HUNTSVILLE – Arab and Gardendale high schools forged to into the lead after the first day Thursday as the 66th AHSAA State Wrestling Championships concluded the first day of the Class 5A/6A state competition at the Von Braun Center.
Arab’s Knights, last year’s Class 1A/5A state champs, held a slim 73-71 edge over the Rockets, last year’s Class 6A state champs, thanks in part to strong effort in the first session. With the creation of the new Class 5A/6A division and Arab’s move to Class 6A in the current classification, both schools surged to the top Thursday. Wetumpka, McAdory and Fort Payne were knotted right behind the leaders with 59, 58 and 54 points, respectively.
This classification period, wrestling changed its divisions slightly with Class 1A/4A created for schools in the smallest four classes. Class 7A remained the largest 32 schools by enrollment in the AHSAA. Those divisions crowned state champions last week with Ashville winning its first state crown at the 1A/4A state championships at Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum. Vestavia Hills won the school’s 16th state title overall with the Class 7A state championship at Birmingham’s Bill Harris Arena.
Action resumes for the 5A and 6A schools, which are now combined to make up the biggest division of schools overall, Friday morning with weigh-in at 9 a.m., and wrestling at 10:30.
Moody High School junior Cory Land (41-0) grabbed the spotlight as well extending his current winning streak to 148 straight AHSAA match wins dating back to his eighth-grade year in 2018. Wrestling in the 126-pound weight class this year, Land won two matches Thursday with pins at 1:28 and 1:45 to extend his current winning streak. His last lost came in the section finals four years earlier. After that loss in 2018, he rebounded that year to go 4-0 a week later to win his first state title. His next opponent Friday will be Helena junior Seth McGrew (19-6), who posted two wins with a 2-0 decision and 11-0 major decision Thursday. He captured third place in last year’s Class 6A 113-pound weight class.
Land finished his eighth-grade year at 53-2 and has compiled a 197-2 record overall with three consecutive state crowns. He was 56-0 last season winning the 120-pound division. Christian Knop of Alexandria finished his prep career in 20198 winning 235 straight matches to set the AHSAA state record. Land’s 148 in a row currently ranks fifth in the AHSAA behind Knop (235), Mike Sutton, Weaver (201), Brandon Womack, Scottsboro (190), and Macon Edwards, Fultondale (163).
Arab, Gardendale and Wetumpka dominated the first session advancing 14, 13 and 13 wrestlers to the second round. The three schools combined for 28 pins in the process.
106 POUNDS: Clay-Chalkville eighth grader Michael Yafonda had a lightning quick pin in the first 106-pound session winning his opening match in 21 seconds. Freshman Ramon Lazado of Elmore County (20-1) then beat Yafonda (24-4) in the second round with a 15-5 major decision. Fort Payne senior David Miguel (18-4) won his first match in 20 seconds and his second match in just 30 seconds to set up Friday’s quarterfinal match with Lazado.
113 POUNDS: Top seed Hinds Duncan of Pike Road (20-0) won his first two matches in 2:45 and 2:48 to advance in the championship bracket. He was runner-up last season in the Class 1A/5A 106-pound weight class.
120 POUNDS: Last year’s 6A state 113-pound champion Isaiah Powe of Gardendale and Class 1A/5A 113-pound state champion Jake Holland of Arab both had impressive starts at 120 pounds. Powe (30-0), a sophomore, had pins in 2:26 and 1:52 in his two matches, and Holland (41-6), a senior, won his first match with 20-second pin and battled in his second match to final win by pin at 4:45.
132 POUNDS: Top seed Ryan Summerlin (20-0) got a forfeit in his first bout and won with a pin at 1:44 in his second match. Last year’s 1A/5A 132-pound champion, the junior has a winning streak of 63 straight wins finishing 43-0 as a sophomore to claim his first state title.
138 POUNDS: Wetumpka senior Kyler Adams (33-0) had two quick pins in 0:31 and 1:21. The top seed finished third in last year’s 132-pound 6A weight class. Gardendale junior Melton Powe had pins coming in 44 seconds and 3:48 to improve to 30-2.
145 POUNDS: Mountain Brook junior John McKimmon (33-0) had the fastest pin in his weight class with a first-round victory taking just 24 seconds. He also won his second bout in 2:24.
152 POUNDS: Top seed Donald Phillips of McAdory (28-2), a junior, won both matches with pins at 2:18 and 3:23. Wrestling up two divisions from last year’s 138-pound state championship effort, Phillips won 74 matches in 2020.
160 POUNDS: Senior Carson Kim (23-1) of Gardendale pinned his first opponent in 32 seconds and won a 5-0 decision in his second match. Oxford’s Jakob Chisolm (23-0), also a senior, post two wins by pins covering 1:38 and 1:17.
170 POUNDS: Junior Caleb Roe (45-4) posted the quickest pin of the day with a first-round win taking only 14 seconds. Last year’s 160-pound runner-up in Class 1A/5A, won his second match by pin.
182 POUNDS: Scottsboro senior Tyler Easter (25-2) won his first match with a pin at 2:25. It was his second win that got more notice. Trailing late in the third period 9-6, he battled back late to post a hard-fought 13-9 decision over Oxford senior Chance Hollifield (23-9).
195 POUNDS: Homewood senior John Mark Crocker (21-0), who finished runner-up in the 182-pound division as a junior, posted a pin to win his first match in 2:47 and won his second match even quicker in at just 0:48.
220 POUNDS: Top-seeded Riley Kuhn of Fort Payne needed only 63 total seconds to win both matches Thursday – his first pin coming at 0:30 and his second pin at 0:33. Arab senior Michael Robertson also had two pins with his first win needing only 39 seconds.
285 POUNDS: Shelby County sophomore Tanner Stogner (22-8) won his first match with a pin at 14 seconds, which tied him for the quickest first-day pin. Senior Garrison Ryan (17-3) of Hartselle sent Stogner to the consolation division in the next match win a pin at 4:33.