State Wrestling Championships- Sparkman Finishes 8th; Lawson Finishes Runner-Up
BIRMINGHAM- Vestavia Hills unseated three-time defending state champion Thompson to capture the Class 7A State Championship at the 66th AHSAA State Wrestling Tournament held at Birmingham’s CrossPlex Bill Harris Arena. Vestavia scored 277.5 points to Thompson’s 240.5. The three local teams were led by Sparkman, which finished No. 8 (73.0), No. 12 Bob Jones (43.0) and No. 16 James Clemens (32.0). There were 23 teams in the two-day event.
“We competed very well and it was good each of our qualifying wrestlers scored a win at the State Tournament and it was a great experience for all of them,” said Ronnie Watson head coach of Sparkman. “I knew going into the event we had a chance to finish among the top 10. A couple of our athletes surprised me getting a couple wins and overall I’m happy with our finish.”
On individual results, the lone survivor to make it through to the finals was Drew Lawson of Bob Jones. Stepping onto the mats in the 285-pound weight class, the Southern Miss football signee went into double overtime before falling 2-1 to Dawson Ray (17-2) of Vestavia Hills. The two heavyweights battled to a 1-1 tie after regulation before they headed into the first extra period of 1-minute where the first competitor to score a point wins the match. The two brawny athletes failed to score forcing a second overtime period of 30 seconds. Lawson drew the top position in the period only to see Ray escape to earn the match and championship point.
One of the bitter pills to swallow for Lawson (36-2) is the fact he defeated Ray 3-2 during the regular season.
“Our match was certainly one of the most competitive of the entire State Tournament, but did not go the way I was hoping,” said Lawson (6-2, 290), who completed his career at Bob Jones with a 92-22 overall record. “I feel good about my years as a varsity wrestler and I’m proud of how everything went.”
Lawson was the lone Bob Jones competitor to make their way to the semifinal pairings. The James Clemens Jets had two wrestlers make it to the semi matches as Logan McMeans (154-pound) and Sebastian Davis (160-pound) made it to the final four in their respective weight classes.
After falling by a fall in the semifinal, McMeans (18-8) ended up placing sixth after two losses in the consolation matches. Davis (25-6) placed third. He lost by decision in the semifinal match before taking his final two matches in the consolation to take third. He won by a major decision and decision in the final two battles.
For Sparkman, the Senators scored early round points to boost their team position in team scoring, but had just three athletes secure a placement in the competition. The Senators were led by Tate Campbell (38-6) who took fifth place in the 285 division followed by sixth place finishes by both Keane Robb (23-6) in 170 and Shawn Sellers (33-11) in 195.