North vs. South All-Star Wrestling A Huge Success For Sparkman Girl’s Wrestling Program
MONTGOMERY- In what could be the final time she stepped onto a wrestling mat for competition, Sparkman senior Akerah Artis may have proved correctly what many experts feel she is the best high school wrestler in Alabama. Competing in the Alabama Wresting Coaches Association’s North vs. South All-Star Dual the Class 6-7A state champion wasted little time as she posted a pin at the 2:36 mark of the second period against Tristan Robinson of Northside Methodist. Artis was leading two-nothing at the time of the pin and used a new wrestling move for the win.
“It was a new move where I used my legs to pin her,” said Artis, who is now 32-0 in her final campaign as a high school wrestler. “She (Robinson) was aggressive, but I had beaten her in the semi-finals of the State Tournament so I knew what she was capable of doing during the match.”
Artis’ 145-pound match was the final match of the event held at Roland Gymnasium of Huntington College in Montgomery. Her scheduled match opponent was Fabiola Sanchez of Auburn High, but Sanchez became ill, and Robinson, who lost in her scheduled match in the 138-pound weight class, volunteered to challenge Artis.
For Artis, who helped Sparkman to the Class 6-7A State Championship last month, her match was one of surprises. After the two-minute first period and taking aim early in the second period, she became ill and went off the mat where she vomited as she signaled to the referee she needed an injury timeout. “I was really nervous about the match and that caught up with me early in the second period,” explained Artis.
The 18-match event featured five girls matches and 13 boys matches. In the boys, Troy Hennigan of Bob Jones lost to Thomas Giere of Thompson by fall at the 2:25 mark in the 120pound weight class. In girls, Sparkman’s Katerina Nutter also fell victim to a loss. In the 152-pound division she fell by pin at the 3:01 mark of the match to Kalee Holder of Daphne.
Overall in team scoring, the North boys won 28-25 while the South girls came out on top versus the North 18-9.
Artis said, “It was a great experience as all the girls connected during the event.”
Sparkman head coach Ronnie Watson was awarded the ALWCA Coach of the Year award while Sparkman assistant coaches Suzanne Westhofer and Nathan McKenna were presented as the Assistant Coach of the Year award during ceremonies within the event.
For Artis, she’s leaning towards attending college at Auburn to earn a degree in software engineering, but she still has not closed out the possibility of attending a college that has a girls wrestling program. She said she does not have a timetable set on her upcoming decision.