Opelika High School’s Wrestling Bulldogs send eight team members to state


By D. Mark Mitchell

Opelika High School’s wrestling team participated in the 6A South Super Sectionals at Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum last Friday and Saturday. The team finished eighth overall after eight grapplers qualified for the AHSAA State Wrestling Tournament.
The following is a recap of the Bulldog state qualifiers. Cameron Williams (132 pounds) finished seventh with a 3-2 record. Williams is 24-18 this season. Zeak Jones (152 pounds) won four and lost one match to finish third. Jones is 42-13 for the season.
Benjamin Daughtry (170 pounds) went 4-2, earning fifth place and finishing with a 24-6 record. Timothy Tolbert (182 pounds) earned a fifth place finish after a 4-2 record. Tolbert is 44-15 overall. Trint Vaughns finished fifth with a 4-2 record, improving his overall record to 51-11. Bevin Williams (220 pounds) finished 3-2 and in seventh place. Williams has an impressive 51-4 record.
Cameron Reese finished second in the heavyweight division. Reese finished with a 42-5 record. Junior James Dawson would have qualified for the state meet, but could not wrestle because of an injury to his elbow. The junior finished the season undefeated in Alabama, losing one match to a grappler out of state.
These eight wrestlers will compete in the AHSAA State Wrestling Tournament Huntsville’s Vaughn Braun Civic Center. The meet begins Feb. 14, with a mandatory coaches meeting at 9 a.m. Wrestlers will begin weighing-in at 10:30 a.m., with matches starting at noon. The state tournament concludes Saturday.
Opelika’s girls and boys basketball teams captured the Area 6 tournament titles last week at the Sports Arena. The Lady Bulldogs just completed their seventh straight area title under Coach Devin Booth.
The Opelika Lady Bulldogs (22-6) won the Area 6 tournament by blowing out Benjamin Russell 69-13 in front of a home crowd at the Sports Arena. Claire Worth scored 17 points in the first five minutes, erasing any thoughts of a Wildcat win. Worth finished with 265 points, earning the MVP of the game and area tournament. Kaitlyn Bryant and Quala Walton were named “All Tournament Team.”
Opelika’s boys (15-8) captured the Area 6 tournament beating the pesky Russell County Warriors 63-56. The Bulldogs held a slim 25-21 halftime lead, before taking a 43-29 lead late in the third quarter. Russell County stormed back in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs pulled away.
Bulldog Coach John Wadsworth blames himself for the Warrior comeback.
“We got up double digits, I felt it was a good time to sub, but it messed the flow a bit. Willis hit some big shots to help,” Wadsworth said.
Taye Fields continued to dominate, scoring a game-high 20 points. Jared Willis scored 17 points followed by Trey Boone’s 11 points.
Opelika boys played Calera, in the sub-regionals of the 6A State basketball playoffs last night at the Sports Arena on the OHS campus. The results were not available at press time.
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller announced several years ago that he would like to see OHS Mainstreet gym renovated and be the “home” gym for Opelika basketball. This will be a huge improvement for Opelika basketball. The two programs have been housed in the Sports Arena, a small uncomfortable gym, since 2000. I reached out to OCS Superintendent Dr. Mark Neighbors and Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Burton for updates on renovation.
Renovations will begin July 27, with completion date scheduled July 31. A new hardwood floor will be installed along with two new glass competition backboards, two new rims, four new practice backboards and rims. New sideline chairs were purchased along with a new scoreboard, PA/sound system and scorer’s table.
The following includes cost and the company, individuals that OCS will pay for the renovations. The wood floor will be installed by Covington Floors at a low bid of $147,123. Auburn AV won the bid for sound system/PA with a cost of $28,772. Architect David Payne received $10,500 for his work. No information was given on the number of bids for the sound system or for architecture work. Nothing was mentioned about new bleachers or the design of the sidelines.
Further details will be available soon.
Spring sports will begin in the coming weeks. The girls and boys soccer teams played Troup Tuesday.
The junior varsity girls soccer will play Smiths Station Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. at the Sportsplex. The varsity girls soccer team play in the “Southern Shootout” in Cullman. The varsity boys will be in Foley for their “Southern Shootout” tournament.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.


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