Warriors claim South Super Sectional, Eagles qualify for state

BY ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

MONTGOMERY – Over the years, Thompson and Oak Mountain have been two of the more prominent wrestling teams in the state, especially in central Alabama, and on Saturday, Feb. 10, the two were back to proving their dominance.

The Warriors and Eagles, along with the Spain Park Jaguars, were all competing for a spot in the state championship at Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum in the South Super Sectional and two of the three ended up punching their ticket.

Thompson, who has looked like the dominant team that won five straight state titles from 2011-15, posted a total of 196.5 points in the overall team standings, which was good enough to capture their second consecutive South Super Sectional Championship by 31 points over Central-Phenix City.

While Thompson, Hoover and Vestavia have combined to win the last 13 state championships in the 7A/6A classification, Oak Mountain tends to be in the hunt every year and that will continue in 2018 as the Eagles qualified right on the number for the state meet.

With the top four teams from the North and South Super Sectionals advancing to state, Oak Mountain was able to take the No. 4 spot in the South Super Sectional with a total of 154 points, which was just behind Hoover’s 162 points in third and Central-Phenix City’s 165.6 points in second.

The Spain Park Jaguars ended up finishing in ninth as a team, which was five spots outside of where the Jags needed to be to qualify as a team, but they will have individual representation at the championship meet.

Both Emmanuel Thuo and Andrew Moses are headed to the state meet thanks to finishing in the top four of their respective weight classes.

Thuo fell in the semifinals of the 126-pound weight class, but rebounded to win the consolation semifinal match to guarantee a top-four finish and a spot at state.

Moses went about things the same way as Thuo, falling in the semifinals of the 195-pound division, but rebounding for a consolation win to cement his spot at state with a fourth-place finish as well.

Cameron Young was another strong wrestler for the Jaguars this season, but a heartbreaking double overtime in the consolation semis kept him out of the state championship in the 285-pound weight class.

The same can be said of Jaxon Bast, who lost in a tight 3-2 decision in the consolation semifinals of the 220-pound division to keep him from making the trip to Huntsville as well.

Individually for Thompson, Dylan Lesueur, Emmanuel Oliver, Chandler Akins, Gabe Hixenbaugh and Alex Ward all picked up first-place finishes in their respective weight classes.

Those five wrestlers were a big part of the sectional win for the Warriors as they picked up at least 20 points in each of the victories.

Aside from the individual sectional champions, Thompson had several other strong showings.

Judah Campbell finished fourth in the 120-pound division, Nathan Roberts finished fourth in the 138-pound division, Derek Hussey finished third in the 152-pound division, William Browder finished third in the 170-pound division, Isaac McAdams finished second in the 195-pound division and Seth Whitlock finished third in the 285-pound division.

The Eagles also had several strong individual performances, including first-place finishes from Sullivan Tipton and Barrett Blakely. It was the consistency of top-four finishes that were the highlights for the Eagles.

Patrick Neal finished fourth in the 106-pound division, Cole Thomas finished second in the 113-pound division, Brett Cruce finished second in the 138-pound division, Camon Clark finished fourth in the 145-pound division, Justin Evans finished third in the 160-pound division, Jacob Goldfon finished third in the 195-pound division and Jordan Davis finished second in the 220-pound division.

Both the Warriors and Eagles will now take their full team to the state championship at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 15-17.

Heading to the state championship meet, Thompson, Vestavia and Central-Phenix City seem to be the favorites to win the 7A crown.