Thompson wrestlers finish second at sectionals ahead of state meet

Published 2:53 pm Monday, February 13, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

BIRMINGHAM – The Thompson Warriors will officially have a chance to win their second consecutive Class 7A State Championship after the Warriors qualified 12 of 14 wrestlers for the state tournament at this year’s North Super Section Feb. 10-11.

Competing in Birmingham, the Warriors had three section champions, five additional top-three finishes and four more who finished inside the top six  to total 226.5 points, which was just 12.5 points behind section winner Vestavia Hills.

Thomas Giere, Devin Stone and Carson Freeman were the three biggest highlights at this year’s section meet thanks to each winning an individual championship ahead of the state tournament.

Giere finished first in the 120-pound weight class after picking up two pins, a technical fall and a tight 5-3 decision in the championship match against Hewitt-Trussville’s Bradley Hastings.

Stone’s path to winning the152-pound division started with a bye in the first round. He followed that with a pin, a 12-7 decision victory and a pin over Vestavia Hills’ Mac Chandler in the championship round.

One of the more thrilling championship runs came from Freeman in the 170-pound weight class. He won his first two matchups via pins before settling in for two decision wins.

Freeman won his semifinal matchup by a score of 7-1 over Hewitt’s Delvecchio Alston, while he then followed that with an even more slim 3-1 win over Spain Park’s Jackson Mitchell in the championship round.

Beyond those three first-place finishers, Kiowa Vines (132) also had a successful run to the championship match, ultimately finishing second.

Vines picked up two pins and a tech fall to start his trek, but the ultimately fell via major decision to Huntsville’s Yanik Simon in the first-place match.

The Warriors also had four different wrestlers claim third place.

Jordan Weltzin (126), Nick Dempsey (138), Paxton Miller (160) and Nathan Black (182) all did well enough to grab a third-place finish at this year’s sectional tournament.

Weltzin’s path was a long one that saw him start with a pin and 6-4 decision win before a 4-0 decision loss became his only hiccup. He responded with back-to-back pins to claim third place.

It wasn’t much different for Dempsey, who started with a bye and a 12-1 major decision victory before losing a 10-6 decision. He then came back to finish with a pin and 15-0 technical fall to finish third.

Miller also won his first two matchups, picking up a pin in both, before falling in a very tight 6-4 decision in the semifinals. He bounced back with a 4-0 decision and pin to close out his final two matches.

Black’s path was almost identical, winning his first two matches with pins and then dropping his third via technical fall to Spain Park’s William Conlon. Black followed with two consecutive pins from there to finish the tournament.

With the top six wrestlers from each weight class qualifying for state, four others also did enough to advance for Thompson.

Will Atkinson (106), Caleb Gray-Lowe (113), Parker Edmondson (145) and Avery Clark (220) all finished sixth in their respective weight class to get a shot at a state championship.

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