BIRMINGHAM — Needing two wins in the final two matches, Hayden Cook and Noah Guthrie came through with victories to help the Gulf Shores Dolphins win the Class 5A wrestling dual consolation …
BIRMINGHAM — Needing two wins in the final two matches, Hayden Cook and Noah Guthrie came through with victories to help the Gulf Shores Dolphins win the Class 5A wrestling dual consolation championship at the state finals Friday night at Bill Harris Arena.
The Hayden Wildcats — who beat Gulf Shores in regular-season action in December — won five matches in a row to take a 21-7 lead at the halfway point of the match.
Landon Everett (6-3) and Lucas Salcedo (4-1) won by decisions before Jackson Russ and Sam Schepker earned forfeit victories to bring the Dolphins to a 27-25 deficit entering the final two matches. Both Cook (2:44) and Guthrie (5:30) scored pins of their opponents to secure third place overall in Class 5A for Gulf Shores.
It was also a revenge match for Cook, who was pinned by Hayden’s Ashton Bunn in the teams’ first meeting.
Dolphin head coach Britt Shaw said it came down to a total team effort and his squad banded together to come through after coming up short of the championship finals with a semifinal loss to Tallassee.
“We wanted to be up there (on the big stage in the finals), and you get to this match, and you could sit there and lick your wounds,” Shaw said after the match. “We could have very easily packed it all in and come in here and just dialed it in but these boys, I'm so proud of them for coming together for supporting each other. Even the ones that got beat went out there and fought their tails off, and that's what you’ve got to do to win close duals against good teams.”
Although Gulf Shores didn’t achieve its ultimate goal, Shaw knew ending the season this way was a sizeable step for the program.
“We're not going to be satisfied with third place in duals because like I said, we wanted to be up there on that big stage,” Shaw said. “We'll take it, we're growing, we're still a young program; we've made the semifinals three years in a row now and we've lost all three but we're getting closer each one of those.”
Brotherhood emphasized by wrestling through injury
Part of the steps in building a program is establishing a culture and Shaw said Cotton Crowell’s effort in fighting to a decision instead of getting pinned while battling a knee injury spoke volumes to how well the team is listening to the coaching staff.
“(Crowell) went out there and gave us six minutes. He could have very easily said, ‘Look I'm done coach,’ but he didn't, and that's because they support their teammates,” Shaw said. “That's what we preach. We preach to not just wrestle for yourself, wrestle for your brothers on the team and that's what they did tonight. It really showed.”
Plaque ends long road trip for Dolphins
Shaw said it had been a long week on the road for the Gulf Shores squad that traveled to Tallassee for the semifinal dual Tuesday before heading to Thompson High Thursday for the first rounds of the girls’ state championship and then back to Bill Harris Arena Friday for the consolation finals.
Altogether, the Dolphins had spent about 24 hours on the road over just three days and Shaw said it was certainly a plus to get on the road home as consolation champions.
Class 5A Consolation Championship
Gulf Shores (27-2) 37, Hayden (30-3) 27
128 pounds: Dathan Butt (Gulf Shores) def. John Kelly (Hayden), major – 11-1
134 pounds: Ethan Sharkey (Gulf Shores) def. Tanner Vodosia (Hayden), decision – 10-8
140 pounds: Evan Phillips (Hayden) def. Taylor Cheek (Gulf Shores), major – 12-2
147 pounds: Stephen Nelson (Hayden) def. Charles Knight (Gulf Shores), decision – 9-8
154 pounds: Bentley Briscoe (Hayden) def. Miles Stoufflet (Gulf Shores), fall – 0:35
162 pounds: Isaac O’Rear (Hayden) def. Cotton Crowell (Gulf Shores), decision – 7-1
172 pounds: Grant McGill (Hayden) def. Nicholas Carris (Gulf Shores), technical fall – 15-0
184 pounds: Landon Everett (Gulf Shores) def. Deion Dubuisson (Hayden), 6-3
197 pounds: Lucas Salcedo (Gulf Shores) def. Griffen Price (Hayden), decision – 4-1
222 pounds: Jackson Russ (Gulf Shores), forfeit
287 pounds: Sam Schepker (Gulf Shores), forfeit
108 pounds: Harley Briscoe (Hayden) def. Abel Brantley (Gulf Shores), fall – 1:40
115 pounds: Hayden Cook (Gulf Shores) def. Ashton Bunn (Hayden), fall – 2:44
122 pounds: Noah Guthrie (Gulf Shores) def. Hudson Best (Hayden), fall – 5:30