Cleburne Wrestling qualifies 10 for state

Led by senior Preston Jarrell, Cleburne County finished first with 236 team points at the AHSAA South Super Section wrestling tournament in Montgomery last week. The Tigers qualified 10 wrestlers for this weekend’s state meet in Huntsville at the Von Braun Center. Wrestling begins today.

Jarrell won at 138 pounds. Christian Seale (195), Cade Smith (182) and Zac Williamson (145) each finished second. Hunter Beason (132), Dylan Turner (120) and Matt Williamson (126) each was third. Ryan Day (220) and Tyler Higgins (160) were fourth in their respective weight classes. C.J. Higgins (152) was fifth.

At Huntsville, the No. 1 qualifier will open against the No. 8 from the opposite super section. No. 2s are paired with No. 7s, No. 3s with No. 6s and No. 4s with No. 5s. With everyone a No. 5 or better, the Tigers have a very good chance of advancing all 10 wrestlers to the championship bracket’s second round.

Cleburne County’s biggest competition for the Class 1A-5A state championship will be Arab, the team that edged Tigers in the championship match of the state Duals competition in Birmingham almost three weeks ago. Arab will be shooting for its sixth consecutive state championship in traditional wrestling. The Knights won the Class 1A-5A tournament last year, were 6A winners in 2015 and 2016 and claimed the 5A title in 2013 and 2014.

Arab will have wrestlers in 12 of the 14 weight classes at this year’s state tournament. However, two of the 12 finished seventh and have little chance of scoring significantly.

Ranburne wrestling head to Huntsville

Ranburne will have five wrestlers competing when the AHSAA Class 1A-5A state tournament begins today in Huntsville. Spencer Jordan, wrestling at 152 pounds this year, earned his third trip to the state meet. He finished third at the South Super Section in Montgomery last weekend when he pinned Prattville Christian’s Grady Holt at 1:18.

Damon Calhoun was fifth at 160 with a pin over Jake Rice of St. James at 2:39. Seventh-grader Carson Hall (195) pinned Caleb Witherspoon of Thomasville at 1:22 for seventh place. Ben Buchanan (220) and Bailey Henry (120) each qualified by finishing eighth. Henry lost his final match in overtime.