Thompson wrestling wins seventh consecutive region championship

Published 5:37 pm Monday, January 9, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HOOVER – In one of the most difficult regions in the state, the Thompson Warriors coasted to their seventh consecutive Class 7A, Region 3 Duals Championship on Saturday, Jan. 7.

The Warriors, who are looking to win their fourth AHSAA Duals Championship in a row, will now get a shot after taking down Spain Park, Chelsea, Hewitt-Trussville and Vestavia Hills by at least 17 points in each match.

The closest match was the first of the night against Spain Park, but the Warriors picked up a big lead early and were never in danger of losing.

They jumped out to a 38-6 lead through the first nine weight classes, which was enough to secure the victory with Spain Park only having a possible 36 points left at that point.

Thompson gathered the lead thanks to pins from Jordan Weltzin (126), Kiowa Vines (132) and Devin Stone (152), while Will Atkinson added six points with a forfeit in the 106-pound weight class and Thomas Giere five points in the 120-pound division with a 17-0 technical fall.

The Warriors also got three points each from Caleb Gray-Lowe (113), Parker Edmondson (145) and Paxton Miller (160) thanks to shutout decision wins.

Spain Park did win four of the final five weight classes with two pins and two decision victories, but the Warriors added three more points in the 195-pound weight class with a 7-5 decision from Barron Criddle.

The Warriors then took on the Chelsea Hornets and had another successful tart with 34 points in the first six weight classes.

Grray-Lowe, Giere, Weltzin, Vines and Nick Dempsey (138) all walked away with pins in that stretch, while Atkinson picked up a 12-0 major decision win.

Chelsea put up six points in two of the next three weight classes with decision wins of 8-7 and 7-3, but the Warriors got six more points from a forfeit in that span.

Thompson then got pins from Nathan Black (182) and Marley Cholewinski (285) the rest of the way, while Miller added a 9-2 decision win. Chelsea finished with pins from Ian Osbourn and Kalob Johnston in the 195 and 220 classifications, but it wasn’t enough in a 55-18 win for the Warriors.

Facing off against Hewitt-Trussville next, the Warriors continued their trend of strong starts with wins in nine of the first 10 weight classes.

Hewitt Trussville did win four of the final five, including three pins in that span, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit.

Thompson picked up a 49-24 win thanks to pins from Gray-Lowe, Giere, Dempsey, Stone, Miller and Black, while Weltzin and Vines both finished with tech fall wins.

In addition to that success, Edmondson grabbed a 4-0 decision win to close out Thompson’s scoring in the event.

The final showdown came against rival Vestavia Hills, who the Warriors have beaten for the last two Duals State Championships, but the Warriors came ready to make a statement this time around, which led to their second most dominant effort of the regional tournament.

This time around, Thompson got off to a slow start, losing three of the first four weight classes.

The Rebels, however, only finished with one pin in the match, which became costly.

Despite their success early, they only managed 10 points out of their three wins, while Thompson gained five from a Giere in that span.

The Warriors then picked up back-to-back pins from Vines and Dempsey to gain a 22-10 advantage. They never trailed again from there.

The Rebels responded with a 9-4 decision win, but Thompson picked up pins in four of the next five weight classes as well as a major decision win and forfeit win in addition to that.

The pins came from Miller, Carson Freeman (170), Black and Criddle, while Stone picked up the major decision win and Avery Clark (220) notched the forfeit win.