Gavin Hayes’ state championship highlights fifth-place finish by Ola wrestling team – Henry Herald

Gavin Hayes capped his high school wrestling career Saturday by winning the Class AAAAA state championship, and helping Ola to a fifth-place finish in the team standings.

The Mustangs finished with 162.5 points, just off the 166 scored by fourth-place Harris County.

In addition to Hayes performance, Conner Kimbrough and Chris Newman each finished as state runner-up, Reese Jones was third and Sam Harris was fourth. Travis Nollman and Ayden Hecht each placed fifth as the boys performed well a day after teammate Amani Jones won her third straight girls state title.

Hayes (31-2), a three-time state-placer, had a memorable final high school meet with his victory at 113 pounds. He defeated Harris Countys Oran Decker 7-1 in the finals, avenging two losses last season to Decker, including the 2020 state finals.

He opened the tournament with back-to-back pins, then faced his toughest test in the semifinals, where he edged nationally ranked Jake Crapps of Cass 5-4.

I saw a lot of growth in Gavin over the last month," Ola coach Joey DiNino said. "We focused on the right things leading into this week. Gavin was very dialed in and ready.

Kimbrough (25-5) was runner-up at 120, finishing his career as a two-time state-placer after losing by pin against Cass Cole Hunt, nationally ranked and unbeaten at 19-0, in the title match. Newman (20-5) took second at 170 after a loss by pin to Woodwards Gunner Filipowicz (26-1), also a nationally ranked wrestler.

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Newman has been a rock all season long, not only as an athlete but as a leader as well," DiNino said. "What an outstanding senior campaign."

After finishing third at region, Kimbrough put together four great matches to advance to the state finals.

Conner put together a great tournament," DiNino said. "Im proud of how he rebounded from a disappointing region meet.

Reese Jones (32-2), a three-time state-placer, pinned Woodlands Easton Bishop to finish third at 126. Harris (26-4) had a fourth-place finish that also made him a three-time state-placer. He trailed by two in the semifinals when he had to injury default to Woodland's Caden McCrary, a four-time state champ. Chris Ramos almost joined his teammates, but lost a decision in the place match.

Union Grove finished the tournament in sixth with 89 points, just ahead of eighth-place Locust Groves 85.

Alexander Troy (24-2) was Union Groves top finisher, losing by technical fall in the 182 finals to Woodwards Matthew Singleton (33-0). It was the second straight finals appearance for Troy. Jonah Lavendar and Garren Groover each finished fifth for the Wolverines.

Locust Grove had two state runner-up wrestlers Tristan Malette (44-3) at 106 and Cage Leddon (49-2) at 145. Malette lost 11-8 in the finals against Woodwards Colby McBride, and Leddon was pinned by Woodwards Michael Kilic (31-1) in the finals. Andon Hawkins and David Miles were in the round to place for Locust Grove.

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Gavin Hayes' state championship highlights fifth-place finish by Ola wrestling team - Henry Herald

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