OHS Wreslters Compete at State

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D. Mark Mitchell

ON THE MARK
D. MARK MITCHELL

Three Opelika High Sschool wrestlers, Brady Campbell, Jake Pritchard and Kyle Epperson, competed in 5A/6A Alabama High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Championship Meet at the Vaun Braun Civic Center in Huntsville.

Here is the breakdown of the three Bulldog grapplers:

Brady Campbell (145 pounds) finished second after losing the championship match by two points. Campbell led the championship match 4-3 with eight seconds left in the match. Prior to the match ending, officials reversed two points which left Campbell two points behind and a silver medal. Officials did not give a reason for the two-point reversal.

Jack Pritchard (220 pounds) finished second in the state after losing 2-6 in the championship match. Pritchard (a senior) finished with a 42-5 record and runner-up in class 6A.

Kyle Epperson (freshman) finished eighth in the state. Epperson finished the season with an impressive 13-13 record on the varsity team as a freshman.

I want to thank coach Jim Davis for sending results after each match, which allows exposure for the students-athletes participating.

SPRING SPORTS

SOCCER

Opelika’s girls’ and boys’ soccer teams hosted Brookstone (Georgia.) last week at the W James Samford Soccer Complex on the Sportsplex campus.

Despite leading 1-0 at halftime, the Lady Bulldogs allowed three unanswered goals in the second half after keeper Pheobe Darcey left the game with an injury. Maelee Story scored the only Opelika goal, assisted by Karly Phatsadavong. The girls dropped to 1-1 overall.

The boys’ soccer team improved its record to 1-1 after beating Brookstone, 2-1, at home. The Bulldogs played aggressive on both ends of the pitch, limiting Brookstone’s oppertunities to score. Offensively, Said Rujanna and Nathan Faison scored one goal apiece.

TENNIS

Opelika High School’s girls’ and boys’ tennis teams played two matches apiece last week, against Columbus (Ga.) and Benjamin Russell.

The Lady Bulldog netters lost both matches, 0-9 (Columbus) and 3-6 (Benjamin Russell). Winning matches against the Wildcats: No. 1 seed, Laney Mctier and 3 seed Luci Long. They both won single matches and teamed up to win doubles as well.

Opelika’s boys split matches, losing to Columbus (Ga.) 1-8 and beating BRHS 9-0. Roman Gagliano, No. 5 seed, won the lone match against CHS.

Winning matches against the Wildcatts: Singles – Conner Mullins, Jake Walters and Will Fuller. Double winners were brothers, Charles Gagliano and Roman Gagliano. The other points were won via forfeits because of lack of players for BRHS.

SOFTBALL

Opelika’s Lady Bulldog softball team (2-1) opened the season in the “Benjamin Russell Tournament” at the Charles Bailey Sportsplex in Alex City.

OHS beat Sylacauga (10-2) and Dadeville (6-1), but lost a close game, 1-2, against Central-Clay.

In the season opener, OHS scored 10 runs, scattered five hits and had an excellent performance on the mound from MaKay Yountz in a 10-2 win over Sylacauga. Yountz threw four innings, allowed only two runs and gave up two hits while striking out four to earn the win in the circle. Offensively, KD Lee led with two hits and a scored run; Jade Jones, Senia Stringer and Nylen Thomas had one hit apiece.

Opelika beat Dadeville, 6-1, behind Stringer’s pitching and 10 hits. Stringer pitched four innings and allowed one hit while striking out eight Tiger batters. Thomas, Yountz, Lee and Allianne Blythe recorded two hits apiece while Jones and Stringer added singles.

 Despite a strong outing from Yountz, pitching her second game in two days, OHS lost game three, 2-1, against Central Clay. Yountz pitched six innings, striking out four and yielding two runs on three hits. Opelika recorded three singles from Thomas, Jones and Rhianna Young.

BASEBALL

The OHS baseball team opened the 2022 season with two wins, sweeping Stanhope Elmore and Pike Road last Saturday at Bulldog Park.

In the season opener, the Dogs scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Stanhope Elmore 10-9. Harrison Long recorded three hits and hit a walk-off double to score the winning run against the Mustangs. Taylor Fields added two hits along with singles from Jackson Harris, Brooks Bryan, JD Chase, Jake Smith and Brantley Davis. Coach Zach Blatt used three pitchers, JT McArdle, Luke Murray and Caleb Chisum over seven innings. The group allowed seven earned runs but struck out nine batters.

The Bulldogs wrapped up the doubleheader by beating Pike Road (3-1) behind nine hits and good pitching. Brantley Davis and Jake Smith led with two hits apiece. Jackson Harris, Brooks Bryan, Harrison Long, Paul Goodman and Taylor “Tommy” Fields each had one hit apiece.

Kadalyn Ligon started on mound, allowing three runs on three hits; Davis pitched three-and-one-third innings of shutout baseball and Harris pitched the last one-and-one-third. Davis and Harris did not allow a hit or run.

OHS SPORTS SCHEDULE

Feb 24

Tennis (girls and boys) at Loogan against Enterprise – 4 p.m.

JV Baseball vs Smiths Station at Bulldog Park – 4:30 p.m.

Soccer (girls and boys) vs. Central  at W James Samford Complex – 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

TIDBITS

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller, appearing on the “On the Mark” radio show on FOX Sports 910AM, said the bid had been awarded in the amount of $750,000 to turf the two softball fields at West Ridge Park. One field will be turfed at a time, leaving one field open for play.

OCS Superintendent Mark Neighbors announced his retirement several weeks ago. I reached out to the OCS Board for a timeline and specifics of the process. Board Chairman Kevin Royal said OCS Attorney Bob Meadows would speak for the board.

Meadows provided the following information.

The Opelika Superintendent job was posted Feb. 7, with a deadline for receiving applications by March 15. According to Meadows, the board hopes to have the applicants selected for final consideration by April 1. Interviews will be conducted in April.

The interviews will be public and there will be an associated “meet and greet” session with the public and the finalist during the interview process.

The final vote on the selection of the new superintendent will take place in May with an approximate start date of June 1.

D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeartMedia, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika sports council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball state director.

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