State Wrestling begins Thursday in Huntsville

State teams battle for Championships at the Von Braun Center
Decatur’s Oliver Howard (22-0) is shown winning a match in last week’s North Class 6A Super...
Decatur’s Oliver Howard (22-0) is shown winning a match in last week’s North Class 6A Super Sectionals(AHSAA Photos / Josh Bean)
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 8:00 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Huntsville Panthers tasted success in the State Wrestling duals, winning the event for the first time in program history. Head Coach Patrick Harris aims for more for his program.

“For us the team goals are to compete for State titles as a team and individually,” Harris said. “There’s a lot to be done, it looks good on paper, there will be many, many upsets, a lot of rematches from last weekend. We’re looking forward to our opportunities to grow into next year, where we will be pretty strong there too.”

The 68th AHSAA State Wrestling Championships begin Thursday and run through Saturday at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. Action in the Class 1A-4A, Class 6A and Class 7A divisions starts Thursday, while Class 5A begins Friday. All championship matches are set for Saturday.     

This is the first season for four classifications in AHSAA wrestling history. Mortimer Jordan won the Class 5A-6A championship last season, but the Blue Devils were the only reigning champ to win a Super Sectional team title last week. Defending Class 7A champ Thompson was second in the North Super Section, and reigning 1A-4A champ Weaver was also second in the North.    

Two schools are also trying to end lengthy wrestling championship droughts. Homewood won the Class 6A South Super Sectional last weekend but hasn’t won a state title since 2004, while Saint James, which won the Class 1A-4A South Super Sectional last week, last won a state title in 2013.    

Thompson or Vestavia Hills has won the team title in the state’s largest classification every title in 2010. Vestavia and Smiths Station won Super Sectional team championship last week.    

In 6A, Gardendale brothers Isaiah Powe (51-0) and Daishun Powe (52-0) are chasing undefeated seasons. Daishun won the 132-pound title last year and is now at 152 pounds. Isaiah won the 113-pound state title in 2020 and 120-pound title in 2021. He’s now in the 145-pound weight class.     

Decatur’s Oliver Howard (22-0) remains unbeaten in the 160-pound weight class in Class 6A. He finished runner-up at 160 pounds last season. Hayden’s Bentley Briscoe (54-0) remains unbeaten in the 152-pound weight class in Class 5A, and in 5A, Alexandria’s Preston Jones (44-0) is still undefeated.    

In Class 1A-4A, Weaver’s Joshua Johannson (38-0) is undefeated in the 170-pound weight class. He won the 160-pound state title last year and 152-pound championship in 2021 with  unbeaten 28-0 and 38-0 records. He currently has a 104-match winning streak dating back to 2020. Also, in Class 1A-4A, Montevallo’s Gavin Monk (50-0) is undefeated at 145 pounds.   

Dora’s Damon Clayton (34-0) at 132 pounds and teammate Jonathan Foster (36-0) at 182 pounds are also unbeaten this season. Both helped Dora win the Class 1A-4A Duals title earlier this season. Foster won a 170-pound state title in 2022.     There are no undefeated wrestlers in Class 7A, but Huntsville’s Kiyan Simon at 106 pounds, Opelika’s Brady Campbell (39-1) at 145 pounds, and Spain Park’s William Conlon (46-1) at 182 pounds will try to win individual state titles and finish with just one loss.

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