By Lee Davis
Retiring Vestavia Hills wrestling coach Steve Gaydosh ended his career on a perfect note Saturday at the Von Braun Civic Center in
Gaydosh led his Rebels to their 13th state championship in his 33-year tenure, and his team did it while knocking off one of wrestling’s most impressive dynasties.
Vestavia scored 134.5 points to narrowly take the Class 7A state championship over runner-up Oak Mountain, which finished with 131 points.
Three-time defending champion Thompson of Alabaster finished third with 97.5 points. Hoover finished fourth with 97 points.
The Rebels claimed the title in dramatic fashion. James Edwards scored a come-from-behind 6-5 decision over Tuscaloosa County’s Josh Smith to win the 220-pound weight class and clinch the title for Vestavia and Gaydosh. Edwards finished the year with a 39-3 record.
“Part of what made this championship special was the way we did it,” Gaydosh said. “Smith had beaten Edwards three times easily this year, but our James was paying attention in practice and did exactly what he was told to do. So he went on to upset Smith when it mattered most.”
Vestavia’s Hayden Hill defeated Sparkman’s Chris Leatherman by decision to win the 160-pound weight category.
Three other Rebels helped their cause with runner-up finishes. Quin Estes was second to Thompson’s Dominic Latona in the 126-pound weight class; Matthew Paugh was second to Prattville’s Robbey Killough in the 145-pound division; and Bowman Hill was second to Central-Phenix City’s Robert Morales in the 152-pound class.
The Morales-Hill match was voted the best in Class 7A.
In other final matches involving Over the Mountain Class 7A wrestlers, Oak Mountain’s Alex Thomas defeated Grissom’s Tyler Ivey by decision to win the 106-pound division; Mountain Brook’s Drew Reed finished second to Auburn’s Khaheel Johnson in the 132-pound category; Oak Mountain’s Michael John Harris defeated Hoover’s Jarrett Anthony by decision to win the 138-pound class; Oak Mountain’s Barrett Blakely finished second to Huntsville’s Brooks Schrimsher in the 170-pound division; Hoover’s Bret Winters defeated Oak Mountain’s Jaried Buxton by decision to win the 195-pound classification. Oak Mountain’s Armond Lloyd finished second to Thompson’s T.J. Rayam in the 285-pound division.
In Class 6A competiton, Homewood totaled 107.5 points to finish sixth behind champion Arab’s 197 total.
The Patriots’ Bailey Roan was second to Arab’s Andrew Schmitt in the 132-pound class; Homewood’s Carlos Miguel Figueroa was second in the 182-pound classification.
At the end, the big story of the day was Gaydosh and his victorious Rebels. With 33 years and a wrestling mat full of happy memories, the veteran coach brought home one last big blue trophy.