SMITHS STATION, Ala. -- Smiths Station High sent seven wrestlers to the finals, five of whom won, en route to a second-place finish overall on Saturday at the Smiths Station Invitational wrestling tournament.
Of the seven tournaments the Panthers have participated in this season, they have won five. Gilmer High, which just won the GHSA Class AAAA duals championship, also had five first-place finishers en route to the team title.
"I'm proud of our team," Smiths Station coach Tommy Sanders said. "We had 10 of 13 place out of a great field of competition. We had seven in the finals and five individual champions. The top four guys in each weight class here will probably be competing at their respective state competitions, so I thought our guys handled the competition well.
"Ultimately, the goal is always to win, but we measure a team for how they perform, and I thought they did well."
Quin Miles (113-pound), Joshua Jameson (120), Tim Hester (170), Chris Young-Perusek (195) and Branden Holland (220) each won an individual championship.
Of the five, perhaps the most exciting was the last one.
Holland and Gilmer's Tyler Bertolini were tied 6-6 with just a minute remaining in the final period. Bertolini went for a takedown with less than 30 seconds left, which could have spelled the end for Holland. Holland, however, reversed the move, giving himself the lead, and pinned his opponent with only three seconds left.
"When he tried to take me down, I just grabbed his ankle and lifted to get the reversal," Holland said. "It was really just great to help the team."
Miles scored the first win of the day for the Panthers, followed quickly by Jameson. Miles praised the competition in the tournament as well as the work his teammates put in.
"It was real tough," he said. "It took a lot of hard work, working our strength. There was some great competition. I just took a nap after the semifinals, a long nap, and I was good to go."
Jacobb Goodwin and Cameron Rose finished as runners-up for Smiths Station.
Also from the Bi-City area, Northside High finished in sixth overall, followed by Hardaway's 10th-place finish.
The Patriots had one wrestler in the finals, Kalvin Harris, who lost to Gilmer's Cameron Perry in the 126-pound weight class. Perry was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Hardaway also sent one to the finals, Cameron Williams, who fell to Caden McWhirter from Prattville in the 138-pound class. In the same class, Hardaway's Taylor Stephens finished in third place after beginning the tournament as a three-seed. Stephens got his mouth busted up in an earlier match on Friday, sending him to the hospital for stitches, so he was forced to forfeit a match and was unable to go for the individual championship.
He battled his way back to win the consolation match, however, taking third place.
"I was incredibly proud of him for sticking with it," Hardaway coach Kevin Noviello said.
Also from the Bi-City area, Central's Ethan Baber won the 182-pound class and Russell County's Tyler Smith was runner-up in 285.
106: Alberto Perez, Gilmer def. Jacobb Goodwin, Smiths Station, 9-1
113: Quin Miles, Smiths Station def. Lucas Patterson, Gilmer, 6-3
120: Joshua Jameson, Smiths Station def. Robbey Killough, Prattville, 5-3
126: Cameron Perry, Gilmer def. Kalvin Harris, Northside, 12-1
132: Brady McCollum, Gilmer def. Decavius Powell, Jeff Davis, Fall
138: Caden McWhirter, Prattville def. Cameron Williams, Hardaway, 17-2
145: Johnie Flakes, Gilmer def. Deandre Beck, Stanhope-Elmore, Fall
152: Khaliq Jones, Wetumpka def. Chaz Reimer, Gilmer, 4-2
160: Ty Reece, Gilmer def. Hunter Richardson, LaGrange, 4-1
170: Tim Hester, Smiths Station def. Jared Sweat, Gilmer, 14-3
182: Ethan Baber, Central def. Coleman Rose, Smiths Station, 11-7
195: Chris Young-Perusek, Smiths Station def. Connor Wigginton, Bowdon, 19-8
220: Branden Holland, Smiths Station def. Tyler Bertolini, Gilmer, Fall
285: Darius Preyer, Carver-Montgomery def. Tyler Smith, Russell County, Fall
1. Gilmer 267
2. Smiths Station 220
3. Prattville 128
4. Stanhope-Elmore 114
5. Wetumpka 105.5
6. Northside 91.5
7. Jeff Davis 91
8. Bowdon 78
9. LaGrange 69
10. Hardaway 63.5
11. Carver-Montgomery 57
12. Russell County 56
13. Central 55
13. Chattahooche County 55
15. Jordan 54
16. Columbus 53
17. Cleburne County 52.5
18. Carver-Columbus 35
19. Brookstone 24
20. Shaw 23
21. Tallassee 17
22. Pacelli 10