Chelsea, Helena, Pelham sending several to wrestling championship

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

BIRMINGHAM – The Chelsea Hornets, Helena Huskies and Pelham Panthers all converged on the Birmingham CrossPlex’s Bill Harris Arena on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10, for the Class 6A North Super Sectional.

Each of the three local teams was looking to punch their ticket to the AHSAA Wrestling State Championship Feb. 15-17 at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center.

With the top eight teams advancing to state from the North and South Super Sectionals, two of the three teams were able to claim a spot as Chelsea finished in second and Helena finished fifth.

The Hornets gathered a total of 181.5 points, which was solely behind Gardendale’s 207 points. The Huskies weren’t too far behind Chelsea as they totaled 160 points to finish in fifth.

While Pelham finished in 14th as a team, the Panthers did have five wrestlers finish in the top eight of their respective weight class, which was good enough to qualify individually for a spot at the state championship.

Noah Schilleci finished sixth in the 106-pound weight class, Bryce Wanagat placed seventh in the 120-pound weight class, Seth Branham finished in eighth in the 126-pound weight class, Joseph Chimento finished sixth in the 170-pound weight class and Riley Pucket finished seventh in the 285-pound weight class.

While Chelsea didn’t have any champions at the North Super Sectional, the Hornets did have six top five finishers at the event for strong consistency.

Brantley Ledbetter finished second in the 126-pound division, Clint Glaze finished third in the 152-pound division, Elliot Gage finished fourth in the 160-pound division, Sam Ingram finished second in the 170-pound division, Hakeem Stanford finished fifth in the 182-pound division and Caleb Gore finished third in the 195-pound division.

Chelsea also got top seven finishes from Adam Byerman, Ben Byerman, Gavin Rigor, Eli Padgett and Hunter Guarnieri.

Helena was led by the same four wrestlers that have led the team all season.

Will and Alex Miller each picked up first place finishes in the 106-pound and 138-pound weight class, respectively. Behind those two, Nathan Dunaway finished second in the 182-pound weight class and Seaburn Hines finished third in the 285-pound weight class.

Outside of those strong top three finishes, there were several other highlights for the Huskies as well.

Justin Yunke finished sixth in the 113-pound weight class, Blake Breckenridge finished eighth in the 120-pound weight class, William Miller finished sixth in the 126-pound weight class and Cole Pugh finished fifth in the 195-pound weight class.

Both the Hornets and Huskies will now send their full teams to the AHSAA State Wrestling Championship in Huntsville, while Pelham will send five wrestlers looking to claim individual titles.