A Fan's Guide to Alabama 1A-5A State Tournament

We are excited to once again bring you "A Fan's Guide" to the AHSAA State Tournament that are taking place this coming weekend at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.  We are scheduled to cover the event and will be posting pics and results throughout the tournament - please look for that coverage on the results page.  We are pleased to provide the casual fan an insider's look into each bracket and what may (or may not) happen over the course of the weekend.  We make no predictions about who will win or grab one of the few spots on the podium  For each weight class we provide a few bulletpoints to watch and then a copy of the bracket (which you can see for yourself on trackwrestling.com).  Each weight class features:

  • Favorite: Our favorite to win the weight class based on this past season and past performance.
  • Contenders: A list of wrestlers that should challenge the favorite for the top step on the podium.
  • Best 1st round match: The match we believe will be the closest during the 1st round of action.
  • Darkhorse: A wrestler that did not finish 1st or 2nd in his/her area, but has all the tools to knock off everyone and take the top step.
  • Bracket Breaker: A wrestler that finish 7th or 8th at the Sectional Tournament, but has the ability to be somewhere on the podium Saturday evening.
  • Predicted Finals Match: Obviously who we believe will be in the finals.

Individual Notes:  SQ = 2015 State Qualifier; 1st = 2015 State Champ; 2nd = 2015 State Runner-up, etc.

Team

Defending Champs Leeds and North Section Champions Madison County lead the way.  Leeds qualified 11 with 3 champions and 8 of their 11 finished in the top 3 of the South Sectional Tournament.  What that means is they have 8 wrestlers that should score points ... how many points we don't know, but they are certainly the team to beat after last year's performance.  Madison County, the North Section Champs, qualified all 14 wrestlers and also have 8 wrestlers in the top 3 of the section tournament.  With those #'s, the Tigers are certainly nipping at the heels of the defending champs.  Having 6 wrestlers finish between 4th and 8th is nice to have in your back pocket.  If the Tigers can get some points from those six they will be tough to beat.  Deshler, JO Johnson, Tallassee, and Weaver will give Leeds and Madison County a run for the team title.  Weaver has one of the fewest # of qualifiers (of the contenders) at 8, but have 3 champions and 5 of their 8 finished in the top 3.  Meaning they stand the best chance to put significant points on the board assuming they can those 5 wrestlers high on the podium.  Tallassee, Deshler, and JO Johnson crowned just 1 champion each, but qualified 10, 9, and 8 respectively for the big dance.  Each has a shot, but will need to have every qualifier get points this weekend if they are going to knock off either Leeds or Madison County.  Keep an eye on St James, Mortimer Jordan, St Clair County, and others.  They aren't likely to finish in the top 3, but they will certainly have an impact on the overall team race.

106 lbs.

  • Favorite: Macon Edwards (Fultondale)
  • Contenders:
    • Zack Haynes (Tallassee)
    • Zach Clayton (Dora)
    • Jackson Howard (St James)
    • Jailen Young (JO Johnson)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Ellison vs. Hill
  • Darkhorse: Jackson Elder (American Christian)
  • Bracket Breaker: Braden Ray (Oak Grove)
  • Finals: Edwards vs. Clayton
  • Summary: Edwards enters with a crazy 86-0 record and is the favorite heading into the state tournament.  But don't be fooled, Zach Clayton pushed him in the North Section Final and there are others that are ready to knock him off if given the chance.  Edwards has been terrific all season and should handle the bottom side of the bracket.  Keep an eye on both Jackson Howard, Reed Hill and Jackson Elder.  The Hill vs. Ellison 1st round match could be one of the best of the tournament.  On the top side look for South Section Champion Zack Haynes to face Jailen Young in the quarters ... that should be a good match and the 2nd quarter is superb with Turner, Richman, Jefcoat, and Clayton.  Don't be surprised to see some real battles on the top side of the bracket.

 

113 lbs.

  • Favorite: Nick Souder (Weaver)
  • Contenders:
    • Will Patterson (Moody)
    • Shawn Winland (Oak Grove)
    • Lane Trapp (Alexandria)
    • Landon Castleberry (Hayden)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Burdette vs. Miller
  • Darkhorse: Seth Ingram (Susan Moore)
  • Bracket Breaker: Bailey Henry (Ranburne)
  • Finals: Souder vs. Patterson
  • Summary: Returning 106 lb. State Champion Nick Souder has been unstoppable all season and that shouldn't change this weekend.  He posted a fall, technical fall and a 10-2 major decision win at sectionals and that was against some very good competition.  His only loss came early in the season to Southside-Gadsden's returning State Champion Jacob Smith in overtime.  No one in 1A-5A has been close, in fact Souder has beaten the two sectional champions Murphree and Stewart at 120 as well.  Patterson, Winland, and Trapp will look to derail Souder, but that doesn't seem likely.  Keep an eye on Lane Trapp ... his potential quarterfinal match with Winland will be a good one to watch.

 

120 lbs.

  • Favorite: Timothy Murphree (Fultondale)
  • Contenders:
    • Bryer Stewart (St Clair County)
    • Sebastian Berres (JO Johnson)
    • Bruin Hathcock (Tallassee)
    • Fletcher Swindall (Alexandria)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Wages vs. Smotherman
  • Darkhorse: D'Shawn Skinner (Moody)
  • Bracket Breaker: JV Northington (Prattville Christian)
  • Finals: Stewart vs. Murphree
  • Summary: Murphree and Stewart enter as the co-favorites and each should march their way to a showdown on Saturday afternoon.  Murphree, the defending 113 lb. State Champion, had a fall and a technical fall before downing Sebastian Berres of JO Johnson 4-0 in the North Section finals.  Stewart posted 3 1st period falls before downing Bruin Hathcock of Tallassee 6-0 in the South Sectional finals.  Berres, Hathcock, Swindall, and others will look to take out the co-favorites, but given their performance last weekend ... it seems unlikely.  The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds should feature some excellent matches.

 

126 lbs.

  • Favorite: Chase Phillips (Hayden) 
  • Contenders:
    • Michael Land (Moody)
    • Paul Robertson (Susan Moore)
    • Jordan Price (Tallassee)
    • Preston Jarrell (Cleburne County)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Melton vs. Wood
  • Darkhorse: Brantley McHugh (Madison County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Noah Seiger (Calera)
  • Finals: Land vs. Phillips
  • Summary: We went back and forth between Land and Phillips as the favorite since last weekend and finally ended up on Phillips for 2 reasons ... 1. Phillips was 2-1 vs. Land this season (but Land won the last meeting between the two) and 2. the path to the finals looks a bit more challenging for Land than Phillips.  Getting McHugh in the quarterfinals, where his team will be counting on him to score points in the team race, and then a potential meeting with Robertson is tough.  Phillips path isn't much easier, but the Seiger vs. Jarrell match should be a barnburner and the likely semifinal is with Jordan Price of Tallassee.  The weight class is certainly fan-friendly and should produce several exciting matches.

 

132 lbs.

  • Favorite: Zachary Van Alst (Montgomery Catholic)
  • Contenders:
    • Jaquan Rhodes (JO Johnson)
    • Zeke Lee (Oak Grove)
    • Austin Johnson (St James)
    • Channing Marmann (Deshler)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Whittaker vs. Rhodes
  • Darkhorse: Robert Childress (Beauregard)
  • Bracket Breaker: Daniel Vazquez (Moody)
  • Finals: Van Alst vs. Rhodes
  • Summary: Rhodes upset Lee 2-0 to take the North Section title and put himself on the opposite side of Van Alst.  As we stated previously, Van Alst is among the best 132 lbers in the state regardless of classification and should handle the bracket with relative ease. That doesn't mean that Marmann, Lee, and others on the top side don't stand a chance, but they will need to wrestle extremely well if they are going to knock off Van Alst.  The bottom side should be interesting and a battle between Johnson, Childress, and Rhodes.  Keep an eye on Landon Trammell of Hayden ... he could surprise a few people.

 

138 lbs.

  • Favorite: Braxton Worthington (Mortimer Jordan)
  • Contenders:
    • Chandler Teems (Leeds)
    • Brady Richardson (Holtville)
    • Andrew Campbell (Deshler)
    • Dalton Chandler (Sumiton Christian)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Roblee vs. Smith
  • Darkhorse: Andrew Kilgore (Saks)
  • Bracket Breaker: Noah Wood (Elmore County)
  • Finals: Worthington vs. Teems
  • Summary: Worthington, the 2015 126 lb. State Runner-up, enters with a 44-1 record and an impressive run through the North Section Tournament.  Worthington recorded 4 falls en route to the North Section title, including a fall of Deshler's Andrew Campbell in the 1st period.  Kilgore, Cochran, and Richardson will look to keep Worthington from another state finals appearance on the top side.  The bottom side features returning State Placer, and South Section Champion, Chandler Teems, North Section Runner-up Andrew Campbell, and 2015 State Qualifier Dalton Chandlor.  Keep an eye on Dylan Vines on the top side and Noah Wood on the bottom side ... both are a tough out for anyone in the bracket.

 

145 lbs.

  • Favorite: Tyler Williams (Deshler)
  • Contenders:
    • Geoffrey Murray (St James)
    • Carial Tarter (Mortimer Jordan)
    • Dawson Anderson (Leeds)
    • Logan Burch (St Clair County)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Pick one ... 
  • Darkhorse: Teague Berres (JO Johnson)
  • Bracket Breaker: Nick Langston (Tallassee)
  • Finals: Murray vs. Williams
  • Summary: Best weight class in 1A-5A.  From top to bottom this is easily the most competitive weight class in the classification.  Defending State Champion Williams enters as the favorite, but at least 8 wrestlers have a legitimate shot at taking the top step on Saturday afternoon.  A little background to give you an idea of how even most of the field is ... Murray barely beat Logan Burch 1-0 in the semifinals last week and then downed Anderson 14-8 in the finals.  Anderson barely escaped with a 5-4 win over Weaver's Kyle Clapper in the other semifinal in the South Sectional and won 10-9 in the quarters against Cody Gibson of Holtville (who finished 7th).  In the North Sectional, Williams escaped with a 6-4 decision over Jhovanie Yanez of Montevallo (a wrestler he lost to earlier this season) and Berres beat White 8-7 in the quarters.  This is a great weight class and should be one of the most enjoyable to watch over the course of the next few days.

 

152 lbs.

  • Favorite: Torren Pollard (Leeds)
  • Contenders:
    • Austin Foote (Madison County)
    • Tyler Mayfield (Cleburne County)
    • Jamario Rowe (JO Johnson)
    • Peyton Johnson (Holtville)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Brooks vs. Brown
  • Darkhorse: Noah Howse (Hayden)
  • Bracket Breaker: Ryan King (ASB)
  • Finals: Foote vs. Pollard
  • Summary: One of the best weight classes in 1A-5A.  The addition of defending 152 lb. State Champion Tyler Mayfield at the end of the season made this weight class even better.  Mayfield fell last week to Pollard in the South Section final 10-3 and now must contend with Jordan Tyree, Nicholas Brooks, Taylor Brown, Tate smith, Peyton Johnson, Rio Reyes, and Austin Foote on the top side of the bracket.  Foote, the North Section Champion, has 8 losses on the season, but only because he has wrestled some of the best competition in Alabama and Georgia.  He easily took care of the Sectional bracket last weekend and will look to do the same this weekend.  The bottom side features 2015 138 lb. State Runner-up Torren Pollard of Leeds.  Pollard lost in late December to Tyler Williams 8-5 and hasn't lost since.  In fact he has looked great over the month of January ... the interesting thing is ... nearly all of those wins have come at 145.  Will jumping to 152 make a difference?  The bottom side of the bracket is stacked with good wrestlers and each has the ability to beat anyone in the bracket.  Kick back and enjoy the action at 152.

 

160 lbs.

  • Favorite: Bragan Swindle (Mortimer Jordan)
  • Contenders:
    • Gabriel Keating (Montgomery Catholic)
    • Taylor Shirley (Deshler)
    • Will Prater (St James)
    • William White (Leeds)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Pitts vs. Brady
  • Darkhorse: Kenny Brady (Ashville)
  • Bracket Breaker: Jacob Humphries (Oak Grove)
  • Finals: Shirley vs. Swindle
  • Summary: Keating and Swindle easily handled their sectional brackets, with the exception of their quarterfinal bouts.  Keating won 6-1, 6-3, and 12-3, but only after surviving an overtime match with Noah Beam of Cleburne County.  Swindle had a technical fall and 2 falls, but had to survive a 12-10 overtime win over Kenny Brady of Asheville.  What does this all mean?  This is a wide open weight class that could be won by at least 6 different wrestlers (including Keating and Swindle).  Much will come down to match-ups and who is wrestling well this coming weekend.  Looking ahead (and assuming some wins - which might not be smart) Keating vs. Shelton in quarterfinals should be a fantastic match (Shelton pinned Keating earlier this season).  Pitts vs. Brady might be one of the best 1st round matches of the tournament and the winner vs. Taylor Shirley will be a match you won't want to miss. On the bottom side Swindle has looked great since settling in at 160 ... Watch for Prater vs. Beam (or Snyder) and White vs. Swindle (Swindle won 7-5 earlier this season).  Ready for some close matches and perhaps and upset or two?  

 

170 lbs.

  • Favorite: Caleb Lauderdale (Dora)
  • Contenders:
    • Christian Knop (Alexandria)
    • Shon'derrious Spralling (JO Johnson)
    • Tyler Johnson (Weaver)
    • Arthur Patton (Leeds)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Singles vs. Diebel
  • Darkhorse: Reid Singles (Westminster Christian)
  • Bracket Breaker: Monquavias Ricks (Deshler)
  • Finals: Lauderdale vs. Knop
  • Summary: We should finally get the match we have been waiting to see all season long.  Returning State Runner-up Caleb Lauderdale vs. Returning State Placer Christian Knop.  Both are unbeaten on the season and it would be a surprise if they didn't meet Saturday afternoon with the 170 lb. title on the line.  That isn't to take anything away from Tyler Johnson, Shon'derrious Spralling, Arthur Patton, and the rest of the field.  It just seems like this has been a match that has been building all season.  Assuming the two favorites advance ... you won't want to miss this one.

 

182 lbs.

  • Favorite: Ethan Pippin (Westminster Christian)
  • Contenders:
    • Michael Allison (Weaver)
    • Chase Kelly (Moody)
    • Hunter Dill (Dora)
    • Alex Nickell (Leeds)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Noah vs. Fields
  • Darkhorse: Kane Pitts (Walter Wellborn)
  • Bracket Breaker: Curtis Taylor (ASB)
  • Finals: Allison vs. Pippin
  • Summary: Returning 160 lb. State Runner-up Ethan Pippin enters 26-1 and dominated the North Sectional last weekend in Birmingham.  Pippin had 3 falls before downing Hunter Dill of Dora 11-2.  2015 State Placer Michael Allison of Weaver came from the #4 seed at the South Section to beat #1 seed Alex Nickell of Leeds 13-10 before pinning Chase Kelly of Moody in the finals.  The interesting thing about this bracket is that with the loss to Allison, Nickell (the 2015 152 lb. State Runner-up) finished 3rd and is in the same quarter of the bracket as Pippin.  Also interesting is ... Pippin's lone loss this season is to Nickell (6-4 in the finals of the Jeremy Ragsdale Invitational in January).  Like so many other brackets in 1A-5A ... this weight class could be won by as many as 6 different wrestlers (obviously all 16 could win it, but given their place at sectionals, match-ups, and past matches ... 6 have a real shot at the top step).  Keep an eye on Pitts vs. Britman in the 1st round and the winner vs. Dill in the quarters (assuming he beats Taylor).  Each quarter could offer some real surprises ... enjoy.

 

195 lbs.

  • Favorite: Chase Rodgers (Weaver)
  • Contenders:
    • Gage Watson (Madison County)
    • Bryan Tutton (St Clair County)
    • Demico Fields (Mortimer Jordan)
    • Richard Williamson (St James)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jones vs. Baker
  • Darkhorse: Clint McLeary (Deshler)
  • Bracket Breaker: Tryston Gentry (Beauregard)
  • Finals: Tutton vs. Rodgers
  • Summary: Another unbelievable weight class.  Here is the breakdown and why there really is no favorite, but rather a list of 6-8 wrestlers that could be on the top step at the end of the tournament.  Watson has lost to and beaten Demico Fields (most recently 7-6 in the North Section finals), Watson has also lost to Tutton in overtime (who is on his side of the bracket), Baker lost to Rodgers 5-4 (but has yet to wrestle Tutton or Jones this season), Williamson has beaten Rodgers (and split with Tutton, but has yet to wrestle Watson), Rodgers beat Tutton 4-3 to capture the South Section title last weekend (but he has yet to face Fields).  That is a lot to take in ... so simply ... this is anyone's bracket.  Be sure to catch every match from the quarterfinals on ... Returning State Placer Jackson Brown of Leeds might be the sleeper of the group - he lost a tough 4-2 decision to Tutton at last weekend's South Sectional Tournament.

 

220 lbs.

  • Favorite: Colton Parton (Madison County)
  • Contenders:
    • Caleb Montgomery (Ohatchee)
    • Tre Nation (Leeds)
    • Jamisson Crutcher (Piedmont)
    • Kendall Farr (Westminster Christian)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Elston vs. McCurry
  • Darkhorse: Skyler Mizzell (St Clair County)
  • Bracket Breaker: Daniel Longoria (Alexandria)
  • Finals: Montgomery vs. Parton
  • Summary: Five State Placers return looking for their turn on the top step.  The group is led by Colton Parton of Madison County.  Parton is 39-1 on the season, with his lone loss coming to 7A State Champion Josh Smith of Tuscaloosa County.  Otherwise Parton has been simply outstanding ... having beaten returning State Runner-up Tre Nation twice, State Placer Caleb Montgomery 7-5 in December, State Placer Matthew Elston twice as well as many others.  One interesting note ... he has yet to face St Clair County's Skyler Mizzell, who finished 3rd in the very tough South Sectional, and who he will likely get in the quarterfinals.  Keep an eye on Kendall Farr of Westminster Christian on the top side and Matthew Elston of Weaver on the bottom.  Both could be in the finals.

 

285 lbs.

  • Favorite: Josephus Smith (Leeds)
  • Contenders:
    • Zach Turner (Oak Grove)
    • Sean Caleb Allison (Weaver)
    • Anthony Johnson (Madison County)
    • Jake Baker (Tallassee)
  • Best 1st Round Match: Jenkins vs. Smith
  • Darkhorse: Spencer Killough (Deshler)
  • Bracket Breaker: Reed Murphy (Corner)
  • Finals: Turner vs. Smith
  • Summary: Defending 285 lb. State champion Josephus Smith is 30-0 and enters his final state tournament after winning a narrow 3-2 decision over Weaver freshman Sean Caleb Allison in the South Section Finals.  Smith is unbeaten on the season, but he has been challenged and this is another tournament where that is likely to happen.  The bracket is stacked from top to bottom and that makes for an exciting bracket for the fan.  Neither Allison or Jake Baker were at the 2015 State Tournament, but both have the ability to take the top step in 2016 ... be sure to watch them wrestle this weekend.  Turner is the favorite to get through the top side, but with matches against Nappier, Murphy or Baker and likely Allison, his path is anything but easy.  On the bottom side, Smith will have a battle in the quarters before taking on Madison County's Anthony Johnson (assuming they both advance).  That match could have serious implications on the team race.