BIRMINGHAM — Daphne’s Alanah Girard and Kalyse Hill, as well as Baldwin County’s Tamara Reed, claimed individual titles at the girls’ wrestling state finals at Bill Harris …
BIRMINGHAM — Daphne’s Alanah Girard and Kalyse Hill, as well as Baldwin County’s Tamara Reed, claimed individual titles at the girls’ wrestling state finals at Bill Harris Arena Friday afternoon. It marked the second straight individual state championship for both Hill and Reed.
Although the Lady Trojans’ bid for their third team championship in a row fell short, Daphne still finished as runners-up in the team competition with another individual runner-up finish from Kalee Holder.
The Sparkman Senators walked away with the team title after they finished a nine-point advantage over the Trojans and Daphne head wrestling coach Greg Jefcoat said the tight score will help the team in offseason training.
“I like the fact that it was so close, because you can't say it was because this person, that person or this person,” Jefcoat said after the finals. “Everybody's got to shoulder that blame when it's that close, so everybody can go into the offseason saying, ‘What can I have done better to help us accomplish our goal?’ and that's just going to be our next thing.”
As he said after winning the Baldwin County championship meet, Jefcoat’s message to the team was that today’s finals only marks the start of next season’s preparations.
“It's always what you do today that prepares you for what's next. And that's what we'll do,” Jefcoat said. “What happened today will prepare us for tomorrow and that's how we take it. There's no end game in this, it's always about the next step.”
Reed grabs second straight state title
Baldwin County’s top wrestler, Reed, hoped to take the Lady Tigers to their next step with a second state title in a row.
“I was the only girl on the team last year and now we have six so I'm glad that girls are getting involved,” Reed said Friday. “I'm happy but kind of sad because this is my last year and I love wrestling. I'm going to miss this.”
Before she signed off on her high school wrestling career, however, Reed relished the opportunity to compete at Bill Harris Arena in the finals. This year, Thompson hosted the opening rounds through semifinals Thursday as opposed to the one-location tournament from last year.
“I felt like I was in the UFC,” Reed said of wrestling in the arena. “This experience was sweet, it's only the third year I've been doing this but last year they didn't do like this.”
Girls' wrestling continues to grow
Jefcoat’s biggest takeaways included appreciation to Thompson and coach Riley Pike for hosting the tournament as well as the growth in participation around the sport of girls’ wrestling.
“I think it spoke volumes for what the AHSAA is trying to do in trying to grow the sport. The massive amount of girls that were at the state tournament this year I think will only be greatly grown next year,” Jefcoat said. “Our sport is growing, girls wrestling is growing, the quality of wrestling is growing, and we'll be back. Now, it's about tomorrow.”
“Stay smart, stay focused. Don't play around; I knew to just go for it,” Reed said of her pre-match mentality. “She tried coming for me, but I got to her before she got to me.”
“In these state finals, there was really good wrestling,” Jefcoat said. “There was really good wrestling out here today; high-technique, high-level wrestling. I thought the girls were very classy.”
Girls’ wrestling state finals
Top 15 Teams
Sparkman 191; Daphne 180; Weaver 128.5; Enterprise 126.5; Central-Phenix City 122; Thompson 122; Enterprise 115; Arab 104; Auburn 73; Montgomery Catholic 60; Pinson Valley 57; Brookwood 56, Baldwin County 50; Northside Methodist 50; Baker 49; Gulf Shores 47.
100 pounds: Alanah Girard, Daphne (38-2) def. Erin Clarkson, Auburn (19-4), fall – 1:47
107 pounds: Juliana Eldridge, Wetumpka (21-0) def. Madilyn Rodgers, Arab (15-2), decision – 10-4
114 pounds: Katherine Grigsby, Hewitt-Trussville (34-1) def. Ali Anderson, Weaver (21-6), fall – 1:41
120 pounds: Evelyn Holmes-Smith, Enterprise (36-0) def. Mariah Johannson, Weaver (27-4), fall – 1:18
126 pounds: Carly Thomas, Bob Jones (28-1) def. Jessalynn Allen, Grissom (19-2), fall – 1:42
132 pounds: Kalyse Hill, Daphne (35-0) def. Raya Carpenter, Tuscaloosa County (5-4), decision – 5-3
138 pounds: Lena Johannson, Weaver (26-0) def. Aenaya Vines, Thompson (33-4), fall – 0:37
145 pounds: Akerah Artis, Sparkman (31-0) def. Charlotte Parker, Montgomery Catholic (16-3), fall –2:36
152 pounds: Reagan Grant, Sparkman (25-2) def. Autumn Boutwell, Arab (17-6), fall – 0:25
165 pounds: Mackenzie Schultz, Enterprise (33-0) def. Kalee Holder, Daphne (23-3), technical fall – 17-2
185 pounds: Aniyah Griffin, Pinson Valley (35-0) def. Joy Hawkins, Sparkman (24-1), fall – 1:58
235 pounds: Tamara Reed, Baldwin County (17-0) def. Mallory Ladd, Enterprise (16-2), fall – 0:34