Shelby County wrestlers finish 5th at state, Montevallo also performs well

Published 10:17 pm Sunday, February 18, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HUNTSVILLE – The Shelby County Wildcats and Montevallo Bulldogs turned in podium-worthy performances at the state wrestling championships at Huntsville’s Propst Arena at the Von Braun Center on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Shelby County placed four different wrestlers in the top two of their divisions, and Nick Sykes headlined that with a state championship.

He won the 132-pound championship in Class 5A with a 3-0 weekend to put the finishing touches on a 56-2 record for the season.

He started the week with a pinfall victory in the quarterfinals against Alexandria’s Ball Dakota at the 1:05 mark of their match.

From there, he had to see out decisions in his next two matches to secure the state title.

He won his semifinal matchup over Beauregard’s Reese Thorn by a score of 7-3, paving the way for an even bigger victory in the finals.

He pitched a shutout in the first-place match against Jasper’s Antonio Nash, winning 7-0 to take the state championship.

In addition, Shelby County had three second-place finishers in Xander Shook, Cole Sykes and Keith Castleberry.

Shook won his first two matches to secure second place in the 165-pound division in Class 5A.

He started his run with an 11-2 major decision win in the quarterfinals over John Carroll’s Jimmy McMillan.

Shook then reached the finals by pinning Tallassee’s Christian McCary at the 2:40 mark in their semifinal match.

He lost in the finals in the first sudden victory by a score of 3-1, but he still earned runner-up honors to close out a 52-5 campaign.

Cole Sykes came in second place in the Class 5A 175-pound division thanks to a pair of wins in Huntsville.

He cruised to two technical fall wins en route to the finals. He won in the quarterfinals after earning a 16-1 lead by the 3:26 mark of the match and shutout his semifinal opponent 15-0, earning the final point with just one second left in the match.

He lost by just two points in the finals in a 5-3 decision, securing a second-place finish at state to end his 58-2 season.

Castleberry also earned a runner-up finish for the Wildcats in the 215-pound division of Class 5A.

He started the tournament with a pinfall win over Elberta’s Austin Harrison, scoring the pin at the 1:23 mark of their quarterfinal showdown.

Castleberry then reached the finals by edging out Tallassee’s Jude Rogers by a 5-4 decision. He would go on to finish second and end the season with a 46-3 record.

Montevallo had two wrestlers place in the Class 1A-4A state championship as Drew Adams and Shayr Perez Garcia secured top-five honors.

Adams came in third place after he earned three wins in the 1A-4A 165-pound tournament.

After earning a first-round bye, Adams’ first match against Corner’s Troy Thomas went down to the wire. Adams needed the ultimate tiebreaker to earn the 3-2 victory and advance to the semifinals.

While Adams lost in the semifinals, he earned a pair of wins in the consolation bracket to secure third place.

He pinned Thomasville’s Antoine Pitts at the 4:09 mark of their consolation semifinals match to advance to the third-place match, where he defeated St. James’ Pruitt Conner by a 6-2 decision to cap off a 29-8 campaign with a third-place finish.

Shayr Perez Garcia ended his season by earning fifth place in the 1A-4A 175-pound championship.

After Perez Garcia lost in the first round, he made a run through the consolation bracket with three wins in his next four matches.

He defeated Prattville Christian’s Carter Copeland by a 9-7 decision and Weaver’s Hunter Hise by an 11-6 decision to advance to the consolation semifinals.

While he fell short in his bid to reach the third-place match, he came back to earn fifth place with a third-period pin against Ashville’s Mika Smith. He pinned Smith at the 5:10 mark of their match to end his season with a win and a top-five finish at state.