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Coach Mask recongizing junior Land Bell for win No. 200 on Saturday. Bell is 54-0 this season.
Photo by Mark Bell

Wrestlers fill all spots for Hunstville trip

By Michael Butler

The final tournament of the season will determine both team and individual wrestling champions in Huntsville this week. It is a great achievement for a wrestler to qualify.

Some teams will not have a representative. Many others will have only a few. Tallassee will have 14. That means every weight class will be respresented.

Unlike the duals tournament held in Birmingham in January where team faces team, the traditional format in the Rocket City matches wrestler versus wrestler. Tallassee was the Class 5A runner-up in the state duals tourney and expects to compete for the title again this week.

The Tigers won the AHSAA Class 5A South Super Sectional in Montgomery on Saturday. Gulf Shores, the team THS beat in the semifinals at duals, was second.

"I believe this is only the third time in program history to qualify all 14 wrestlers," said head coach John Mask. "Anyone that doesn't follow wrestling may never understand what an amazing feat this is. The coaching staff is extremely proud of our entire team and their efforts. I don't really have the words to describe how well we wrestled."

Sectional Champs
Photo by Tonya Rogers

Four Tallassee wrestlers placed first in their classes; Mason Nelson (46-5/106), Ramon Lozada (40-0/120), Land Bell (54-0/144) and Tra'mel McCoy (25-8/157). Bell is a returning state champion who picked up his 200th match win over the weekend.

Mask with Ramon Lozada, who improved to 40-0.
Photo by Tonya Rogers

To qualify for state, wrestlers must finish in the top four in their respective weight classes.

"When you have young men who are seeded outside the top four and they punch their ticket to state, it's just a wonderful feeling," Mask added. "Our goals are in front of us. We look to crown some champions and also score as much as possible for our team."

Tallassee will head north on Thursday. Class 5A quarterfinal matches begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

State Qualifiers
106: Mason Nelson
113: Thomas Patterson
120: Ramon Lozada
126: Aiden Bridgman
132: Brady Adams
138: Avery Brantley
144: Land Bell
150: Ethan Jones
157: Tra'mel McCoy
165: Christian McCary
175: Joseph Hooks
190: Nolan Addeo
215: Jude Rogers
285: Braden Arnold