Of the eight local wrestlers to win state titles, three were from Prattville at the 60th annual AHSAA State Wrestling Championships at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.
The Lions’ undefeated 170-pounder Caden McWhirter (47-0) won the Class 7A MVP to cap off a dominant season.
“So deserving of it. He hasn’t been scored on all year. There’s not a kid that’s scored a takedown on him,” Prattville coach Jordan Countryman said. “I think he was well deserving because I haven’t seen anybody just dominate the way he’s dominated in a long time.”
Camden Funkhouser (43-9) won at 126 pounds to win a second straight title. Robbey Killough (51-1) won at 138 pounds and 220-pounder Chris Lujan finished third to help the Lions to a fourth-place finish.
Funkhouser’s sudden-death overtime victory was voted Best Match, the second year in a row for him.
“It was a come from behind win. He gave up a couple of takedowns in the first period and was losing 4-1. And we just kind of told him, ‘You don’t need any big-time moves, just do what you do best,'” Countryman said. “He chipped away at that lead. And to take it into overtime, he took the guy down and put him to his back. So I think going into overtime that was pretty big because it swung the momentum in his favor.”
Wetumpka’s 126-pounder Vershone Graham (43-3) and 160-pounder Khaliq Jones (41-1) won championships in Class 6A. Trent Holley finished third at 220 pounds for the Indians.
Catholic’s sophomore 120-pounder Zachary Van Alst finished the season a perfect 50-0 and won his fourth state title. Gabe Keating finished fifth at 152 pounds in Class 1A-5A for the Knights.
“It feels pretty good to see my hard work pay off. I want to win two more years so I can be a six-time state champ,” Van Alst said. “(I was ) a little (nervous), but right when I stepped on to the mat, all the nerves kind of went away.”
Also in Class 1A-5A, Tallassee’s Kennon Reese (50-4) won at 132 pounds and Holtville’s Hunter Scott (42-1) won at 160 pounds.
St. James had an area-high five wrestlers place in Class 1A-5A. Austin Johnson (120 pounds), Geoffrey Murray (132 pounds) and Robert Griggs (170 pounds) each finished in third place. Richard Williamson finished fourth at 195 pounds and 145-pounder Will Prater finished sixth.
Stanhope had three wrestlers place in Class 6A, led by 106-pounder Ty Naquin’s runner-up finish. Terence Burke (120 pounds) and Jared Mercer (152 pounds) each finished sixth.
Jeff Davis’ Deshoun Calhoun finished third at 132 pounds in Class 7A.
Arab won the Class 6A championship with a state record 244.5 points. Thompson won in Class 7A with 140 points and Leeds took the Class 1A-5A title with 148.5 points.