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Tallassee's sectional winners (from left): Land Bell, Mason Nelson, Christian McCary, Rutland Phillips.

11 qualify for state

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee wrestling program will send 11 wrestlers to the state championships at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville this weekend. The Tigers were the South Super Section runner-up at Garrett Coliseum on Saturday.

"(We) had an outstanding day of wrestling," Tallassee head coach John Mask said of the Montgomery event. "The coaching staff would like to express how proud we are of each and every wrestler."

The 11 qualifiers are: Rutland Phillips (106), Mason Nelson (113), Avery Brantley (126), Land Bell (132), Ethan Jones (138), Christian McCary (152), Tra'Mel McCoy (160), Joseph Hooks (170), Caden Griffith (182), Nolan Addeo (195) and Corbin Grover (285).

Phillips, Nelson, Bell and McCary were section champions in their individual weight classes. This year, only four wrestlers per division could qualify for the state, cutting the number in half from the eight per class as in years past.

"We have such a strong room of unselfish and dedicated young men who want to work hard every day and represent Tallassee High School and this program," said Mask. "Qualifying 11 wrestlers for the state tournament is another feat that does not happen often."

In 2011, Tallassee had all weight classes represented at the state level with 14 qualifers. That team was a state runner-up. The 2014 team that won the state championship had eight state qualifers. Six of those won individual state championships.

"This year's team keeps improving every match," Mask added. "We are excited about going to Huntsville and competing this weekend."

Matches begin in Class 5A on Friday, Feb. 17. Championship matches will conclude on Saturday.

Tallassee High School Individual Champions

1997 (4A) - Brian Freeman, Brandon Redden
2001 (4A) - Justin Harris, Eric Cagle, Brandon Rigsby
2002 (4A) - Eric Cagle, Justin Harris
2003 (4A) - Jonathan Webb
2004 (4A) - Jonathan Webb, Mack Farrow
2006 (4A) - Jonathan Haynes
2009 (5A) - Sharrod Person, John Stuckey
2010 (5A) - Chris Adams, T. C. Robinson
2011 (5A) - Chris Adams, T. C. Robinson
2012 (5A) - Josh Epperson
2013 (4A) - Josh Epperson, Jesse Rowlen
2014 (4A) - Kennon Reese, Josh Epperson, D. J. Rivers, B. J. Thomas, Drew Baker, Davontae McKenzie
2015 (5A) - Kennon Reese
2016 (5A) - Jake Baker
2017 (5A) - Jake Baker
2020 (5A) - Zak Haynes