Enterprise’s Zach McFarland continues to make school history on the wrestling mat.
Less than two-and-a half weeks after earning his 100th career win, the junior became the first Wildcat wrestler to medal at a state meet, claiming third place in the 113-pound weight class Saturday at the AHSAA Class 7A State Championships at Birmingham’s Bill Harris Arena.
McFarland went 4-1 at the two-day meet to earn his bronze-medal finish. He took third with a dominating 15-4 win over Hewitt-Trussville’s Chris Weaver on Saturday afternoon.
McFarland finished the season with a 31-2 record and is now 104-15 for his career.
He opened the tournament by earning a pair of major decision shutouts on Friday to advance to the semifinals, winning 12-0 over Spain Park’s Nathaniel Philman and 9-0 over Weaver.
In a semifinal match on Saturday, he lost to Vestavia Hills’ Zach Flurry 4-2. The Rebel standout gave McFarland his only two losses of the season – both on close decisions. On Jan. 8, he beat the EHS wrestler 1-0.
McFarland bounced back from the loss to win a consolation match early Saturday, 5-3 over Oak Mountain’s Kirk Smitherman to move to the third-place match against Weaver, who he beat on Friday 9-0.
After McFarland opened with a takedown for a quick 2-0 lead, Weaver earned an escape and a takedown to take a 3-2 lead with 1:04 left in the period, but McFarland earned a takedown with 23 seconds left to go up 4-3.
Weaver chose the down defensive position to start the second period and managed an escape, but McFarland dominated the period’s final minute with a takedown and two three-point near falls off a guillotine move and a crossface cradle to seize a 12-4 advantage.
The Wildcat star continued his dominance in the final period with an escape and another takedown to finish off a 15-4 win.
McFarland wasn’t the only Wildcat to make history at the meet.
Evelyn Holmes-Smith became the third female wrestler to win an AHSAA state tournament match and the first ever to do so in Class 7A when she took a 6-3 decision Friday in the 106-pound weight class over Bob Jones’ Jack Shaver.
The eighth grader finished the meet 2-2 overall, matching the best performance by a female at the traditional state championships. Last year, Russell County’s Shelby Fugate went 2-2 in the Class 6A 106-weight class.
After winning her opener over Shaver, Holmes-Smith lost to Spain Park’s Bradley Williams on a third-period pin, 38 seconds into the final period. Williams entered the finals late Saturday with a 34-0 record.
Holmes-Smith earned a dramatic 5-4 sudden-death victory over Fairhope’s Walker Holder with an escape early in the overtime period late Friday. She lost on Saturday to Thompson’s Kiowa Vines 13-0, finishing one match away from a top-six placing.
Holmes-Smith, who captured the 105-pound championship at the first AHSAA girls only wrestling tournament last month, finished the season with a 29-4 record.
Enterprise’s Kaden Franke and Dakota Barber also made it to within a round of placing at the state meet, going 2-2 in their weight class.
Franke, a senior wrestling at 170 pounds, opened with a 13-9 win over Hewitt-Trussville’s Cameron Cantwell before losing to Thompson’s Carson Freeman 17-1. He took a 3-0 win over Huntsville’s Jake Womble before falling in the third consolation round to Sparkman’s Keane Robb 6-4.
Barber, a senior competing in the 285-pound weight class, lost his opener to Sparkman’s Tate Campbell, but rebounded to beat Florence’s Bryheim Russell on a pin 44 seconds into the match and also beat Spain Park’s Rayshod Burts on a pin with 14 seconds left in the opening period. However, he lost to Huntsville’s Hayden Bradford on a second-period pin in the third consolation round.
Franke finished the season with a 28-9 record and Barber with a 13-8 record.
Trace Woodward (120), Cody Kirk (126) and Brandon Messmer (182) all went 1-for-2 for Enterprise at the tournament, while Austin Davis (132) and Will Gottsacker (152) both went 0-2.
Woodward, at 120, won a 7-5 decision over Fairhope’s Till Rogers in the opening round, but then lost on a first-period pin with four seconds left to Thompson’s Nick Dempsey and to Tuscaloosa County’s Andrew Jones on a pin with 49 seconds left in the match.
Kirk, competing at 126, lost 13-4 in his opener to Oak Mountain’s Austin Buird before earning a second-period pin over Hewitt-Trussville’s Karson Burke. He lost to Hoover’s Broc Metcalf 10-4 in the second consolation match.
Bessmer, at 182, lost in the opening round on a first-period pin to Spain Park’s Carson Ray, but took a 6-5 win over Oak Mountain’s Nathan Besch before losing on a second-period pin to Daphne’s Taylor Foster in the second consolation round.
Davis lost on a second-period pin to Prattville’s Nathan Tate and a 6-3 decision to Bob Jones’ Yohan Nichols at 132, while Gottsacker lost to Huntsville’s Dominick Ciccolella on a second-period pin and to Foley’s Landon Perry 12-4 at 152 pounds.
Woodward finished with a 24-9 record on the season, Kirk 23-7, Messmer 25-11, Davis 15-17 and Gottsacker 24-13.
As a team, Enterprise finished in 15th place with 35 points.