Spain Park, Chelsea, Oak Mountain all shine at state wrestling tournament

Published 1:59 pm Sunday, February 19, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HUNTSVILLE – With 13 wrestlers competing at the state tournament between them, the Spain Park Jaguars, Oak Mountain Eagles and Chelsea Hornets all put together impressive runs at this year’s AHSAA Class 7A State Wrestling Tournament held at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center Feb. 16-18.

The three combined to have at least one wrestler each competing for a state championship, while three of those went on to win a championship.

It was Spain Park, however, who had the biggest highlight of the three. Not only did they have two wrestlers win individual titles, but the Jaguars also sent the most wrestlers of any team at this year’s tournament to championship matches.

The Jags had six total wrestlers advance to this year’s tournament and five of them went on to pave their way to the championship match.

Bradley Williams, Jackson Mitchell, William Conlon, Kyle Oliveira and Rayshod Burts were the five to do so, guaranteeing at least a finish of second.

Conlon and Burts, however, walked away as individual state champions for the Jaguars.

Conlon did so in the 182-pound weight class with a dominant run to the title. After a bye in the first round, he picked up three consecutive pins, eventually taking down Hoover’s Jack Lamey with a pin in the championship match to claim the top spot on the podium.

As for Burts, he also received a bye in the first round of the 285-pound weight class, but the path wasn’t quite as easy. He picked up a pin in the opening round, but in the heavyweight division, he found himself in tighter battles from there. That didn’t deter him, winning with a 7-2 decision in the semifinals and a 3-0 decision in the championship match to finish first.

The second-place finishers all had thrilling battles as well and just narrowly missed out on titles.

Wrestling in the 138-pound weight class, Williams picked up two pins and a tech fall win to earn his spot in the championship before falling in a very tight 8-7 decision to finish second.

It was a similar run for Mitchell, who picked up a pin and a 3-1 decision win before falling 5-1 in the championship of the 170-pound weight class.

As for Oliveira, he trekked along in the 195-pound weight class, picking up decision wins of 6-2, 7-1 and 10-3 in the first three rounds to earn his spot in the championship. He ultimately fell in a 5-0 decision to Hewitt-Trussville’s Hunter Jones to finish in second.

Oak Mountain accounted for the only other state champion between the three teams with Camden Tipton closing out a remarkable season.

One of the best in the state regardless of weight class, Tipton picked up a pin, an 11-2 major decision win and a 6-3 decision win over Vestavia Hills’ Stone Phillips to walk away with the crown in the 113-pound weight class.

It was a special end to the senior for Tipton, who finished fourth last year and was determined this year to earn redemption.

As for the Chelsea Hornets, they took five wrestlers to state this year. One wrestled for a championship, one finished fourth and one finished fifth.

Kalob Johnstone was the biggest highlight for the Hornets in the 220-pound weight class. He paved his way to the championship match with a 5-2 decision win, a pin and a 4-2 decision win.

Then, in the championship, he lost a heartbreaking sudden victory battle with Vestavia Hills’ Andrew Sykes by a score of 3-1 to fall just short of the title to finish in second.

Ian Osbourn added a finish of fourth for Chelsea in the 195-pound weight class, while Landon Keith finished a spot lower in the 138-pound division.

Osbourn picked up wins in his first two matches to start 2-0 and then fell in a tech fall in the semifinals. He then bounced back with a 6-0 decision before falling in the third-place match in a 15-11 decision loss.

Keith lost his first match but bounced back with back-to-back pins before falling in the consolation semifinals. He then, however, did finish with a major decision win of 19-6 in the fifth-place match.