Dynasty continues: Thompson 3-peats as wrestling state champions
By DAWN HARRISON | Special to the Reporter
HUNTSVILLE – If you happened to be standing outside the Von Braun Center in Huntsville at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, you witnessed the Thompson Warriors’ wrestling team running outside and sprinting in jubilation to the fountain nearby.
For the third year in a row and eight time in the last 10 years, every wrestler on the team and even some administration jumped into the icy fountain on a 50-degree day to celebrate a state title.
The Warriors were able to celebrate after scoring 166.5 points in the Class 7A state tournament, which edged out the Vestavia Hills Rebels by 13 points for the championship.
It marked the third state championship in a row for the Warriors, while they’ve also won eight of the last 10 and just picked up a second consecutive duals title as well.
Thompson took just a half-point lead into the final day of competition after a misconduct penalty and disqualification negated several points for the Warriors, but on the final day of action, they were able to claim five state championships and nine podium finishes to pick up the championship.
Following the state champions, the Warriors had two second place finishers, one finish in third and two finish in fourth.
Blaise Albarado, Yanni Vines, James Latona and Emmanuel Oliver were the three to claim individual state championships, while also posting 86.5 of Thompson’s 166.5 points.
Albarado picked up a pin in the quarterfinals, a 10-4 decision in the semifinal and then another pin in the championship match to win the 106-pound weight class.
In the 113-pound weight class, Yanni Vines was able to claim two tech fall victories to earn a spot in the championship match where he picked up a tight decision win over Spain Park’s J.R. Thompson.
James Latona, who has been one of the state’s best wrestlers, got a bye in the quarterfinal round, but picked up a pin and a dominant major-decision win in the next two wins to claim the title in the 126-pound weight class.
His win in the championship came against Bryant Segars of Vestavia Hills, which played a role in the final score.
Emmanuel Oliver picked up another strong win for the Warriors when he grabbed three consecutive tech fall wins to claim the 132-pound weight class.
Then, Will Miller closed out the wins for Thompson when he picked up back-to-back decision wins in the semifinals and the championship to claim first and a state championship in the 152-pound weight class.
Michael Jackson (195) and Ashunti Perry (160) both claimed finishes of second, while William Browder (170) picked up a third place finish.
Jackson won his quarterfinal and semifinal matches with a pin and major decision, respectively, before losing a 7-3 decision in the championship match.
Perry also won his first two matches with a major decision and a decision, before losing a 3-1 decision in the championship.
Beyond that, Cory Jones (120) and Will Garrett (145) finished in fourth in their respective weight class.
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