Oak Mountain overtakes Thompson in 7A wrestling rankings

Published 12:27 pm Monday, January 11, 2016

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

The restrictive probation has been lifted from the Thompson wrestling program, but that did not stop the Oak Mountain Eagles from overtaking the Warriors in the latest Southeastwrestling.com rankings for 7A teams in Alabama. Due to the Warriors inactivity and a strong showing from the Oak Mountain wrestling team in the month of December, the Eagles have taken the reigns as the new No. 1 in the state while Thompson has dropped to third, behind Vestavia Hills as well.

As a caveat, these rankings will not have any bearing on postseason performance, and the reality is that the road to the 7A state title will continue to go through Thompson until someone knocks off the five-time defending state champion Warriors. This rankings update says more about the December that Oak Mountain has had as opposed to the month that Thompson did not.

Gabe Hixenbaugh, Dominc Latona and TJ Rayam remained at No. 1 for their respective weight classes for Thompson, despite being limited. Hixenbaugh placed seventh overall in the Kaukauna Cheesehead Invitational in Wisconsin over the weekend of Jan. 9 in the 113-pound division in Thompson’s first tournament of the season and is still the top-ranked wrestler in that class across the state. Latona, the top-ranked wrestler in the 126-pound class, placed eighth at the Cheesehead while Rayam, the two-time defending 285-pound state champion, placed second in the heavyweight class at the tournament as well.

The Eagles currently only have one wrestler, Hall Morton, atop the weight classifications. Morton did not wrestle in the Scott Rohrer Hoover Invitational and has spent time wrestling in the 145-pound class this season as well, but is one of the names to keep an eye on in the 152-pound class moving forward. The Eagles do have four wrestlers in Alex Thomas, Blake Randle, Michael John Harris and Jaried Buxton who are all currently ranked as the No. 2 wrestlers in their classes.

Thomas is the No. 2 wrestler in the 113-pound class behind Hixenbaugh but did not wrestle at the Hoover Invitational and neither did Harris, who is currently ranked second in the 145-pound class. Randle, the No. 2 man in the 126-pound class behind Latona, placed second in the Hoover Invitational to Kolton Clark of Scottsboro in that class. Buxton won the 184-pound competition at the Hoover Invitational and is currently the second-ranked wrestler in that weight class as well.

Now that Thompson is back in the picture, the Warriors will work off the cobwebs in short time to be sure, leaving these two as potentially the two teams with the best chance of taking home the 7A title.