Four Wildcats wrestlers win sectionals as Shelby County, Montevallo reach state

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY – Four wrestlers from the Shelby County Wildcats will walk into the state championship with a title already in hand as Nick Sykes, Xander Shook, Cole Sykes and Keith Castleberry each won their divisions at the south sectional championship at Garrett Coliseum from Feb. 10-11.

Their wins headline strong showings from both Shelby County and Montevallo as five Wildcats and four Bulldogs qualified for the state championship in Huntsville.

Nick Sykes won the 132-pound division in Class 5A with three straight wins. After he qualified for the state championship with a 15-second pin over John Carroll’s William Gaines, he defeated Elberta’s Bennet Tyler with a 15-1 technical fall at the 4:00-mark of their semifinals match.

He then won a 3-1 decision over Gulf Shores’ Noah Guthrie to take the title and improve to 53-2 on the season.

Shook took home the championship in the Class 5A 165-pound division with three wins on the day. He earned a pin at the 2:28-mark of his quarterfinal match before taking a 7-4 decision in the semifinals against Gulf Shores’ Miles Stoufflet.

After winning the title by way of a medical forfeit, Shook enters the state championship with a 50-4 record.

Cole Sykes cruised to the 175-pound championship in Class 5A by taking four straight victories by pinfall. He won each of his first three matches in 31 seconds or less before defeating Gulf Shores’ Weston Reed at the 2:41-mark in their championship match to improve to 56-1 on the year.

Castleberry took his record to 44-2 with four wins in the Class 5A 215-pound bracket. He qualified for the state championship with two first-period pins and reached the finals with a pin at the 2:21-mark of his semifinal match.

He then took the title with a 6-2 decision win over Talladega’s Jude Rogers in the first-place match.

Garrett Slaughter will join the four of them as Shelby County representatives at the state championship. He earned fourth place in the Class 5A 126-pound division after winning his quarterfinal match with a second-period pin and a earning a 50-second pin in the consolation bracket.

Montevallo had four state qualifiers as Angel Romero, John Baggett, Drew Adams and Shayr Perez Garcia qualified for the Class 1A-4A state championship.

Romero claimed second place in the 138-pound division with three wins. He took a pair of wins by major decision to reach the semifinals, and he defeated Montgomery Catholic’s James Ingalls with a second-period pin to earn a spot in the finals.

Adams made a run to the finals in the 165-pound division and earned second place. He got to the championship match with three straight first-period pins, including a pin against Escambia County’s Mirio Crenshaw at the 1:40-mark in the semifinals.

Perez Garcia secured fifth place in the 175-pound bracket with three wins in his four matches in the consolation bracket. He capped off the weekend with a 22-17 decision win in the fifth-place match.

Baggett qualified for the 157-pound state championship after making a run to sixth place. He reached the quarterfinals before taking a loss, but he bounced back to win a pair of matches by second-period pins to secure sixth place.