Johnson wins title Oak Mountain, Pelham place at state meet

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Oak Mountain and Pelham high schools combined to send 14 wrestlers to the AHSAA state wrestling meet at the Pelham Civic Complex last weekend.

Six of them placed, with Pelham senior Ben Johnson claiming the state title in class 6A’s 189-pound weight class.

Johnson (44-1) defeated Tim Gaydosh of Vestavia Hills in the championship match by a score of 5-2.

&uot;He worked harder in the third period than I’ve ever seen him work,&uot; said Pelham coach Bob Parker.

After a scoreless first period, Johnson found himself with a slight advantage in the final moments of the match.

&uot;Ben shot in with just a few seconds left,&uot; Parker said. &uot;He could have ridden it out, but he was aggressive to the end. That’s what I’ve always liked about him.

&uot;He’s probably the most talented wrestler I’ve ever coached,&uot; Parker said.

Runner-up for a state title last year, Johnson also finished third at the state meet in his sophomore year.

Johnson was sick with pneumonia when he competed at last year’s meet and had to be taken to the hospital after the championship match.

&uot;After the hardships he faced last year I thought he deserved (the state championship),&uot; Parker said.

In the 140-pound weight class, Oak Mountain’s J.R. Long (47-8) claimed second place after falling 2-1 in double overtime to

Derek Carmichael (40-7) of Prattville.

Brandon Lambert (49-8) also claimed second place for the Eagles after he was pinned by Bob Jones’ Ken Trotter (36-1) in the 152-pound weight class.

Junior Tyler Burger placed fourth for Pelham in the 125-pound weight class.

Sophomore Kevin Hendrick and senior Jason Troutman also competed for the Panthers.

Oak Mountain’s Andrew Bell claimed fourth place in the 119-pound weight class while Dennis Hillman finished fourth for the Eagles in the 145-pound weight class.

Also competing for Oak Mountain were Matthew Vinyard, Corey McCallum, Craig Phillips, Mitch Ray and Ryan Pugh.

The 10 Oak Mountain wrestlers that qualified for the state meet were the most the Eagles have sent in the five-year history of the program.

&uot;All the accolades need to go to those guys because they did what it takes to be successful,&uot; said Oak Mountain coach Chris Forrest. &uot;I thought the team did a great job. They worked hard all year.

&uot;I think all the kids that qualified and even some of the ones that didn’t really mean a lot to the school because of the good work ethic they have.&uot;

As a team, the Eagles scored

53 points at the meet and finished seventh in team scoring.

Huntsville’s Grissom High School claimed the 6A state championship, scoring 117.5 points. Vestavia Hills finished second with 111.5 points and Spain Park finished third with 104.

Pelham finished in 11th place with 34 team points