Lincoln High School’s wrestling team will have five individuals compete in the AHSAA State Championships at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville starting today.
Lincoln head coach Skylar Mansfield said his goal for the Golden Bears is to be competitive and see if they can make it to the final day of the tournament.
“We had five guys to qualify for the state tournament, and two of them have a lot of experience,” Mansfield said. “Dazhone (Finley) and Austin (Creamer) have been there before. The goal is to win one more match than you won the previous year.
“The first year, they didn’t win any; they were 0-2. Last year, they both won one, so this year, they are going to try to win three.
“I told the other guys to see what it is like to win a match at the state level and see if you deserve to be there.”
Lincoln finished 12th in the AHSAA South Super Sectional Tournament last weekend at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery.
Creamer finished third in the Class 4A 120-pound weight class, while Finley finished third at 126. The top eight in each weight class advanced.
“The good thing is that we didn’t finish in the eighth-place spot,” Mansfield said. “Each kid won a match. … Keyshon (Townsend), Dawson (Stanford) and Quintin (Cotton) finished seventh.”
The five wrestlers who qualified for state have something in common, which Mansfield believes played a role in their success on the mat.
“These are multisport athletes,” he said. “Keyshon and Quintin play football, run track. Dawson (Stanford) played football this year. Dazhone is a football, soccer, track (athlete). Creamer plays baseball.”
Mansfield said his goal for the program is to see participation and the number of state qualifiers continue to increase.
“I want to see the growth in numbers every year,” Mansfield said. “We want to try to qualify over 50 percent of our wrestlers (for the state tournament).
“Last year, we had four to wrestle, and we qualified two. This year, we took eight and we qualified five. So next year, hopefully, we can field a whole team and qualify at least seven.
“Hopefully, having these multisport athletes to qualify for the state, we can get more participation at our school.”