Piedmont senior Clay Dent beat Oak Grove’s Robbie Cannon in a 6-4 decision in the Class 1A-4A 182-pound final, clinching Dent’s third state title and a 76-0 season record.
He broke the state record for victories in a season without a loss, a record last broken a year ago by Scottsboro’s Brandon Womack.
The record was announced while Dent stood on the medal stand.
“I didn’t know until now,” said Dent, smiling ear to ear. “I knew it was close, but I didn’t know if I got it or not.”
Emotions were quite different for Wellborn senior Dalton Carroll, who came to Huntsville seeking his fifth individual title in six years. He suffered a 5-4 upset to Leeds’ Brian Shockley in the 1A-4A 152 final.
“Success,” a terse Carroll said when asked to sum up his career, “but it doesn’t matter. Got to finish.”
Dent’s and Carroll’s high school finales headlined a day of drama for area individuals and teams, and younger stars had their moments.
Oxford junior Jordan Simpson won his third state title, winning a 20-6 major decision againsat Oak Mountain’s Jared Godfrey in the 6A 126 final.
Lincoln freshman Jamario Smith won the 1A-4A 126 final, beating Piedmont’s Austin Goss 17-10.
Other area finalists included the following:
• Weaver 106-pounder Christian Cortez, who lost a 3-2 decision to
Montgomery Catholic’s Zachary Van alst;
(bullet) Wellborn 132-pounder Mathew Smith, who lost a major decision to Dora’s Blake Boshell, 9-1;
(bullet) and Ranburne 220-pounder Matthew Smith, who was pinned by Oak Grove’s Dillan Campbell in one minute, 21 seconds.
Team champions included Thompson (231.5 points) in 6A, Scottsboro (159) in 5A and Susan Moore (91) in 1A-4A. Oxford (83.5) was fifth in 6A, while Piedmont (69), Weaver (50) and Wellborn (49) finished fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively, in 1A-4A.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association championships played out over three days in the Von Braun Center’s Propst Arena, concluding with Saturday’s consolation and championship finals.
Carroll, Dent and Simpson entered the day with eight state titles between them, and Carroll and Dent hoped to end their high school careers on top.
Dent got more than he expected, getting the first takedown in the first period, building a 6-2 lead and holding off Cannon.
When the final seconds ticked off of the third period, Dent jumped in the arms of Piedmont coach Harley Lamey.
“It was a little nerve-racking there,” Lamey said. “You get to the state finals, and everybody tries to leave everything on the mat. You’ve got to give credit to Cannon. He got after him and wouldn’t lay down.”
There would be more to celebrate, and Dent got applause from the crowd after his state record was announced.
Scottsboro’s Brandon Womack was last to hold the mark for victories without a loss, going 74-0 in 2011. His 86-2 this season broke the record for most overall victories.
Lamey said he tried to get Piedmont into events that would offer the maximum number of matches, but Dent’s mark came against strong competition.
“He beat the 6A state champ (Jesse Masters),” Lamey said. “He was outstanding wrestler at the Alabama Duels, outstanding wrestler at our tournament, the Weaver tournament and the Heart of Dixie, which is a real big deal.”
Among Dent’s 76 victories were more than 50 pins, Lamey said. Dent pinned his first two opponents in the state tournament.
“There was never any doubt,” Lamey said. “He had one match that he won, I think it was 8-5, and he was wrestling a 195 kid.
“The rest of it, he never got in any bad position. I think he gave up two takedowns all year, and one of them the guy poked him in the eye then got him.”
Dent plans to wrestle in college. He’s weighing Ohio State, North Carolina State, Old Dominion and Chattanooga.
“I’m kind of upset that I won’t be with my team and coach any more,” he said, “but this feels real good.”
For Carroll, the feeling was much different.
He had beaten Shockley earlier in the season 12-2 and led Saturday’s rematch 2-0.
“There was one turning point where they got in a little tussle over there (in the second period), and Shockley ended up on top of that,” Wellborn coach Rusty Mayfield said. “It was a good match. They both went out there and busted it.”
After the match, Carroll jogged through a tunnel and around a corner for a private moment. He re-emerged and explained the match turnaround simply: “I just got tired.”
Before Saturday, Carroll had won four state titles in five years. His one prior miss came during his freshman year, when he battled anemia.
“This is my first year to coach him, but in this year, I’ve learned that he’s a great young man,” Mayfield said. “His workethic has been awesome.
“He’s looking forward to the next level, and I know he’ll be successful.”
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 256-235-3576 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @jmedley_star.