Oak Mountain places second, Thompson third at state
Published 10:51 am Monday, February 22, 2016
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
HUNTSVILLE – For the first time in six years, the Thompson wrestling Warriors did not bring a team wrestling state title back to Alabaster. The Warriors, after battling through a season of adversity that was marked by a restrictive probation, finished third in the 7A wrestling state championship behind Vestavia Hills and Oak Mountain. The Eagles placed second, scoring 131 points, which was just three and a half points back from the Rebels. Thompson finished third with 97.5 points.
While the Eagles did beat the Warriors in the team standings, Thompson did finish with more individual state champions than Oak Mountain did, 3-2. Gabe Hixenbaugh, Domnic Latona and TJ Rayam all won individual state titles for Thompson, while Alex Thomas and Michael John Harris won titles for Oak Mountain.
Hixenbaugh, Latona and Rayam were all defending state champions entering the 2016 wrestling tournament. Hixenbaguh, just a freshman, won a state wrestling title as an eighth grader a year ago, and beat Maxwell Kauffman of Central-Phenix City in the 113-pound class via a 3-0 decision. Latona, a senior, beat Quin Estes of Vestavia in the 126-pound division via fall to claim his second-straight individual title to end his high school career. Rayam, a senior as well, beat Armond Lloyd of Oak Mountain via a 7-5 decision to claim his third-straight individual state title in the 285-pound class.
Thomas, a sophomore from Oak Mountain, won the 106-pound class over Tyler Ivey from Grissom via a 3-2 decision. Harris, a senior, won the 138-pound title with a major decision win over Jarrett Anthony of Hoover. While Harris and Thomas were the only individual state champions from Oak Mountain, both Barrett Blakely and Jaried Buxton made it to the championship matches in their respective classifications. Blakely lost in the finals of the 170-pound class to Brooks Schrimsher of Huntsville while Buxton lost the 195-pound title to Bret Winters of Hoover.