HUNTSVILLE – Thompson High School piled up 90.5 points Thursday afternoon to take a 17.5-point lead over Grissom (73) into the second round of the AHSAA Class 6A State Wrestling Championships at the Von Braun Center here.
The defending state champion Warriors advanced eight wrestlers into the quarterfinals as competition resumes Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. with Class 6A consolation matches while Classes 5A and 1A-4A open their competition.
Action continues all day with championship division semifinals set for 1-3 p.m. followed by consolation quarterfinals from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and consolation semifinals from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Among the highlights of the first day's 6A action was the history-making debut of Gadsden City sophomore Hannah Gladden at 138 pounds. She became the first female to participate in a state meet in the 56-year history of the state meet which got its start in 1956. Gladden (7-20) lost both matches by identical 15-0 tech fall scores to Lee-Montgomery's Caleb Ellerbee (27-3) in the first round and Hewitt-Trussville's Ben Harrison (25-17) in the consolation.
Sophomore Conner Gilson (49-9) jump-started Thompson's strong showing with two strong wins at 106 pounds. John Austin Jones (61-0) also posted two wins by pins at 152 pounds, the second one taking just 40 seconds to beat Sam Bridell (48-8) of Mountain Brook. Also advancing to the quarterfinals for the Warriors were Mario Haynes (59-0) at 126 pounds, Brewer Gilliland (43-3) at 132 pounds, Cody Albarado (29-5) at 138 pounds, Nick Hall (47-5) at 145 pounds, Josh Gillaspie (52-3) at 160 pounds and Jesse Master (45-4) at 182 pounds.
Oxford junior Jordan Simpson turned in strongest performance of the first day with two quick pins in the 126-pound division. The undefeated Simpson (60-0) needed just 25 seconds to beat Wetumpka's Will Thompson for the quickest pin of the day. He followed with a pin of Tuscaloosa County's Harrison Turner (55-16) in just 60 seconds.
Buckhorn senior Ben Smith (62-2) had two pins at 132 pounds to move into Friday's quarters. Three other undefeated grapplers also advanced with Central-Phenix City's Luke Wilson (49-0) at 220 pounds, Oak Mountain's Justin Woodall (67-0) with two pins at 195 pounds and Smiths Station's Tim Hester (51-0) at 170 pounds – also with two pins.
Vestavia Hills was third in the standings after day one with 68 points, followed by Hoover (49.5), Hewitt-Trussville (47), Oxford (44), Bob Jones (43.5), Oak Mountain (43.5), Benjamin Russell (35) and Opelika (33) rounding out the top 10.