Bob Jones Leads Local Schools In State Wrestling Rankings
MADISON- The high school wrestling season is gearing up for its home stretch on the way to the AHSAA State Tournament set for Feb. 17-19 in Huntsville at the Von Braun Center. Heading into the post-holiday schedule Bob Jones leads the local programs ranked No. 5 in Class 7A with six individual grapplers ranked among the top six in their weight classes.
“This is the closest knit team that we have had since the 2018 squad that won the duals state title,” said Matthew Sweatman head coach of Bob Jones. “The hard work these guys have been putting in leads me to believe something special is in the works here at Bob Jones.”
The latest state rankings have the Patriots (19-3) trailing Thompson at No. 1 followed by Vestavia Hills, Hewitt-Trussville and Huntsville. Bob Jones has only three dual losses all coming out of state. The squad has participated in several tournaments including the Clash at the Creeks Duals in Dalton Ga. where they defeated some of Georgia’s outstanding programs including Lafayette 64-18, Boyd Buchanan (45-30), North Whitfield (48-30) and Calhoun (51-15). Bob Jones has also participated in the Valley Club Invitational in Alexandria, the Rudolph Rumble at Sparkman High and the Hartselle Duals.
The individual rankings among the state wrestlers Bob Jones is well represented. In class 106, Colton West is ranked fifth with a 25-7 record. The remaining Patriots and their rankings and current records include: 152- 4. Manuel Marrero (19-1), 170- 5. Elijah Jones (22-7), 195- 2. Evan Pippin (30-1), 220- 6. Tanks Mays (20-9) and 285- 5. Maddox Sunderman (21-6).
“We have nine returning state qualifiers from a season ago along with two All-Americans,” said Sweatman. “Marrero and Pippin are the team captains and have done a great job leading these guys in the off-season. Last season we were injury plagued and trying to make it through a season of the pandemic. This year we’re focused and ready to compete at the highest level.”
Across town, James Clemens, led by head coach Kevin Pecor, has two athletes ranked among the state’s best led by Sebastian Davis. The senior is rated No. 2 in the 170-pound weight class. Freshman Samuel Kirk is already making waves in the 106 class as he’s ranked sixth.
Sparkman High has a buzz among its athletic program as the wrestling team has continued to get better. Head coach Ronnie Watson has two wrestlers who have engaged with some top competition and are placed among the best heading into the second half of the season. In 132, senior Andy Hoggard is ranked sixth while fellow senior Kaiden Rovere is also sixth in the 285 class.