Bentonville High coach Jason Adams likes the direction his team is headed, even though he’s still missing a couple of wrestlers because of injuries.
“I feel like our guys are wrestling better than they have all year in the last two weeks,” Adams said. “You don’t want to peak too early, but we’re going in the right direction.”
The Tigers swept four conference duals last week and finished third over the weekend in the Paul Post Invitational in Sallisaw, Okla.
Sophomore Jake Adams, who only returned to action two weeks ago, won the 126-pound weight class and was named the outstanding wrestler. Teammate Zane Sims was second at 160, while five other Tigers earned medals.
Jake Adams performed well against strong competition, but Sims and Obi Smith also had great weeks, Jason Adams said.
“Jake’s been chomping at the bit to get out there,” Jason Adams said. “There were five or six tough kids at that weight. Obi had 13 matches this week, I think, and lost one. He’s missed time, too, and he’s trying to get in a groove and will only get better.
“Zane lost in the finals in overtime to a tough wrestler, too.”
Bobcats seeking higher finish
The Bobcats finished fourth in last year’s Class 1A-5A state wrestling tournament, but coach Derrek Aynes said his team is aiming higher this season.
Berryville returns nine, who competed in last year’s state tournament and five who medaled and have only two seniors in the lineup. So there’s a reason for Aynes’ optimism. But a change in the classifications could help, too. There have been only two tournaments — one for Class 1A-5A schools and another for 6A and 7A schools — for the first 10 years wrestling was sanctioned by the Arkansas Activities Association, but this year there will be three: one each for Class 6A, 5A and 1A-4A.
“It’s a huge deal,” Aynes said. “I think we can compete well if we’re competing against schools more our size. I think we can have a chance to be at the top of the state tournament when it’s all said and done.
“We’re pretty solid in our lighter weights from 106 to like 138. Then we have Christian Lemus and Colton Record on the back end.
Heavyweight Colton Record was a state runner-up a year ago as was teammate Brett Parsons, and both are back. Record is 29-1, after capturing the Bobcat Winter Blowout title last weekend. The Bobcats finished a solid third in the 11-team event behind Spring-dale Har-Ber and Tulsa Bishop Kelley.
Colton’s brother, Caleb, should also contend for a state title at 106 even though he’s only a freshman, Aynes said.
Saints have large numbers
The Saints have their largest team ever in number and are looking for big things this season.
Shiloh Christian has 22 wrestlers, including 11 freshman, making the future appear bright, coach Chad Bottorff said.
It’s the seventh season the Saints have fielded a wrestling team but the first time they’ve gotten close to being able to put out a full lineup in a dual, especially since there will be three state tournaments now instead of two, Bottorff said.
Shiloh Christian had some individuals medal in the state tournament in the past, and several should contend this year, too. But it will be a first to possibly compete for a team title as the Saints can fill 13 of the 14 weight classes.
“The first week of practice we saw our numbers and re-evaluated a little bit to think this is doable,” Bottorff said. “I think our top number was eight, and we’ve had as few as three.
Senior Wes Soloman (30-3), who was third in the state a year ago, has a possible state title shot at 126, Bottorff said. Aaron DeWitt (fifth at 195) and Jonathan Fischer are also among several candidates to medal.
Freshman Jacob Soloman (29-11) is a newcomer, who should also contend at the state tournament at 106. Sophomore Gavin Goddard was not eligible last season after transferring, but he is another who could push for a spot in the finals, Bottorff said.
Springdale Har-Ber rolled to the Bobcat Winter Blowout title last weekend in Berryville. … Four Har-Ber wrestlers won their individual weight classes, while five others placed second. … Fayetteville’s Ian Branch (106) and Matthew Muller (182) each won his weight class at the Bryant Invitational. …. Bentonville West’s Charles Easterling (113) and Zackery Ireland (126) also won at Bryant. … Rogers Heritage’s Charlie Mach took the 195-pound weight class at Bryant.
Paul Boyd can be reached at pboyd@ nwadg.com or on Twitter @NWAPaulb.
Print Headline: Bentonville wrestlers still going strong