Thompson advances to state dual tournament, Oak Mountain, Spain Park, Chelsea wrestlers perform well at regional duals

Published 8:33 pm Monday, January 8, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – The Thompson Warriors are heading to the Class 7A State Dual Tournament after finishing in second place at the Class 7A, Region 3 Duals Tournament on Jan. 5-6 at Thompson High School.

The Warriors finished the weekend with a 4-1 record after defeating Oak Mountain, Spain Park, Chelsea and Vestavia Hills, with their lone loss coming in a razor-tight battle with Hewitt-Trussville.

Thompson opened the day on Friday with a 52-24 win over Oak Mountain as Austin Owen, Jordan Weltzin, Henry Betke, Paxton Miller, Jaiden Moore, and Marley Cholewinski all won their matches by a first-period fall.

In addition, Avery Clark won his match by a third-period fall and Will Atkinson won a 13-0 major decision to close the match.

The Warriors then beat Spain Park 58-21 as 10 Warriors earned victories over the Jags.

Johnson, Atkinson, Owen, Weltzin, Turner Hutson, Miller, Moore, Wyatt Massey, Clark and Dylan Marquess all took home wins.

Thompson faced Vestavia Hills in its third match of the tournament and brought home the 51-21 win.

Atkinson, Gann, Weltzin, Betke, Miller, Moore and Moore all won their matches by fall, while Clark took a 17-6 major decision and Johnson earned a 19-4 technical fall.

With the Warriors sitting at 3-0, they took on Hewitt-Trussville in what would end up being the championship match.

Thompson won four of the first six matches to take a 20-12 lead thanks to wins from Atkinson, Weltzin, Betke and Hutson.

However, as the match went on, the Huskies lurked closely behind and cut the lead to just two points with a pair of decisions in the 165-pound and 175-pound matches.

Clark won his match by a major decision to put the Warriors back up 30-24, but Hewitt won decisions in the 215-pound and 285-pound matches, tying up the dual at 30 and setting up the 106-pound match as the deciding match.

The Huskies’ Gavin Bittle pinned Johnson at the 1:39 mark of the first period to give his team the 36-30 win, and that set Hewitt up to win its final two matches and the regional tournament.

Thompson would finish strong with a 48-30 win over Chelsea in the last match, winning nine straight matches to clinch second place and a spot in the state tournament.

Seven of the nine wins came by way of fall, including pins in less than a minute by Cole Hutchings, Owen and Josiah Turner.

The Warriors will face Huntsville in the quarterfinals of the state tournament on Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

Thompson’s second-place finish was far from the only notable result at the regional duals as Oak Mountain, Spain Park and Chelsea each had impressive showings.

The Oak Mountain Eagles won three of their five matches in the tournament by defeating Tuscaloosa County, Hoover and Spain Park.

After opening the weekend with a loss to Thompson, the Eagles split the opening four matches with Hoover to take a 12-6 lead off pins from Jameson Thomas and Trey Denny.

Oak Mountain would pull away from there to win the next six matches and clinch the match.

James Franklin, Brady Coggin, Drayton Gooch, Jesse Palmer and Coleman Sovine each won their matches to take a commanding lead, and Peyton Gamble earned a pin to put the finishing touches on a 40-26 victory.

The Eagles won their next match with Tuscaloosa County, only dropping two matches en route to a 70-11 win.

Noah Washington, Aaron Farish and Jackson Ingle each secured falls to win and Trey Foster won a 12-2 major decision after the Wildcats forfeited the majority of their matches.

While Oak Mountain lost its fourth match to Hewitt-Trussville, it defeated Spain Park 37-29 thanks to a strong early showing in its final dual.

Thomas, Denny, Griffin Gardner, Coggin, Gooch, Sovine and Foster all won their matches to clinch the win before the Jags took the final four matches of the dual.

As for the Jags, Kyle Oliveira and Bradley Williams both remained undefeated after Oliveira went 3-0 and Williams had a 4-0 record on the weekend.

Oliveira defeated Thompson’s Atkins and Vestavia Hills’ Caleb Boylan by pins and beat Oak Mountain’s Gamble by a 17-2 technical fall.

As for Williams, he pinned Thompson’s Owen Dyson and Oak Mountain’s Palmer and took a 16-6 major decision over Vestavia Hills’ Grayer Manown in addition to a forfeit win.

The Jags’ lone win in the tournament came in the opening match against Tuscaloosa County. Josh Milazzo, Yazan Ismail, John Maalouf, Kristian Carter and London Ford each earned wins in their matches and five more Spain Park wrestlers won by forfeit.

The Jags came close to defeating Vestavia Hills as they lost the match on a tiebreak. In a back-and-forth match which saw the teams remain tightly matched throughout, Spain Park held a 38-32 lead going into the final match.

After the Rebels won the 285-pound match by a second-period pin, the score was tied at 38-38. The match then went to the first tiebreaker for unsportsmanlike conduct, which went Vestavia’s way after the Jags were given a penalty earlier in the match.

Chelsea went 2-1 in the regional tournament by beating Tuscaloosa County and Hoover.

The Hornets shut out Tuscaloosa County 82-0 after Jameson Bolen, Adam Cornwell, Hudson Brakefield, Adam Wheeler, Porter Schott and Logan Sanders each secured a first-period pin.

Chelsea then won a 38-36 nail-biter against Hoover in the next round.

After the Bucs took the first three matches, Chelsea pulled within three points with wins by William Hartsfield, Landon Keith and Tanner Burroughs.

The teams went back and forth as Cornwell and Brakefield also earned wins, and the Hornets took the lead thanks to a decision win for Schott and a pin for Carter Parrish.

Hoover retook the lead with a win in the 285-pound match, which put it up 36-33 going into the last match of the dual.

Bolen came through for Chelsea with a 12-4 major decision to grab the five points and win the dual by two.

Notably, Schott improved 23-4 by pinning Tuscaloosa County’s Carter Rieder and Thompson’s Mitch McPhearson and beating Hoover’s Jayden Mooneyham by a 5-2 decision.