Tigers are state runners-up
Hartselle falls four-and-a-half points short of title
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
PELHAM – Most teams would be overjoyed with a second place finish in the State wrestling championships. Not so for the Hartselle High Tigers.
Junior Kurt Hamilton expressed the view of his teammates as he stated the Tigers had higher goals.
"We didn't work all year for this," Hamilton said. "We didn't come down here to take home second place."
The disappointment may have been fueled by how close Hartselle came to taking home the top prize. The Tigers lost by only four and a half points, Homewood won the title by totaling 106.5 points to 102 for Hartselle.
The Tigers led 102 to 100.5 as the last Homewood wrestler took to the mat in the finals of the 171-pound weight class. Most observers could not recall a closer finish in the state finals, including Hartselle coach Keith Corder.
"I've never seen it this tight," Corder said. " There are three teams within 10 points of each other, I don't recall it ever being like this. I'm so nervous I can't see straight."
Each wrestler winning a finals match earned four points for his team and a bonus of two points if he pinned his opponent. When Homewood's Seth Garvin pinned Doug Ravenelle of Huntsville High the Tigers had to settle for second place in state. Had Ravenelle beaten Garvin the Tigers would have taken home the 2004 team trophy.
The Tigers did claim four runners-up titles and three third place finishes to go along with the runner-up team title.
Luke Mize took runner-up in the 135-pound class when he lost the final to Dylan Parten of Brookwood 8-5. Mize's runner-up finish was his third trip to the finals in the past three years, each time he has claimed the runners-up title.
At 140-pounds Hartselle's Corey Farmer lost the in the finals to Forrest Millsap of Homewood 10-1 to take second place.
In the 145-pound class Dennis Smith lost 7-6 to Chase Oglesby of Brookwood to finish in second place.
At 160-pounds, Michael Cuthbertson pinned the Tigers' Kurt Hamilton 54 seconds in their finals match to leave Hamilton as state runner-up. Tigers who took third place included Hunter Brasher, at 130-pounds, who whipped Tyler Hughes of Fort Payne 16-2. Ben Eubanks took third in the 171-pound class as he defeated Chris Cousins of Gardendale 5-2. Adam Faulk pinned Weston Burt of Fort Payne 44 seconds into the second period to claim third place at 189-pounds.
Corder thanked the fans for their support.
"I'm proud of guys and the effort they gave," Corder said.
"I want to thank the fans and the parents, we must have had 200 or 300 folks from Hartselle down here."
Some of the Tigers were already looking ahead to next season.
"I guess we have to deal with finishing second for 12 months," Hamilton said. "Then we get another shot at this thing (the state title)."
Also participating for Hartselle but not placing in the top three of their weight classes were Rico Elliott, Brett Bidwell, Andrew Watson, Travis Lightle and Brad Eubanks.
Final standings –
Benjamin Russell 54
Fort Payne 41
Pinson Valley 37