Five teams could win state title
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
According to Hartselle head wrestling coach Keith Corder, there are five bona fide threats to win the state 5A wrestling championship this weekend.
Corder feels Scottsboro, Gardendale, Benjamin Russell, Homewood and his Hartselle Tigers could all win the crown.
Scottsboro and Hartselle have both qualified 12 wrestlers for the state tourney, while Benjamin Russell has qualified nine. Gardendale, Hueytown and Homewood have all qualified eight wrestlers.
Homewood is the four-time defending 5A champions. The Patriots have won titles in 2001-04. They are the only team to claim the title since Hartselle last won the championship in 2000.
Homewood totaled 106.5 points last year, while Hartselle settled for the runners-up trophy with 102 points. The four-and-a-half points were the smallest margin ever separating the top two finishers in the state championship tournament.
"We lost matches in last year's state tourney to people we had already beaten," Corder said. "We took 13 wrestlers and only seven placed. I think some of the guys were a little awed by being in the state tournament. Some of them had never been there before and it showed in how they wrestled."
Scottsboro finished runner-up in the Section 2 sectional to Hartselle last Saturday, while Gardendale won Sectional 1 with 162.5 points, followed by Benjamin Russell with 157.5, Hueytown with 148, Homewood with 142 and Brookwood with 125.
Corder feels the Tigers can win the title if the veterans on the squad take care of their business.
"We've got 12 guys qualified this year," Corder said. "And all of them have been there before. They know what it's like to be in the state championships. That's a big help to our cause."
Corder cautions against the Tiger faithful becoming overconfident.
"We've got a chance (to win the title)," Corder said. "But we had a chance last year and didn't take advantage of it."
Corder feels three-quarters of his wrestlers need to pick up points if the Tigers are to bring home their second title in five years.
"We need nine guys to place," Corder said. "If we get six guys in the finals and three more in the consolation finals, we should be in good shape."