The Class 1A-5A North Super Section wrestling tournament featured a lot of unknowns for teams and coaches.
With 30-plus teams, scouting opponents is impossible, and thus wrestlers went into most matches with little or no knowledge of their opponent.
“You basically went in blind and just had to see what happened,” said Scottsboro head coach Chris Staton.
That won’t be the case this week, however, as wrestlers throughout the state gear up for the 2018 AHSAA State Championships, which begin today and run through Saturday at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. Wrestling begins today at noon, at 9:30 a.m. on Friday and at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Admission is $10 per day.
Last week helped because you saw guys either on the mat or you saw them in other matches,” Staton said, and the video for the South Section matches was on trackwrestling[.com], so you’re pretty well prepared, especially for those first-round matches. Even if there’s an upset and the bracket doesn’t go like you think it might, you’ve got time to regroup and [scout an opponent].
Scottsboro is sending nine wrestlers to the state tournament and figures to be one of the teams’ challenging for the state title. Defending state champion Arab is considered the favorite, but Scottsboro, Moody, Cleburne County and Alexandria are likely to factor in the outcome.
“I think it’s going to be a chaotic tournament and when we get to the end just a handful of points is going to separate the top-five teams,” Staton said.
Wrestling for Scottsboro at state are Clinton Stewart (34-14) in the 106-pound weight class, John McAlpin (42-4) at 126, Conner Calfee (34-11) at 152, Damian Ramirez (34-12) at 160, Kolton Clark (47-2) at 170, Maji Billingsley (30-10) at 182, Sean McAlpin (31-12) at 195, Caleb Anderson (35-12) at 220 and Bradford Womack (25-6) at 285. Womack and Clark were sectional champions while John McAlpin, Billingsley and Anderson were sectional runners-up.
“We just need to give our best effort, go out and really wrestle like there’s no pressure,” Staton said. “Just go out and go at it, battle and let the chips fall.”
Meanwhile, North Jackson is sending both its wrestlers, twins Tanner Woodall (26-2) and Travis Woodall (27-4). They wrestled at state as freshmen at Scottsboro before transferring to North Jackson. They are the schools’ first wrestlers and both won sectional titles — Tanner won the 195-pound title while Travis won the 220 crown — last week.