Friday and Saturday the Oxford Wrestling team traveled back to the Birmingham Crossplex, this time to compete in the AHSAA 6A North Super Sectional Championships. The goal of the team this weekend was to qualify as many Yellow Jacket wrestlers for next weekend’s AHSAA State Championships as possible. “The top 8 in each weight class qualify for next weekend, so our focus all week was to perform at our best and get as many through to achieve our overall goal of winning another title,” stated Kyle Routon, Oxford Head Coach. Oxford is the 2 time defending 6A State Wrestling Champions and they ended the weekend with 10 of their 13 wrestlers qualifying for the State Championships.
“Coach Tucker, McCall, and I spent a lot of time since the Duals Championships preparing the guys for these two weeks. We felt going into this weekend that we could get the major of our guys through but we knew several would have tough matches to do it. Fortunately, we got 10 moving on and that will be our focus now,” said Routon.
The 10 Oxford wrestlers who will compete next weekend are Kaleb Shelton (115), Kash Hornsby (122), Landon Burrage (128), Wesley Slick (134), Jakob Chisolm (147), Reed Hill (154), Kendrick Young (172), Keeshon Siaosi (184), Octavius Adair (197), and Kobe Shumaker (222). Three Yellow Jackets seasons ended just short, and those are Garrett Howell (108), Tristan Latham (160) and Jalen Bradford (287). “Those guys wrestled their rear ends off for us all year and you want to take all of them to State but there are only 8 spots. Each one gave us all they had and for various reasons just did not make it. The best thing is they are all coming back next year and that is what we talked to them about once they got over the loss,” explained Routon.
Friday saw the Yellow Jackets get their 8 of their 13 into the Championship Semifinals and getting 2 through the blood round. The blood round is a term used in wrestling tournaments for the round that is a wrestler wins they guarantee themselves a medal in the event. It is one of the most hotly contested rounds for what it stands for and is event more when a trip to the State Championship tournament is on the line. Kaleb Shelton was able to win a tight 6-4 match in this round. Kash Hornsby found the fortunate draw and picked up a BYE, meaning he did not have a match but moved to the next round, and advanced. Jalen Bradford was pinned by his opponent to end his run.
Saturday began with the Semifinal round and the Oxford Yellow Jackets were ready. They picked up wins in 6 of the 8 matches with only Siaosi and Adair losing. “Each of those guys wrestled tough in that round. Siaosi had a guy he faced in the State Duals Championship and was doing a good job of our plan but made one mistake and that was the difference. Adair once again was tough but had a couple of small errors and came up short too. They great thing with these guys is how well they listen and make adjustments, so I feel confident about next week,” stated Routon.
“I felt like we were focused and ready in all our matches. Burrage, Slick, Chisolm and Reed did what they do. Kendrick picked up a big win to justify his #1 seed and Shumaker upset the #2 seed after upsetting #3 seed in the previous round. We did not thing his wins were upsets but based on seeding it is. By getting into the finals that helps the draw next weekend and increased their shot to be on the podium and help the team,” explained Routon.
With as good as the morning was, the evening was not for the Yellow Jackets because they only won 2 of their 10 medal matches. The disappointment and frustration was evident when talking with the team and coaches. “We did not finish and that is one thing we have talked about all season. These last two rounds has left a bad taste in our mouth. If I know these guys and coaches, it will drive us,” said Routon on the teams final round.
In the end, Oxford was still the Sectional Champions for the 5th year in a row and will look to defend their State Championship. If winning for the third year in a row was not motivation enough, they now have more based on the end of the tournament. We do not know what will happen next week but if they are focused and finish then this group will be tough.
AHSAA State Championship Schedule and Information
Location – Von Braun Center – Huntsville
Admission – $10 per day
Thursday (February 14)
9:00 a.m. Officials Meeting
10:00 a.m. Coaches Meeting (1A-5A, 6A)
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Class 1A-5A, 6A Weigh-In (shoulder-to-shoulder)
Note: A Rolling Schedule Will Be Used Until Semi-Final Round Begins
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Class 1A-5A, 6A Prelims
30 minute break after conclusion of Prelims
30 minutes after Prelims – Class 1A-5A, 6A Consolation Round 1
15 minutes break after conclusion of Consolation Round 1
15 minutes after Consolation – Class 1A-5A, 6A Quarter-Finals
Friday (February 15)
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Weigh-In (all classes, shoulder-to-shoulder)
9:30a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Class 1A-5A, 6A Consolation Round 2 Class 7A Quarter-Finals
12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Break
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Championship Semi-Finals (all classes)
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Consolation Quarter-Finals (all classes)
5:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. Break
5:45 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. Consolation Semi-Finals (all classes)
Saturday (February 16)
8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. Weigh-In (shoulder-to-shoulder)
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Consolation Finals Class 1A-5A, 6A 5th-6th Place Round
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. Championship Finals (3 mats – one mat per division)