By D. Mark Mitchell

The Opelika High School wrestling team participated in the Sectional Duals Tournament Friday and Saturday. Four Bulldog grapplers qualified for the state tournament.
Tory Birdsong (132 lbs.) finished second, Des Shuman (126 lbs.) placed third, James Dawson was fifth (220 lbs.) and Timmy Tolbert (152 lbs.) was fifth in their respective weight classes. Opelika, as a team, finished 14th out of 22 teams.
The state tournament starts in Huntsville Thursday (Feb. 16) and will conclude Saturday.
Congratulations and good luck!
The Opelika girls basketball team (23-7) won the area tournament title,  beating Benjamin Russell 78-60. Anita Payne scored 19 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs and was named MVP for the tournament, senior Diamond Buchannon scored 16 and was named to the All-Tournament Team.  Freshman Claire Worth added 12 points and Abea Green scored 10 points.
Opelika (24-7) dominated Stanhope Elmore, 81-32 at the sports arena, in the sub-regional round of the AHSAA 6A girls state playoffs Monday night. The Lady Bulldogs opened the game on fire, racing to an early 12-0 lead.
Claire Worth sunk a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter to give OHS a 29-4 lead. Anita Payne led Opelika with a 17 points. Abrea Green added 16 points, Diamond Buchannon scored 14 points and Claire Worth added 11 points. Opelika advances to the regionals in Montgomery Friday morning against Hillcrest.
You can listen the the game on WTLM 1520am or online at
The OHS boys basketball season ended with a overtime loss to Benjamin Russell in the area tournament in Wetumpka. Coach John Wadsworth endured his worst record as a head coach. The Dawgs went 2-21.
Wadsworth lost seven returning players due to transfers, disicpline problems and two deciding to not play. These seven players would have been starting and playing on a regular basis.
This year’s team was young and small in size. Then, too, the schedule was full of 6A-7A schools that make the playoffs regularly. These are some of the reasons for the poor record.
Rest assured, Coach Wadsworth will have his players ready for 2018.
The first spring sport to play this season was tennis. The girls and boys tennis teams lost to Enterprise last week.
The girls lost 2-7. Sara Hollis Smith T won 6-2, 7-5 at number three and the number two doubles team of Sam Herring and Mary Bentley Barfield also won their match.
Tune in to the “On the Mark” radio show every morning from 7 to 9 on 1520-AM.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.