Four Ohatchee wrestlers advance to state tourney
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Feb 09, 2014 | 1990 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BIRMINGHAM — The difference that a year can make became evident for Ohatchee this weekend.

After the Indians had Hannah Gladden advance to the state tournament in their first year as a program, coach Matt Sweatman had four of his wrestlers advance at Saturday’s North super sectional to this week’s state tournament, which starts on Friday.

“I think it’s more team unity than anything,” Sweatman said. “I think we have more of a team atmosphere than last year. We won 22 of our 27 duals, which I think was the third best record in 1A-4A. That’s been it. We have a lot more football players wrestling, too.”

Ohatchee’s Kevin Griffith won the 113-pound weight division for Class 1A-4A, while Josh Sexton (120) and Payton Entrekin (126) finished runner-up. Hunter Barclay (285) finished third.

Despite the progress from last year, Sweatman said Ohatchee, which finished fourth, would have performed better had the Indians not missed time last week due to the severe winter weather.

“The snow last week killed us and you can tell it,” he said. “This is the worst condition we’ve been in a long time. If we had the sectional tournament mid-year I think we would’ve sent six.”

Weaver also struggled from setbacks that occasionally occur. The Bearcats’ 138-pound wrestler, Jacob Howard, has been slowed down with an off-and-on fever all week, and after qualifying for state left the sectional to go to the doctor.

The Bearcats had seven other wrestlers qualify.

“Jacob wasn’t able to do as well as usual, but he’s in the state tournament,” Weaver coach Andy Fulmer said. “We had a lot of tough draws, but overall I thought our kids wrestled really well this weekend top to bottom, qualifiers and non-qualifiers.”

Weaver, which finished second in 1A-4A, had several champions. Wil Mizic (132), Jermaine Carmichael (170) and Chase Rodgers (195) will have a top seed out of the North at the state tournament. Collin Allison (182), Macklin Crook (285) and Nick Souder (106) finished as runner-ups Saturday.

Fulmer said Weaver needs to work on wrestling more aggressively and with a sense of urgency before Friday. The Bearcats enter the state tournament as one of the top programs in their division.

“We’ll see what we can do next weekend,” Fulmer said. “The eight I’ve got can score and are great kids that work hard. We’ll see what happens.”

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star
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