Shelby County finishes 5th at state, Cole and Nick Sykes claim individual titles

Published 2:06 pm Sunday, February 19, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HUNTSVILLE – The Shelby County Wildcats capped off an impressive 2022-2023 wrestling season at this year’s Class 5A State Wrestling Tournament Feb. 16-18 with every wrestler in attendance placing at this year’s event.

With six wrestlers in attendance, the Wildcats had no wrestler place lower than fourth at this year’s event, while two walked away as individual state champions to help lead the team to a finish of fifth overall.

Cole and Nick Sykes were the two individual state champions, capping off impressive seasons with championship wins.

Cole competed in the 170-pound weight class and ran away with his championship win after opening with back-to-back pins in the quarterfinals and semifinals. That was followed by a dominant 10-4 decision win in the championship over St. Clair County’s Evan Scrivner to claim the title.

As for Nick, he took on several top wrestlers in the state on the way to his championship in the 120-pound weight class, opening with a pin over Donelle Young of Leeds.

He then followed with an ultimate tiebreak win of 9-8 over Moody’s Erius Clark in the semis to earn his spot in the championship. Taking on Alexandria’s Preston Jones, who sat at 46-1 on the season, Sykes picked up a 9-4 decision win to claim the championship.

Caleb Mooney also had an impressive run for the Wildcats, making his way to a championship match as well. He took down Joseph Lomax of Alexandria with a 4-2 decision and Sam Novosel of East Limestone with a 5-4 decision to earn his spot in the championship. He ultimately lost to Evan Phillips of Hayden in a technical fall, but he finished second overall in the 138-pound weight class.

Beyond those three wrestlers, Xander Shook (160), Keith Castleberry (220) and Tanner Stogner (285) all finished fourth.

Shook finished 2-2 with a decision win and major decision win, eventually falling in the third-place match with a 5-1 decision loss. Castleberry also went 2-2 with a 2-1 decision win and a DQ win, while he was pinned in the third-place match. As for Stogner, he picked up two pins in his run, but he lost a tight 1-0 decision in the semifinals and then was pinned in the third-place match.

The Wildcats totaled 84 points as a team to finish fifth as a team at the tournament, finishing behind Gulf Shores with 95 points, Arab with 107 points, Scottsboro with 110.5 points and Jasper with 116.5 points.