Ten high school wrestlers from three schools in The Daily Home’s coverage area -- Lincoln, Pell City and the Alabama School for the Blind -- competed on the second day of the Alabama High School Athletic Association State Championships at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Friday.
Of the field remaining in play, three grapplers, all from Lincoln, moved on to Day 3 of the Class 1A-5A tourney, and each will be grappling for fifth place today.
Senior Austin Creamer (39-9, 120-pound weight class) will face Beauregard junior Jamal Whittington (41-6), senior Dazhone Finley (52-5, 138) will meet Leeds senior Eli Sims (38-13) and junior Quin Cotten (39-12, 145) will take on Hayden senior Kaleb Burford (39-11).
“We always try to get them in the mindset to where they can win two and do good for the team,” Lincoln wrestling coach Skylar Mansfield said. “We were hoping to come back with a state champion, but it’s important that these guys medal. Two of the guys are seniors, and they get to leave the state tournament with a medal.”
Creamer fell to Satsuma senior William Walker via fall (3:42) in the championship semifinal round, then lost to Arab sophomore Austin Silva (35-9) via fall (3:20) in a consolation semifinal. Creamer earned a forfeit victory over Silva in the opening round Thursday.
Finley scored victories over Holtville sophomore Ethan Headley (24-11) and Alabama School for the Blind senior Tanner Wood (38-14) via fall (2:44 and 1:16). He lost to top-seeded Springville sophomore Trent Gilham (63-2) via a 2-0 decision in a consolation semifinal.
Mansfield said his two seniors had a tough road to get to today’s matches.
“They both stayed competitive,” he said. “We just didn’t have things go our way. They stay poised throughout the entire thing, whether they won or lost. They’re going home with some hardware.”
Mansfield said Finley’s match with Wood, a fellow athlete from Talladega County, pitted two wrestlers with a deep sense of pride in their sport.
“They’re really good friends,” Mansfield said. “There has to be a winner and a loser. We wound up coming out on the winning side of it. Both of those guys are competitive and both of those guys have that much respect for each other.
“To see one of those guys have to lose, it’s not a great feeling, but at the same time, on the other end of it, your guy won and you feel a little bit accomplished, especially being in the same county and we see them so much. We’re just waiting for more schools in the county to (start) wrestling so we don’t have to wrestle each other seven or eight times a year.”
Cotten secured wins via fall (2:03 and 3:40) over Southside sophomore Jacob Davis (33-24) and Dora junior Xander Stewart (32-12). He lost to St. James senior Gabe Robbins (39-5) via fall (2:15) in a consolation semifinal.
“Cotten is a physically-gifted athlete that has great potential,” Mansfield said. “He’s worked pretty hard just trying to get to the point he’s at. That’s a tough weight class, and for him to still be wrestling, it says a lot about him and how hard he’s working as well as his character.”
In other wrestling action:
Alabama School for the Blind
- Wood defeated Tallassee sophomore John Burnham (41-21) via fall (3:00) before falling to Finley in the third round of the consolation bracket.
Three Golden Bears suffered elimination in the second consolation round.
- Senior Keyshon Townsend (37-15, 195) lost via fall (1:37) to Deshler senior Will Pilgrim (38-6).
- Senior Brennen Barber (30-17, 152) lost via sudden victory-1 (6-4) against Arab sophomore Michael Myslinski (37-21).
- Freshman Jamichael Finley (36-16, 113) fell to Piedmont junior Dylan Menendez (44-6) via major decision (14-1).
Three Panthers were eliminated in the second consolation round.
- Senior Tanner Clowdus (55-17, 170) suffered a defeat via fall (2:23) to Stanhope Elmore sophomore Gabe Taunton (30-12).
- Senior Blaze Isbell (58-15, 120) lost via fall (1:55) to Athens freshman Gunner Birdsong (35-19).
- Senior Tillman Patterson (44-27, 152) fell to Fort Payne freshman Dawson Williams (26-13) via fall (0:55).