Tigers four-peat at sectionals
Tigers qualify 12 wrestlers for state meet
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
OXFORD – A suggestion for the Alabama High School Athletic Association-it's time for a name change of state's wrestling 5A, Sectional 2. A more appropriate name would be to call it The Tiger Invitational.
For the fourth straight year, the Hartselle Tigers ran away from the competition at the North wrestling sectionals. The Tigers won by 31-and-a-half points over runner-up Scottsboro.
The third place finisher Arab trailed the champs by 82 points.
"I'm real proud of the guys. My guys wrestled really, really well," Hartselle head coach Keith Corder said. "Seven champs, three runners-up, a third place and a fourth. It's a good performance."
Tiger wrestlers were crowned as champions of seven weight classes, three others finished as runners-up and three others qualified for the state championships this weekend in Pelham.
Rico Elliott won the 103-pound class, while Dennis Smith won at 145, Corey Farmer won at 152, Kurt Hamilton at 171, Adam Faulk at 189, Travis Lightle at 215 and Brad Eubanks won the heavyweight class.
Andrew Durham, Brett Bidwell and Luke Mize finished as runners-up at 112, 135 and 140 respectively. Other Tigers who also qualifying for the state meet were Hunter Brasher, Andrew Watson and Andrew Durham.
Elliott breezed through his weight class with 11-0 win in the semi-finals and a pin in the final. Smith posted three wins on the way to his title, winning by pin in the opening round, 5-2 in the semis and 21-3 in the final. Farmer recorded pins in his first two matches and then won the final, 5-1.
Hamilton also started with two pins and then won his final, 9-4. Faulk had a pin and then won by 11-1 and 9-3 scores in the semis and finals, respectively. Travis Lightle won his opening match by pin, won 2-0 in the semis and pinned the defending state champion, Ben Brisco in the finals. Brisco had been undefeated this season prior to the final.
Eubanks won four matches to earn his title. He opened with a pin, followed by 8-2, 1-0 and 7-3 wins.
Durham won in the semis by a 15-11 count, before falling in the finals by a 14-3 count.
Bidwell won by pin in his opening match, followed by a 15-8 win in the semis before falling 10-5 in the finals. Mize won 10-5 in the semis before falling 11-6 in the finals.
Watson won by pin, before falling 7-0 in the second round. He then won by pin in the consolation bracket's semis, before winning the third-place match by pin.
Brasher won his opening match 12-0, before losing by a 6-4 count. He won in the consolation semis by pin. He finished fourth when he lost in the consolation finals, 9-6.
Caleb Blanton was the only Tiger who failed to qualify for the state meet. He lost his opening match, 8-3, before winning recording a pin in the consolation bracket's opening round. In the consolation semis, he fell 5-4. He appeared to have tied the match at five on an escape just before time ran out. However, the officials meet and ruled the escape took place after time had expired.
In all the Tigers recorded 69 takedowns, while only being taken down 21 times. As soon as the trophies were awarded the Tigers turned their attention to next week's state championships.
"This is not the goal we have," Corder said. "This is just a step for us. It's great we won, but it's just a step for us.
"Our goal is next week. This allows us to finish off our goal next week. If we wrestle next week like we did today we'll be fine."