Spain Park, Thompson start wrestling season strong

Published 11:10 am Tuesday, November 20, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

GULF SHORES – The Spain Park Jaguars and Thompson Warriors kicked off the 2018-19 high school wrestling season at the Gulf Coast Clash Friday, Nov. 16, through Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Mobile Civic Center, and each team had plenty to build off of moving forward.

For the defending state champion Warriors, it was a dominant start to the new season as they look to build off of last year’s success to repeat as state champs this season, while the Jags had plenty of reasons to be excited about this year’s squad as well.

For Thompson, it was just an all-around impressive performance with 13 of the Warriors’ 29 wrestlers finishing inside the top three. Of those 13, five finished as individual champions in their weight class.

In the 106-pound weight class, Yanni Vines was able to finish the tournament a perfect 4-0 to earn a first-place finish, thanks to 4-2 decision win in his final match.

James Latona also finished a perfect 4-0 to take home a championship after picking up a 14-2 major decision in the first-place match.

In the 132-pound division, Chandler Akin posted a 5-0 record to also bring home a championship with yet another decision win (8-2).

Despite two losses, Bradon Gray also earned a spot in the championship round and took down Andrew Shelton of Hewitt-Trussville with a fall to claim first in the 145-pound division.

Tyler Gilson was responsible for Thompson’s best record going 8-0 in the 182-pound weight class. He also won by a decision (5-1) in the first-place match to add another strong individual effort.

One weight class higher in the 195-pound division, Alex Ward was just one victory behind Gilson with a 7-0 record. He picked up a first-place win with a 4-1 decision victory in the final match.

Isaac McAdams, Derek Hussey and Seth Gatlin all made their way to a first-place match, but ended up falling to finish second.

Spain Park only sent nine wrestlers to the event, but of those nine, four finished inside the top five, while six finished inside the top nine of their weight class.

Jaxon Bast, one of the top wrestlers returning in the state this years, won the Jaguars’ only title with a 6-4 decision in the 285-pound championship match to finish the event 6-0.

Behind that, Spain Park had two top-three finishers in Andrew Moses and Jack Rivers, who are also two strong returnees.

Moses won his third-place match with a pin to finish the event 5-1, while Rivers won with a 7-4 decision to finish the event 5-2 overall.

Caelen March finished in fifth with a 4-1 decision in the fifth-place match to earn another top-five finish for the Jaguars.

Outside of that, Brandon Fortonberry and Fishcer Harrison earned ninth and 10th in their respective weight classes.