Photo by Dennis Victory|
Hartselle coach Dan Styles and senior Caleb Blanton celebrate Blanton’s 5A state championship in the 145-pound weight class in Pelham on Saturday.
Pin a crown on Blanton
Hartselle senior wins state wrestling title
By Dennis Victory
PELHAM — Caleb Blanton celebrated his 145-pound Class 5A individual state championship in particularly non-wrestling style.
The senior gorged himself at a Birmingham restaurant.
“I ate some spaghetti and steak,” said Blanton following the state wrestling tournament at the Pelham Civic Complex. “I had brownies and strawberry cake, and big plate of ice cream. I’m thinking about hitting the pizza in a second.”
The senior deserved every empty calorie he could pile into his slender frame after a hard-fought 6-5 victory over McAdory’s Heath Jolley. The match was tied 4-all in the third period when Blanton’s takedown provided the points necessary to earn Hartselle’s first individual title since 2005 when the Tigers won the team championship.
Scottsboro won its second straight team championship, compiling 152 points, with four wrestlers earning individual titles, including twin Cuthbertson brothers Chase and Kyle. The Cuthbertsons each won their fourth straight individual championships with three straight pins in state tournament action each of the past two seasons.
Hartselle finished ninth with 52 points with four wrestlers placing at the two-day event. Kyle Davis (32-8), Dallas Kalber (39-10) and Ethan Hamilton (35-12) each finished fourth.
In consolation action, Davis fell at 125 pounds to Scottsboro’s Taylor Machen while Kalber lost to Tallassee’s Jonathan Haynes at 160 pounds and Hamilton fell to Erwin’s Kenny Currington at 189 pounds.
“We had a good weekend,” Hartselle coach Dan Styles said. “We brought six wrestlers down here, and four placed at the state championship. The progress these kids made as individuals was a clear improvement.”
Blanton’s high school run duplicated what his father, Charlie, accomplished as a prep wrestler.
Charlie Blanton, who died in 2001 because of a heart attack, won a state championship in 1972 as a senior after finishing second as a junior.
The younger Blanton also finished second last year, falling in last year’s 140-pound
The memory of his father and last year’s loss provided all the motivation he needed even when he was struggling during Saturday’s final.
“I had some problems with him, but he started getting tired,” said Blanton, who finished the year 41-1. “I knew if I kept battling him I could come away with a win.”
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