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The Hartselle wresting team, which is headed to the state championship meet in Pelham, numbers only six, but that's plenty for the Tigers' cheerleaders to show some support.
Daily photo by Johnathan Palmer
The Hartselle wresting team, which is headed to the state championship meet in Pelham, numbers only six, but that's plenty for the Tigers' cheerleaders to show some support.

Young Tigers
build for future

Hartselle sends 6 wrestlers to state
with eye on big prize down the road

By Michael Wetzel 340-2462

When Dan Styles looks over his Hartselle High wrestling team roster, he has mixed feelings about what he sees.

He says he's got a "great group of kids" who give it their all. He also sees a lack of numbers in a once-proud program, which won a state championship as recently as 2005.

"It's been a total rebuilding process," said Styles, who is in his second year at the helm of the Hartselle wrestling team. "We had three varsity spots unfilled this year. We're still real young, but the kids don't quit."

While six Hartselle wrestlers qualified for the state tournament, which begins Friday at the Pelham Civic Complex, Styles said his team's lack of numbers will keep the Tigers from having a viable chance at winning the Class 5A team championship.

"We've got some kids who could win their weight class. We expect the team to have a good showing, but with only six qualifying, it will be hard to do anything teamwise as far as points go."

Styles said some schools qualified 10 to 12 wrestlers and will be able to accumulate more points. He listed defending champion Scottsboro as the 5A team to beat again.

Last year, Hartselle sent six wrestlers to the state meet and came home with 34 points, 13th overall. Scottsboro amassed 125 points for the title.

Styles singled out Hartselle senior Caleb Blanton, a finalist in last year's 140-pound class. Blanton finished the regular season 38-1 in the 145-pound class, and Styles labels him as a favorite at the state meet.

"He's a great athlete and a great kid who we will be counting on to do well," Styles said.

Other Hartselle grapplers who have qualified for the state meet include sophomore Kyle Davis (125-pound class), junior Barrett Eubanks (152), senior Dallas Kalber (160), sophomore Ethan Hamilton (189) and senior Daniel Fillatraut (215).

Davis made it to the 112-pound consolation finals last year, and Eubanks' older brother, Brad, won the 275-pound consolations in 2006.

But Styles likes the direction his program is going.

"Scottsboro is the position Hartselle was a few years ago," he said. "They're the defending state champs, and they've got a bunch of juniors, so they should be good next year, too. But we've got a strong junior program and 40 or 50 eighth-, ninth-, 10th-graders who will be on the varsity in a couple of years.

"In wrestling, experience is a real necessity. You need a couple of years of learning techniques. Two years from now, Hartselle will be where Scottsboro is now."

But in the meantime, Styles promises his team will step off the bus Friday morning in Pelham ready for action.

"I demand a lot of our guys and they've all done what I asked them to do." said Styles, a former Sparkman High wrestling coach. "We'll have six guys at state who are going to battle every second they are there."

Hartselle wrestlers head to state

  • When: Friday and Saturday. Class 5A quarterfinals are at noon Friday with semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Saturday finds consolation quarterfinals beginning at 9:30 a.m. Championship finals in all classifications begin at 5:30 p.m.

  • Where: Pelham Civic Center.

  • Admission The cost is $7 per session or $26 for a tournament pass.

  • Who: Hartselle wrestlers who will compete at the state meet include Kyle Davis (125-pound class), Caleb Blanton (145), Barrett Eubanks (152), Dallas Kalber (160), Ethan Hamilton (189) and Daniel Filiatrault (215).

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