In his previous two state championship match appearances, John McAlpin came up short of the ultimate prize.

But the third time was the charm for the Scottsboro junior.

McAlpin won the Class 1A-5A 120-pound weight class state title during the 2017 AHSAA State Wrestling Championships at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Saturday. 

"I've got second twice — it doesn't feel good," he said. "Finally to become a state champion is amazing."

McAlpin (36-3) posted a 6-0 decision over Moody's Will Patterson (57-6). The match was scoreless after one period but McAlpin took a 4-0 lead into the final period. 

"I'm proud of the way he wrestled," said Scottsboro coach Chris Staton. "Once he scored, he controlled the match. It was a tough match, but he wrestled smart, wrestled hard. Glad to see him come out on top. He's been a runner-up twice, so it's exciting to see him win one."

Scottsboro sophomore Kolton Clark (37-4) came up just shy of winning a second straight state championship, dropping an 8-6 decision in sudden victory overtime to undefeated Carial Tarter (47-0) of Mortimer Jordan. Tarter defeated Clark 6-3 in the North Super Section Tournament the previous weekend.

"I had a mindset about what we were going to do this time. We watched a lot of film [last] week trying to counter what he was doing," Clark said. "I just didn't finish. It just wasn't my match. Got to come back next year. Maybe we'll end up in the same weight class so I can wrestle him again in the finals."

The match went to sudden victory tied 6-all, but Tarter scored a two-point takedown 8 seconds into overtime.

"I think we got a little impatient in overtime, should've pressed him a little more, but you never know," Staton said. "Kolton wrestled tough. Proud of his effort."

Scottsboro had a third state medalist (top-six finishers) in Caleb Anderson (27-13). The sophomore won the 220-pound weight class' fifth-place match with a 3-1 decision over North Super Section champion Jack Tindall of Arab.

"He's made a lot of improvement throughout the season in a lot of areas," Staton said. "I think we're only seeing the tip of what he has the capability of doing if he'll commit and focus on getting better."

As for Scottsboro's other three state qualifiers, Maji Billingsley (26-9) finished 2-2 in the 170 weight class while Clinton Stewart (22-16) was 1-2 at 106 and Conner Calfee (20-12) was 1-2 at 152.

In the team standings, Arab ran away with the state championship after scoring 176 points, 53 more than runner-up Cleburne County. Scottsboro finished 10th in the team standings with 73.5 points, a finish that did not sit well with Staton. The coach vowed improvement next season.

"I hope some of [our wrestlers] learned that our lack of intensity in the practice room was revealed here, that's the reason we are where we are in the team standings. Whether by choice or whatever method, we're going to [improve]. This is a young group. I've tried to bring them along, but we're at the point now it's time to step up."


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