Photo by Dennis Victory|
Hartselle High's Caleb Blanton, right, defeated Erwin High's Marqueze O'Neal in the 145-pound class at the state wrestling championships at the Pelham Civic Complex on Friday.
Blanton moves to wrestling finals
5 other Hartselle grapplers in Saturday's consolations
By Dennis Victory
email@example.com · 340-2460
PELHAM — Hartselle High wrestler Caleb Blanton was looking for a quick start in his championship round semifinal match against Arab's Chris Moody.
Blanton spent the first two-minute period at the state wrestling championship tournament at Pelham's Civic Complex determining his best course of action.
Then he exploded for a big lead in the second, holding on for a 6-4 victory and his second straight trip to the final round.
"I knew it would be a good match from the get-go," Blanton said. "I wanted to get ahead early and pace myself."
Class 5A defending champion Scottsboro leads after the first day of team competition with 106 points to McAdory's 84. Gardendale is third with 70. Scottsboro advanced six wrestlers to Saturday's final McAdory has five and Gardendale sends four.
Saturday's action starts with the quarterfinal round of consolation action at 9:30 a.m. followed by the consolation semifinals and finals. The championship round begins at 5:30 p.m.
The Tigers brought six wrestlers, but only Blanton advanced to Saturday's championship final. Kyle Davis fell just short of the final, losing to Brookwood's Rick Averett 9-7 at 125 pounds in the semifinal.
Barrett Eubanks lost at 152 pounds and Dallas Kalber fell at 160 in the semifinal, while Ethan Hamilton lost in the quarterfinal round at 189 pounds, as did Daniel Filiatrault at 215 pounds.
"This group has done well," Hartselle coach Dan Styles said. "We lost a couple that could have gone either way, but these kids don't always measure success in wins and losses."
Styles took over the Hartselle wrestling program from Keith Corder in 2006, who had a successful 12-year run guiding the Tigers, including the 2005 state title.
It has been a rebuilding process since.
Blanton faces McAdory's Heath Jolley in Saturday's final.
In his semifinal against Moody, the Hartselle senior picked up a point early in the second. A takedown with 1:24 left helped Blanton to a 6-1 lead at the end of the second period.
"I knew I had to play the rest of the match smart," Blanton said. "I didn't want to do anything stupid."
Davis, Eubanks and Kalber will sit out the first round of consolation action to await wrestlers in the semifinal. Hamilton wrestles Scottsboro's Billy Womack in the consolation quarterfinal round, and Filatrault faces Tallassee's Sharrod Person.
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