HUNTSVILLE — A small army of local high school wrestlers went to the AHSAA State Championships last weekend, hoping to be the one to stand atop the medals platform on Saturday afternoon.
But after two days, only two were able to accomplish that feat.
Pinson Valley’s Hank Turner at 138 pounds and Adam Crocker at 145 won back-to-back final matches in the middle of the Von Braun Center floor, and were the only two local grapplers to walk away with a state championship.
They helped propel the Indians to a fourth-place finish in the Class 5A team standings, well behind repeat champion Arab but not far away from runner-up Southside-Gadsden and third-place Scottsboro.
Mortimer Jordan placed eighth, and Hayden 10th.
The team finish for the Tribe was a little lower than what his team had hoped for, coach Gene Richardson said.
“We had hoped for a little more, and our expectations were a little high,” Richardson said. “But we have nine state qualifiers coming back next year, and we did the best that we’ve done since I’ve been at Pinson. So you can believe that we’re going to come back next year and work even harder.”
Eight local wrestlers made it to the final bouts, but all except Turner and Crocker were beaten — some barely, others decisively.
One of the quickest losses came for Jordan’s Devyn McCombs, who had breezed through his first two bouts to win both by pinfall. But when your opponent in the finals is going for his record-tying sixth straight state title — and is famous enough that the AHSAA puts his face on the cover of the meet’s official program — then an opponent has his work cut out for him.
Scottsboro’s Brandon Womack stayed true to form though, and quickly had McCombs dominated. Womack pinned McCombs in just over a minute and a half making the Blue Devil the last vanquished opponent in Womack’s stellar high school varsity career.