The Scottsboro wrestling program has three more names to add to its Wall of Champions at Carter Gymnasium.
Scottsboro senior John McAlpin and juniors Kolton Clark and Bradford Womack won their respective weight class state titles during the Class 1A-5A AHSAA Wrestling Championships Saturday at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.
McAlpin and Clark won their second career state championships while Womack, out of wrestling the past several seasons, picked up his first.
“I’m very proud of them,” said Scottsboro head coach Chris Staton. “They all had great years. I’m happy for them it ended like this.”
Their efforts helped lead Scottsboro to a state runner-up team finish. The Wildcats pushed favorite Arab to edge, as the Knights needed a state-title match victory from Clay Jones at 145 to secure the its fourth straight state team championship. Arab scored 157.5 points while Scottsboro finished with 153.5.
“We told our kids all year that they had a chance at this,” said Staton said. “Hopefully our kids learned the value of every point at state. With only nine kids there, we stressed getting falls to get as many points as we could. We had 22 falls, most of any team in any division. I’m proud of that. That picked up a lot of points.”
It was Scottsboro’s best team finish since winning the state title in 2014.
McAlpin (46-4), who won a state title at 120 a year ago, earned his second straight crown by avenging a North Super Section loss to Hayden’s Landon Castleberry (53-3) a week earlier. McAlpin, who won 1A-5A’s Most Pins Award, pinned Castleberry just 1:16 into the match.
“It was a clutch performance by John. At the time, he knew we needed two falls to still have a chance at the team [championship], and he went out there and completely dominated that kid,” Staton said. “He was a four-time finalists, two-time state champion. That’s a nice career.”
Kolton Clark (51-2), the 6A champion at 126 in 2015 and the 145 runner-up in 1A-5A last season, dominated his way through the 170-pound weight class, Staton said. He pinned all four of his state opponents, including Westminster Christian’s Ethan Pippin (44-5) at the 2:57 mark of their finals match.
“Kolton dominated at state like he has all year,” Staton said.
Womack (29-6) closed the day for Scottsboro with a state-title winning 6-0 decision over Mortimer Jordan’s Michael Barnes (46-11).
Womack, who missed football season and was late getting his wrestling season started because of a knee injury, said he was not expecting this outcome when he began the season.
“Honestly I didn’t think so [because] the start of the year was really rough,” Womack said. “We wrestled in big tournament all year. It really didn’t clink until I won sectionals that ‘hey I can win state.’ It’s a sense of accomplishment.”
Added Staton, “Bradford missed the first of the year and it was just about him getting confidence in his knee and getting shape. We knew he knew how to wrestle because he came up in the youth program with coach [Ken] Draskovic. With a full year, he could become a really dominant heavyweight. We’re proud to have him back in our program.”
Also for Scottsboro, senior Maji Billingsley (34-12) finished fourth in the 182-pound weight class while Clinton Stewart (38-16) at 106, Conner Calfee (38-13) at 152 and Caleb Anderson (38-14) at 220 finished fifth in their respective weight class. Damian Ramirez (36-14) and Sean McAlpin (32-14) did not place at 160 and 195 respectively.
Staton said the team runner-up finish shows the program is trending in the right direction. Scottsboro loses three seniors — Billingsley, John McAlpin and Sean McAlpin — and Staton hopes the team finish “inspires some kids that had been with us and or haven’t to come out next year and give it another try.”