By Wil Crews
Six Opelika High School wrestlers will be representing the Grapplin’ Dawgs in the AHSAA 5A/6A State Wrestling Tournament in Huntsville on Feb. 18-20.
“This crazy COVID year left us without a true sectional tournament to qualify wrestlers therefore we coaches entered our starting lineups and crossed our fingers,” said OHS wrestling coach Jim Davis.
Typically, a wrestler would need to finish top eight in the Sectional Tournament to qualify for State. However, this year, OHS coaches were left to the TrackWrestling algorithms and “prayer,” Davis said. The modifications to the tournament can be found at www.ahsaa.com/Portals/0/Sports/Wrestling/2020-21/AHSAA%20Tradititional%20State%20Wrestling%20Tournament%202020-21%20Recommendation%20to%20Central%20Board%20Passed.pdf?ver=peF9vZ3j4LgUdbOjoMl-vA%3d%3d.
Here are the six Grapplin’ Dawgs who qualified for State, their weight class and overall record.
• Freshman Derrick Hoyett (106 lbs., 13-11 record)
• Freshman Brayden Wilson (120 lbs., 18-7 record)
• Freshman Trace Gaither (132 lbs., 9-12 record)
• Sophomore Keon Brazier (152 lbs., 14-9 record)
• Junior Ari Brogdon (182 lbs., 10-3 record)
• Junior Jack Pritchard (195 lbs., 16-3 record)
Davis said seven other starting Grapplin’ Dawgs were submitted for qualification but unfortunately they were not in top 32, so they will not be attending.
For the six who did qualify, they will be experiencing the state tourney for the first time. Please join the Observer in congratulating these fellows, send them your good mojo and wish them good luck.
The State tournament is in Huntsville at the Von Braun Center Feb. 18-20. The wrestlers will get a ticket link first, then gofan will release all unsold tickets to the general public for purchase.
The Von Braun Center’s statement on COVID-19 can be found here (https://assets.simpleviewinc.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1/clients/vonbrauncenter/VBC_Updated_ Coronavirus_ Statement _3_20_20_5bc4fd79-81bc-4b5b-b975-114ed1ca1163.pdf).
Make sure to check next week’s copy of the Observer for updates on how the Grapplin Dawgs performed.