Six Scottsboro wrestlers will take the mat this week in attempts to win state championships.
The 2017 AHSAA Wrestling Championships state tournament is Thursday through Saturday at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. Admission is $10 per day.
Four of Scottsboro’s six state qualifiers — Clinton Stewart, Conner Calfee, Maji Billingsley and Caleb Anderson — will make their state tournament debuts. Head coach Chris Staton said those Wildcats must manage their nerves in order to be effective on the mat.
“You can talk about it with them — they experienced a little bit of that at sectionals — but they’re not going to know how it is until they get on the mat and see how they respond,” Staton said.
Scottsboro doesn’t have the depth of state qualifiers likely needed to challenge for the Class 1A-5A team state championship — Arab is a heavy favorite to win the team title — but Staton expects a strong showing from the Wildcats.
The two Scottsboro wrestlers with state tournament experience are state championship contenders in their respective weight class. Kolton Clark, who won a Class 6A state title in the 126-pound weight class last season, will wrestle in his fourth state tournament. Meanwhile, John McAlpin, the 2016 Class 6A 113 runner-up, will wrestle in his third state tournament. Both are considered among the top contenders for the state championship in the 120 (McAlpin) and 145 (Clark) weight classes.
“Both of them have been there before,” Staton said. “Hopefully that experience will help them.”
McAlpin (32-3), the No. 1-seed from the North Super Section, wrestles South No. 8-seed Walter Wellborn’s Namath Pitts (28-9) in the 120 opening round on Thursday. Clark (34-3), the North No. 2-seed, wrestles South No. 7-seed Drake Monroe (35-22) of Weaver.
Other first-round matchups involving Scottsboro wrestlers include 106 North No. 6-seed Stewart (21-14) vs. South No. 3 seed Will Jeffcoat (40-5) of Leeds, 152 North No. 5-seed Calfee (19-10) vs. South No. 4-seed Cody Gibson (53-7) of Holt, 170 North No. 3-seed Billingsley vs. South No. 6-seed Lawrence Chatman (39-12) of Leeds and 220 North No. 3-seed Anderson vs. South No. 6-seed Kenneth Abernathy (24-7) of Dadeville.
The Class 1A-5A first-round matches begin Thursday at noon with consolation bracket matches to follow at 4:30 p.m. and quarterfinal matches at 7:15 p.m. Consolation bracket second-round matches begin Friday at 9:30 a.m. followed by championship bracket semifinal matches starting at 1 p.m. Consolation quarterfinal matches begin at 3:30 p.m. followed by consolation semifinal matches at 5:45 p.m.
On Saturday, the consolation bracket finals matches begin at 9 a.m. followed by the state championship matches at 11:30 a.m.
Staton said Scottsboro wrestlers must be fundamentally consistent throughout the tournament.
“We’ve just got to be more consistent, put solid matches together back-to-back more and be more fundamentally sound all the time as opposed to in spurts,” Staton said. “You just want to go out there and stay focused and battle for six minutes to be the best wrestler you can be every match.”