Last year, Vestavia’s Zach Flurry became only the third Rebels wrestler to finish undefeated, posting a 21-0 record while capturing the Class 7A 113-pound title. Flurry has been wrestling for 10 years, starting when he was 8 years old because a neighborhood buddy was a wrestler. Journal photo by Jordan Wald.
By Rubin E. Grant
Vestavia Hills senior Zach Flurry was hoping to have another unbeaten season on the wrestling mat.
Last year, he became only the third Rebels wrestler to finish undefeated, posting a 21-0 record while capturing the Class 7A 113-pound title. He joined James Edwards, who was 32-0 when he won the 220-pound title in 2017, and Jeff Segars, who was an undefeated state champion in 1986 at 185 pounds.
Flurry won his first 13 matches this season, stretching his streak of consecutive wins to 34, but his dreams of another unbeaten season were dashed when he lost to a wrestler from Louisiana in the 126-pound championship match in the Trey Culotta Invitational Dec. 21 in New Orleans.
The loss was disappointing, but Flurry still can become a two-time state champion.
“I wanted to have another undefeated season, but that won’t happen now, so I want to win state again,” Flurry said.
Flurry suffered his second loss of the season last Saturday, falling to Hewitt-Trussville’s Dalton Zimmerman in the 126-pound match as the Rebels dropped a 34-32 decision to the Huskies to finish second in Class 7A, Region 3.
Flurry wasn’t at full strength. He had missed Vestavia Hills’ dual match victory against Spain Park two days earlier because of a cold.
“I was still coming back from being sick,” he said.
Flurry expects to be completely healthy when the Rebels visit Huntsville in the quarterfinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Wrestling Duals Tournament this weekend. The Duals semifinals are scheduled for Jan. 18 and the finals set for Jan. 21 at Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
The Rebels were Class 7A runners-up in the Duals to Thompson in 2020 and 2021. They won the Duals in 2017, the first year they were held.
Following the Duals, Flurry (21-2) is not sure if he will continue to wrestle at 126 pounds or move up to compete in the 132-pound weight class as he gets ready for the AHSAA sectional and state tournaments. The super section tournament will be held Feb. 11-12 in Birmingham and the state tournament will be Feb. 17-19 in Huntsville.
“I haven’t decided which weight I’m going to wrestle at yet,” Flurry said.
Flurry has been wrestling for 10 years, starting when he was 8 years old because a neighborhood buddy was a wrestler.
In those early days, Flurry usually got beat.
“I was not very good at the start,” he said. “When you start out, it’s always tough because you have to get some experience before you can be successful. A lot of time guys start out when they’re 5, so when I started I was wrestling against kids who already had experience.”
Flurry still had little success as he gained experience. It wasn’t until high school that he became a consistent winner.
“I didn’t win any titles when I was in middle school,” Flurry said. “I really didn’t start working hard at it until I got to high school. I started putting a lot more work into it and doing all the weight training.”
Flurry wasn’t on the Rebels’ varsity as a freshman, but his hard work paid off when he reached the Class 7A 106-pound final as a sophomore. He finished second, losing to Thompson’s Blaise Albarado in the championship match.
Then as a junior he put together the undefeated season.
“It doesn’t happen often,” Flurry said right after completing his unbeaten season. “When it happened, I couldn’t believe it. It’s nice to be part of a very small group (from Vestavia Hills).”
Flurry relies on precision and smarts to win matches.
“Technique is the thing for me,” he said. “I’m not the biggest guy by any stretch and I’m not the strongest or the quickest, but my technique has taken me pretty far.”
This season will be Flurry’s swan song as a wrestler. He doesn’t plan to wrestle in college “Being a college athlete takes too much time,” he said. So he would like to go out on top.
“I would hate to end my wrestling career on a loss. I want to finish strong. I want to go out doing what I’ve been doing and win.”