Thompson finishes 2nd at state, three win individual titles

Published 2:10 pm Sunday, February 19, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HUNTSVILLE – The Thompson Warriors didn’t defend their 2022 state championship at this year’s Class 7A AHSAA State Wrestling Tournament, but there were still plenty of highlights on the way to a team finish of second at this year’s event Feb. 16-18.

As a team, they finished with 195 points, which was just 15 points behind state champion Vestavia Hills with 210 in a tight battle to the finish, but the Warriors were able to walk away with three individual state champions.

Thomas Giere, Devin Stone and Carson Freeman all paved their way to the top of the podium with impressive runs at this year’s event. Beyond those three, Kiowa Vines also wrestled for a championship, ultimately finishing second, while three others finished third on the podium.

Giere won the 120-pound weight class with a pin and decision wins of 12-6 and 8-5 after receiving a bye in the opening round. He took down Enterprise’s Kameron Stiffler in the championship match.

It was also an impressive run for Stone, who had to wrestle one additional round. He opened with back-to-back pins and followed with an 11-2 major decision win to earn his spot in the championship. Stone then won a thrilling 3-1 decision victory over Enterprise’s Cody Kirk to claim the championship in the 152-pound division.

Freeman capped off a special season with a hard-fought tournament as well. He started with a pin and followed with a major decision victory. He then capped off his path to the title in the 170-pound weight class with decision wins of 8-5 and 5-1 in the semifinals and championship round, respectively, beating Spain Park’s Jackson Mitchell in the title.

As for Vines, he received a bye in the opening round and then picked up two straight pins to earn his spot in the 132 championship. He fought hard, but Vines ultimately fell to Huntsville’s Yanik Simon in 5-1 decision for the championship.

Nick Dempsey, Paxton Miller and Nathan Black all claimed a spot on the podium as well by finishing third in their respective weight classes.

Dempsey did so in the 138-pound classification. He won his first two matches, but ultimately fell in the semifinals in a 5-4 decision. Dempsey, however, didn’t let the tight, heartbreaking loss break him. He bounced back with a pin and a major decision win of 15-4 to claim third.

In the 160-pound weight class, Miller received a bye and then won a 16-4 major decision to also get in the semis. Similar to Dempsey, he lost a one-point decision in a 4-3 loss, but he also bounced back. Miller responded with a 4-1 decision and a pin to claim third.

Black’s path was also similar. He received a bye and started with a major decision win of 9-1. After that, he lost via pin in the semifinals, but he bounced back with a 7-4 decision and a 9-1 major decision to finish in third as well.

Two others finished just behind in fourth after falling in their third-place matches. Caleb Gray-Lowe (113) and Avery Clark (220) both finished fourth in their respective weight classes.

Jordan Weltzin finished fifth in the 126-pound weight class, winning his fifth-place match after going 3-2 in the tourney.