Chelsea, Oak Mountain, Spain Park have wrestlers qualify for state

Published 2:49 pm Monday, February 13, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

BIRMINGHAM – The Chelsea Hornets, Oak Mountain Eagles and Spain Park Jaguars had a combined 13 wrestlers earn their spot at this year’s Class 7A State Tournament after finishing inside the top six at the AHSAA North Super Section Feb. 10-11.

The Jaguars will have the most representation at state this year after six wrestlers qualified, while Chelsea was just behind with five and Oak Mountain totaled two.

The Jags were led by three different wrestlers in first place at the sectional tournament, while two finished second and one in sixth.

Bradley Williams, William Conlon and Rayshod Burts were the three to pick up section championships this season.

Williams, who competed in the 138-pound weight class picked up two pins and a tech fall in the first three rounds to pave a dominant path to the championship match where he picked up a thrilling 13-11 decision win to claim first in the weight class.

Conlon also had a dominant path to victory, earning a bye in the first round and then using a pin, tech fall and pen en route to the championship in the 182-pound division.

As for Burts, he wrestled in the 285-pound weight class and the path was similar. He received a bye in the first round and then strung together back-to-back pins before finishing off the championship run with a 2-0 decision.

Jackson Mitchell (170) and Kyle Oliveira (195) weren’t far off those three teammates. Both earned their way into championship matches, ultimately falling to their opponent in that final round.

Mitchell used a bye, a 3-1 decision and a tiebreaker before falling in a tight 3-1 decision, while Oliveira also had a bye before using a pin and major decision to earn a spot in the first-place match where he fell in a 3-0 decision.

Brad Cummings, who wrestled in the 152-pound weight class, finished sixth for the Jaguars in that division to also earn a spot at state.

The Chelsea Hornets didn’t have any individual winners, but they still saw plenty of success at the event.

Kalob Johnstone was the biggest highlight for the Hornets in the 220-pound weight class. The wrestler received a bye in the opening round and then picked up back-to-back pins before losing a tight 8-6 decision to Andrew Sykes of Vestavia Hills.

Beyond him, Tyler Rayford (145) and Ian Osbourn (195) both finished in fourth in their respective weight classes.

Rayford traded win for loss throughout, picking up two decision wins of 8-5 and 73, while he also dropped two matches via pin and a 4-3 decision.

Osbourn’s trek featured a pin and 7-3 decision win in the first two rounds before losses in two of his next three matches. He did win his consolation semifinal matchup by way of a 6-0 decision, which guaranteed him at least fourth.

Those two were followed by Landon Keith (138) and Caiden Connolley (132), who both finished sixth to qualify for state.

Connelly won three matches via two pins and one decision, while he also lost three matches.

Keith went 3-2 in his trek with two pins and a decision win, but he ultimately as part of a double forfeit in the fifth-place match after cementing his spot at state.

As for the Oak Mountain Eagles, Camden Tipton continued a remarkable season by sweeping through the 113-pound weight class to claim first place. He picked up one pin and two decision wins of 6-3 and 5-3.

Trey Denny, who wrestled in the 106-pound weight class, also qualified for state after going 3-3 to finish in sixth. His three wins included a bye, a pin and a 9-0 decision victory.

The state tournament will take place Feb. 16-18 at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center.