Thompson’s Weltzin, Chelsea’s Butler earn runner-up finishes as seven area wrestlers place at state championship
Published 4:05 pm Saturday, January 20, 2024
By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor
BIRMINGHAM – The top wrestlers from the Thompson Warriors, Chelsea Hornets and Montevallo Bulldogs got their chance to shine in the AHSAA Girls Wrestling State Championship and earned their place among the best on the mat in Alabama.
After two days of competition at Thompson High School from Jan. 17-18, seven different area wrestlers reached the placement matches at the Birmingham CrossPlex’s Bill Harris Arena on Friday, Jan. 19, and Thompson’s Lynleigh Weltzin and Chelsea’s Heather Butler led the way with second-place finishes.
Weltzin finished in second place in the 120-pound division after taking four wins in the tournament to reach the finals.
After entering the tournament with a 34-4 record, she quickly earned herself a win in her first match over Arab’s Bella Partington with a pin 53 seconds into their match.
She then booked her spot in the quarterfinals with a 49-second pin against Cleburne County’s Layla Poore in the round of 16.
From there, she reached the final day of competition by defeating Brianna Torres Rivera from Baker with another first-period fall, this one coming at the 1:32 mark.
The next day at Bill Harris Arena, she then punched her ticket to the finals by defeating Jenna MacDonald at the 2:45 mark with a pin.
While she fell in the finals to Enterprise’s undefeated Evelyn Holmes-Smith, she still earned a runner-up finish in the 120-pound division.
The area’s other finalist was Butler, who was the runner-up in the 152-pound division.
Butler had an automatic bye to the quarterfinals with her 28-3 record, and she made it to the final day by defeating Auburn’s Emily Lehr thirty seconds into their match.
She then reached the championship round by pinning Teegan Robinson of Northside Methodist at the 3:32 mark of their semifinal showdown.
That wrapped up at least a second-place finish for Butler before her finals showdown with Enterprise’s Mackenzi Schultz. While she lost to the undefeated Schultz, she still stood on the podium as the runner-up.
Thompson’s Aenaya Vines secured another top-three finish for the Warriors by coming in third in the 138-pound division.
Vines started the tournament by beating Bob Jones’ Viktoria McCombs with a pin 44 seconds into the match.
She then beat Jessica Cook of Sparkman by pinning her at the 1:13 mark to book her place in the semifinals.
While Vines lost to Buckhorn’s Bianca Hart to start out the final day, she finished strong by beating Auburn’s Hayden Kendall in the consolation semifinals with a pin at the 1:39 mark before topping Daphne’s Annabelle Harris with a first-period pin at the 1:34 mark to earn third place.
Two more Thompson wrestlers reached the consolation finals as Estella Islas earned fourth in the 145-pound division and Mary Martin claimed fourth place in the 107-pound division.
Islas had a bye to the round of 16 where she beat Mortimer Jordan’s Mia Barker by a 9-2 decision.
She then reached the semifinals by earning a fall against Grissom’s Jessalynn Allen at the 4:00 mark in their match.
After losing to Daphne’s Kimber Alford in the semifinals, she took a 2-0 decision against Saraland’s Jolene Walls to reach the consolation finals and wrap up a fourth-place finish.
Martin took a long road to secure fourth place in the 107-pound division, first beating Foley’s Hailey Gentry in the first round with a 43-second pin before she was pinned by Saraland’s eventual state champion Kloe Robb in the second round.
She overcame that early loss with seven wins in the consolation bracket, all of which came from a pin in the first two periods.
Her consolation semifinals win over Central-Phenix City’s Tabitha James with a pin at the 1:33 mark secured a fourth-place finish.
Montevallo’s Amylia Thomas secured a sixth-place finish after making a run to the quarterfinals in the 120-pound division.
She won her first match against W.S. Neal’s Kirsten Still by pinning her at the 1:10 mark and reached the quarterfinals with a 15-13 sudden victory win over Hazel Green’s Kadence Sullivan.
While she didn’t reach the semifinals, she earned two wins in the consolation bracket to guarantee a sixth-place finish. She defeated Buckhorn’s Olivia Goldsmith with a pin at the 2:47 mark and beat Arab’s Bella Partington with a 12-3 major decision to reach the consolation semifinals.
Thompson’s Talita Vas also placed at state by earning seventh in the 145-pound division. After reaching the third-round with a pin against Lincoln’s Kaneshia Garrett, she fell in the third round but made a great run in the consolation bracket.
She reached the seventh consolation round with two pins and an 18-2 technical fall, and after her run for the top-three ended there, she bounced back to beat Brookwood’s Lainey Green with a fall at the 2:10 mark to secure seventh place.