Spain Park, Thompson, Oak Mountain wrestlers claim sectional championships, qualify for state

Published 10:28 am Tuesday, February 13, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

BIRMINGHAM – With spots in the state championship on the line, wrestlers from Spain Park, Thompson, Oak Mountain and Chelsea stepped up to the challenge and punched their tickets to Huntsville at the north sectional championship from Feb. 10-11 at Bill Harris Arena.

Thompson also had a strong showing in the team standings, claiming second place to solidify it as one of the contenders for the Class 7A team championship.

Spain Park’s Bradley Williams and Kyle Oliveira will enter the state championship undefeated after winning their respective divisions at sectionals.

Williams is now 51-0 after earning four first-period pins with each match ending before the 90-second mark. He defeated Bob Jones’ Jack Shaver in the finals with a pin at the 26-second mark to secure the sectional championship.

Oliveira secured three pins to improve to 49-0 and win the 215-pound sectional championship. After earning a first-round bye, he beat Oak Mountain’s Cole Gamble in the first period to reach the state tournament.

He then persevered to pin Huntsville’s Griffin McKinney at the 5:06-mark of the match before defeating Bob Jones’ Gideon Roll 1:36 into their championship match.

Both Jags will be joined in Huntsville by London Ford, who defeated Hoover’s Bryce Mentzer and Grissom’s Jaxon Lambert by first-period pins reach the semifinals and qualify for the 106-pound state championship.

In that same 106-pound division, Oak Mountain’s Jameson Thomas won the sectional championship.

Thomas is now 36-3 after winning his first two matches by first-period pins to qualify for the state championship followed by a 3-0 decision win in the semifinals and a 4-0 decision victory over Hewitt-Trussville’s Gavin Bittle in the championship match.

Four members of the Thompson Warriors won their sectional championships, including Jordan Weltzin, Kiowa Vines, Paxton Miller and Avery Clark.

Weltzin qualified for the 132-pound state championship with a pair of decisions in the opening two rounds. He then reached the sectional championship with a pin at the 3:31-mark against Vestavia Hills’ Colyn Finley and defeated James Clemens’ Ethan Johnson by a 4-0 decision in the finals.

Vines will compete for the 138-pound state championship after earning pins in his opening two matches, both coming before the 2:30-mark of the match. He defeated Chelsea’s Landon Keith with a pin at the 2:19-mark in the semifinals and won an 8-4 decision over Huntsville’s Jake Ciccolella to claim the sectional championship.

Miller qualified for the 157-pound state championship with a pin at the 132-pound mark of his quarterfinal match. He then won a pair of major decisions to win the sectional championship, including a 15-7 decision over Hewitt-Trussville’s Jacob Triplett in the finals.

Clark won three straight matches to improve to 53-6 and reach the 190-pound state championship bracket. He qualified with a pin at the 3:47-mark of his quarterfinal match.

After reaching the finals with a pin at the 1:43-mark in the semifinals, he beat Hewitt-Trussville’s Delvecchio Alston by a 4-0 decision to take the title.

They will be joined at the state championship by seven of their teammates: 106-pounder Braylen Johnson, 113-pounder Will Atkinson, 144-pounder Henry Betke, 150-pounder Nic Dempsey, 165-pounder Jaiden Moore, 175-pounder Wyatt Massey and 285-pounder Marley Cholewinski.

Dempsey came in second place after securing two first-period pins to reach the finals. Cholewinski finished third thanks to his four wins in the consolation bracket.

In addition to Thomas, Oak Mountain will send 113-pounder Trey Denny, 120-pounder Griffin Gardner, 126-pounder Quinn Ivey, 150-pounder Jesse Palmer, 157-pounder Coleman Sovine and 215-pounder Peyton Gamble to state.

Chelsea had a trio of third-place finishes to send three wrestlers to state. Landon Keith qualified out of the 138-pound division, Adam Cornwell reached Huntsville in the 157-pound division and Porter Schott will compete for a state title in the 190-pound division.