tied for third with 41.5 points each. The Lady Bucs also won the girls’ championship with a 123-point effort. Mountain Brook was runner-up with 78.5. James Clemens finished third with 63.
Opelika won its second Class 6A boys’ championship in a row scoring 89 points. Homewood was runner-up with 73, followed by Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa’s 54-point effort. On the girls’ side, Homewood totaled 151 points to finish first, and Opelika’s girls were second with 62. Pelham posted 60 points to finish third.
St. Paul’s had 85.5 points to win in Class 4A/5A and Montgomery Catholic finished second with 65. Central-Tuscaloosa had 43 points and finished third. The Saints have now won eight straight girls’ indoor state titles. Scottsboro won the Class 4A/5A boys’ championship with 103 points. Winfield, thanks in part to a 40-point effort by senior Trey Cunningham, was second with 73. Madison Academy was third with 39.
Coach Charles Tiller’s American Christian Patriots won the Class 1A/3A boys’ and girls’ state championships. The boys had 87 points, Holly Pond was second with 62 and Montgomery Academy finished third with 51. ACA’s girls amassed 121 points while runner-up Westminster of Oak Mountain was second 86, and Whitesburg Christian finished third with 77.
In the individual competition, Winfield’s Trey Cunningham set a new AHSAA indoor state meet overall and Class 4A/5A record in the 60-meter hurdles with a winning time of 7.54 seconds. That mark eclipsed the record he set in the prelims (7.58) and also topped former Hoover sprinter Marlon Humphrey’s previous state mark of 7.80 set in 2013. West Point’s Hunter Appling finished second in the 4A/5A finals with an 8.23 time. That also surpassed the previous 4A/5A mark set by Lezyon Lagard (8.30) of Central-Tuscaloosa in 2013. Appling broke that mark in the prelims as well clocking 8.27.
Cunningham, who also won the Class 4A/5A long jump Saturday to finish with 40 points in the meet, clocked 6.79 seconds to set the AHSAA all-time, all-class indoor state meet record in the Class 4A/5A 60-meter dash finals. The time was just 1/100ths of a second off his best time of the year (6.79) that he ran in the Last Chance Classic at the CrossPlex last weekend. The winning time also gave him a new 4A/5A record – closing his AHSAA indoor career with state meet records in the 60 overall, in 4A/5A and in 1A/3A. He also won the long jump Saturday with a 23-foot, 1-inch leap.
Jayla Kirkland of Woodlawn also set a new overall and Class 4A/5A state meet record in the 60-meter dash Saturday with a 7.48 time. She held the mark with 7.49 in 2014 and 2015 in Class 6A. She holds the CrossPlex record as well with a 7.46 time she ran last weekend in the Last Chance Classic regular season meet.
Dan Passen of Xpress Timing, the official meet electronic timer, also set up a camera to get all runners’ 55-meter times in the two races. Cunningham’s time of 7.00 (6.998) tied the national record in that event set last year by Grant Holloway of Grassfield High School in Cheseapeake (VA) at a meet in New York City.
Cunningham’s time also surpassed the AHSAA overall state record (7.39) in the 55-meter hurdles, now discontinued. It was set by Hoover’s Chris Butler in 1998 at Priceville’s Celebration Arena. Cunningham was clocked at 6.33 seconds by the 55-meter clock in the 60 he ran Saturday. That too was faster than the AHSAA overall state mark in that discontinued event. Sidney Lanier’s Chris Chukuma established the record (6.46) in 1996. The high school national record in the 55 is 6.08 seconds, set by Marvin Bracey of Orlando-Boone High School (FL) in 2012.
Kirkland’s time at the 55-meter distance of her race was 6.95 seconds, faster than the AHSAA indoor state record (7.18) owned by Laquinta Aaron of N0rthridge in 2006.
Caitlyn Little of Hoover, who won the 60-meter hurdles, was clocked at 7.96 by the 55-meter clock. The AHSAA 55-meter dash indoor record (8.10) was set by Jihan Trone of Hewitt-Trussville in 2000. That event was discontinued after 2007.
Four runners broke the Class 7A girls’ 1,600-meter state meet record Saturday with Mountain Brook’s Anna Grace Morgan winning with a 4:59.96 time. Huntsville’s Abby Zane was second (5:04.74), Harper McGowan of Auburn (5:07.70) was third and Grace Jensen of McGill-Toolen Catholic (5:07.86) was fourth. Frances Patrick Mountain Brook set the previous record in 2016 (5:07.88).
Auburn’s Erik Ebel set a new CrossPlex record in the shot put with a winning throw of 58 feet, 11 inches in the Class 7A boys’ competition. He was still well short of the AHSAA’s oldest standing record, Frank Warren’s 63-foot, 6 ½-inch toss in the 1977 state meet for Phillips High School. Warren went on to have an outstanding football career at Auburn University and then spent 14 years in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints. The defensive tackle was also inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame. He is now deceased.
Highlights from Saturday’s races and field events:
CLASS 7A GIRLS
60-meter dash: Sparkman’s Lauryn Hall, who eclipsed the 7A indoor state meet record in the prelims, erased her own record (7.71) in the finals with a 7.66 time. Kayla Williams of James Clemens had the previous record of 7.73.
400-meter dash: Nicole Payne of Oak Mountain broke her own Class 7A state indoor record by 1/100th of a second to win in 55.24 seconds. The old record set last year was 55.25.
60-meter hurdles: Caitlyn Little of Hoover won the finals heat with an 8.56 time.
High Jump: Genesis Jones of Hoover tied the 7A indoor state record with a 5-04 height. Mountain Brook’s Julia Leonard set the record originally in 2015.
Triple Jump: Alonie Sutton of Smiths Station set a Class 7A record with a winning leap of 39-11.50. The old mark (38-07.50) was set by Kayla Williams of James Clemens in 2015.
4x800-meter relay: Hoover finished first with a winning time of 9:27.55.
4x400-meter relay: The Bucs ran the winning time of 3:59.64, just 11/100ths of a second off the 7A indoor record.
CLASS 6A GIRLS
60-meter dash: Jasmine Griffin’s 7.64 time gave the Homewood sprinter the victory.
60-meter hurdles: Walker’s Maddie Harrell won the finals heat with a 9.01-second time.
400-meter dash: Ann Mosely Whitsett of Homewood won in 58.71 seconds.
High Jump: Caroline Lawrence of Homewood cleared 5-04 to take first place.
Long Jump: Ghania Warren leaped 17-10.75 to win the event for Opelika.
4x400-meter relay: Homewood’s winning time of 3:54.26 set a new Class 6A indoor stat meet record. Hoover set the old mark (3:56.58) in 2014.
4x800-meter relay: Fort Payne won in 10:00.22.
CLASS 4A/5A GIRLS
400-meter dash: Senior Jayla Kirkland of Woodlawn set a new class indoor state meet record with her winning time of 56.92. Iris Robinson of Parker had held the 4A/5A record (57.95) since 2012. Kirkland holds the CrossPlex record (54.43).
1,600-meter run: Class 4A/5A indoor state meet record holder Amaris Tyynismaa of Montgomery Catholic won with a 5:04.91 time. She was just shy of the record (5:01.36) she set in 2015.
Long Jump: Claire West of Madison Academy won with a 14-06 winning leap.
High Jump: Danielle Shears of Mortimer Jordan edged Jalyn Bowen of Brewbaker Tech. Each cleared 5-04 but Shears had fewer misses.
4x800-meter relay: St. Paul’s won easily with a time of 10:13.23.
4x400-meter relay: Central-Tuscaloosa sped to first place with a 4:12.06 finish.
CLASS 1A/3A GIRLS
60-meter dash: Payton Metcalf of Westminster-Oak Mountain had an 8.08 time to win the final heat. She also ran 8.08 Friday for the fastest time of the prelims.
60-meter hurdles: Kayleigh Atkins of American Christian won with a 9.35 time. Teammate Helen Claire Edmonds finished second at 9.70.
400-meter dash: Prattville Christian’s Jaime Drouin won with a 1:01.06 time.
1,600-meter run: Hannah Tarwater of Whitesburg Christian beat the field with a time of 5:14.22.
High Jump: Rachel Faucett of Pleasant Valley set a new 1A/3A high jump record clearing 5 feet, 7 inches. The old record (5-06) was set by Yutta Shelton of Randolph in 1981.
Triple Jump: Helen Clair Edmonds of American Christian won the event with a winning leap of 35 feet, 8 ¾ inches.
4x800-meter relay: Westminster of Oak Mountain won the race with a time of 10:22.96.
4x400-meter relay: Westminster also captured the final race of the 1A/3A girls’ competition with a time of 4:20.75, just a second off the 13-year-old state record set by Madison County in 2004.
MONTGOMERY -- The Alabama High School Athletic Association is partnering with the National Association of Sports Officials to bring the 2020 NASO Officials Summit to Montgomery and the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. The announcement was made jointly by AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese and NASO president Barry Mano.
The AHSAA will be the summit’s education sponsor.
“The AHSAA is committed to providing the best training and professional development possible for our more than 7,000 contest officials,” Savarese said. “The NASO Officials Summit will bring more than 500 sports officials from across the U.S. to Alabama and will have a major economic impact on Montgomery and the state. “We are very excited to be able to host this summit. Some of the greatest minds in sports officiating will be here as clinicians. It affords the AHSAA and our state’s sports officials an incredible opportunity.”
Mano, the founder and publisher of Referee Magazine and the NASO Summit, said he is excited about bringing the event to Montgomery. The Summit has been held annually across the nation since 1981 with year’s event set for Louisville (KY) and last year’s event held at San Antonio (TX).
“The enthusiasm and vision of Steve Savarese, (AHSAA Director of Officials) Mark Jones and the AHSAA Board has been extraordinary,” Mano said. “In July, 2020, the NASO Sports Officiating Summit will be held at the Renaissance Montgomery. In conjunction, the AHSAA will stage “Officiate Alabama Day”. It will be historic in size and scope. It will educate and pay honor to the men, women and young people who make high school sports in Alabama safe, fair and life-building for all who play.
“The energy and belief of the AHSAA and the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center makes me and our NASO staff already itching to come to Montgomery. It will be extraordinary.”
The mission of the NASO is to not only provide the best and most up-to-date information for sports officials but serve as the leading source of sports officiating information, programs and services. Members of the NASO include officials from the professional, collegiate and high school levels for a vast variety of sports including baseball, basketball, football, wrestling, volleyball, soccer, track and field, cross country, swimming and diving and competitive cheer.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to host this most prestigious event for sports officiating,” said Jones. “The speakers at the NASO Summit are some of the most successful officials in their sports in the country at any level. A benefit of hosting the National Summit is that it provides for an “Officiate Alabama Day” on the Saturday prior to the Sunday opening of the Summit. Officials from all sports across the state of Alabama will have the opportunity to attend Alabama Day and learn from the top officials in the country.”
The AHSAA’s Jones will be a speaker at this summer’s NASO Summit at Louisville. Among this year’s speakers are legendary sports officials and industry leaders Jerry Markbriet, Billy Kennedy, Steve Shaw, Joe Crawford, Dean Blandino, Bill Carollo, Scott Green, Marcy Weston, Sandra Serafini, Steve Javie, Tom Lopes, Terry Gregson, Joan Powell and Mike Pereira. , who will be a speaker at the 2017 NASO Summit at Louisville in July.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has announced ALFA Mutual Insurance Company has realigned with the AHSAA as a corporate partner of the association. The three-year agreement begins a new partnership that will last through the 2018-2019 school year.
“Alfa Insurance® is honored to partner with the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) in promoting hard work, health, sportsmanship and scholarship through sports,” remarked Jimmy Parnell, Director of ALFA. “With offices in all 67 Alabama counties, Alfa® is committed to strengthening the communities we serve.”
Through the partnership, ALFA will become the presenting sponsor of the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s annual Mr. and Miss Basketball Awards Banquets and has designated one AHSAA football playoff game each week as the ALFA Game of the Week. Local agents across the state have been present at each ALFA Game of the Week showing the company’s support of Alabama high school athletics.
“The AHSAA’s relationship with ALFA goes back many years,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We are delighted to welcome them. They have been supportive of our high schools for many years. We also are committed to our relationship with the ASWA and are pleased that ALFA’s renewed commitment will include support for the ASWA’s annual Mr. and Miss Basketball awards program.”
The AHSAA’s coaching arm, the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), has worked closely with the ASWA to support its awards banquets. The Mr. and Miss Basketball awards have been selected and presented by the ASWA’s panel of high school sportswriters annually since 1984.
ALFA representatives will attend the ASWA banquet and assist in presenting the awards, including the Mr. Baseball and Miss Softball awards presented at the ASWA’s annual summer convention.
ASWA president John Zenor, ASWA Prep Committee co-chairman Paul Beaudry and AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said both organizations are pleased to have ALFA as a presenting sponsor.
"We're extremely honored and grateful for ALFA's generosity and the tireless work of the AHSAA and the coaches and ADs,” Zenor and Beaudry said. “This helps ensure ASWA can continue to honor some of the best and brightest of Alabama's high school student-athletes in our most important events."
Parnell said the ALFA and AHSAA share many common goals.
“AHSAA’s mission mirrors our own, which is to Serve, Grow and Be Healthy. High school athletics help students achieve those goals by encouraging teamwork as well as physical and emotional development,” said Parnell. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with AHSAA in supporting Alabama’s next generation of leaders.”
The AHSAA serves 411 senior high and an additional 335 junior high and middle school members with more than 150,000 students participating in 24 championship programs for boys and girls. Since 1921, the AHSAA has provided not only opportunities for interscholastic athletic competition, but also a platform for student-athletes to gain life-long memories and experience important life lessons through mentorship, teachers, coaches and administration.
Birmingham-based sports marketing and event management company Knight Eady works with the AHSAA to manage the Super 7 Football State Championships and Basketball State Finals as well as corporate partner program.
With its partnership with the AHSAA, ALFA is directly supporting the student-athletes, schools and communities of Alabama through the AHSAA Revenue Sharing Program. Over the past six years, the program has given back over $9.8 million to the member schools. The AHSAA is thankful to the commitment of ALFA and all of the corporate partners for their generosity and support of high school athletics in the state of Alabama.