By Wil Crews

The Smiths Station Panther Wrestling team finished 7th overall in the 2020-21 AHSAA 7A Wrestling State Championship in the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham last weekend.

Thirteen Panther wrestlers qualified for the tournament and, while there, four individual wresters qualified for the semifinals.

“I was real happy for those four but I was happy for the whole team,” said Smiths Station head wrestling coach Russell Sanders. “We qualified 13 kids for State, that’s the most we ever qualified.”

Anthony Dunn (160 lbs) and JT Zogg (285 lbs) lost in the semis to Thompson’s Will Miller and Bob Jones’s Drew Lawson, respectively. Dunn then finished his season with a win by pin over Spain Parks Kyle Oliveira to finish 5th overall at state.

“He finished his career with a win, which is always a plus,” Sanders said.

Zogg finished 4th overall, losing to Auburn’s Cameron Reese in the third place match. 

Kyle Watson (220 lbs) won 8-4 in the semis to make the finals, but lost by one point to Vestavia’s Bryce Littleton to finish runner up.

“We didn’t get the outcome we needed in the finals,” Sanders added. “But he had a real successful season.” 

Devin Stone (132 lbs) advanced to the finals after a 12-4 major decision over Thompson’s Cory Jones. Stone went on to be crowned State Champion by defeating Vestavia’s Christopher Hayes by a 3-1 decision.

“[Thompson and Vestavia] are the two top placing teams,” Sanders said. “That tells you that he had a tough road but was still successful.”

The following is a list of all 13 wrestlers who competed: Tim Luttrell (106), Jaden Sanford (113 lbs), Craig Harris (120 lbs), Kyle Fontenot (126 lbs), Devin Stone (132 lbs), D’Sean Lee (138 lbs), Ayden Rice (145 lbs), Anthony Dunn (160 lbs), Lance Peterson (170 lbs), Wylie Shomaker (182 lbs), Robert Sandborn (195 lbs), Kyle Watson (220 lbs) and J.T. Zogg (285 lbs).