Paced by runner-up finishes by Rhett Womack and Rickey Rogers in their respective weight classes, the Arkadelphia Badger wrestling team finished eighth place out of 26 teams in the 1A-5A Division of this weekend AAA State Wrestling Championships at UALR's Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.
The eighth-place finish for the second-year program was an improvement of four spots from last year's 12th-place finish in the program's inaugural season. The runner-up finishes for Womack and Rogers were also program firsts as Womack finished a team-best third place last year in his weight class.
For the complete tournament results on track wrestling.com, click here and you can search for team scores, team results, individual weight classes and much more.
Also a program best was the number of wrestlers who advanced to day two as five Badgers advanced to Saturday with wins on Friday. In addition to Womack and Rogers earning spots on the medal stand with wins on Saturday were Keaton Goodrum and Patrick Dobbins. Goodrum finished sixth place in the 145-lb class and Dobbins finished fifth place in the 285-weight class. Goodrum in all wrestled seven times over the two-day tournament, winning four straight in the middle to earn a spot on the medal stand in the 145-lb. weight class. Jack Burnham reached the consolation quarterfinals, but missed earning a spot on the medal stand for the 195- weight class by one match.
AHS Sophomore Rhett Womack on the 126-class medal stand. Womack has medaled in each of his two appearances at the State Championship meet.
AHS freshman Rickey Rogers on the medal stand for the 160-lb. weight class. Rogers was 1 of only 2 unseeded wrestlers in the 28 weight classes to make the championship match in their respective weight classes.
For Womack and Rogers, Friday earned themselves a spot in Saturday's semifinals, but the path to the semis was much different for each wrestler.
Womack entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed in the 126 weight class due to his overall record of 23-5 throughout the season. Womack needed only one win on Friday to advance to the semifinals on Saturday. In the semis, Womack won by pin over the 3-seed in the 126 class 1:03 into the second round. In the finals, Womack would face the top seed in Dragen Smith who carried a 37-1 record into the match. Smith proved to be too much for Womack and the loss gave Womack the second-place finish.
Rogers' path in the 160-lb. weight class was much different than that of Womack's in the 126. Rogers entered the state meet unseeded as he had missed much of the season with an injury. Rogers' path had him defeating the fourth seed, Matthew Hugg from Pulaski Academy by decision in his first match, the fifth seed in Matthew Hand from Berryville in the next round - also by decision - to advance to the Saturday semifinal.
In the Saturday morning semifinal, Rogers was matched against the top seed i the 160-lb. class in Owen Hadden of Episcopal Collegiate for a berth in the finals. Rogers won his third straight decision match, but this time turning a 7-3 deficit into a win by pin midway through the second round.
Rogers was one of only two unseeded wrestlers in the 28 weight classes among the 1A-5A and 6A-7A divisions to make the championship in their respective weight classes. In the championship match, Rogers dropped a tough 3-0 decision to the second seed in the 160-lb. weight class.
As mentioned earlier, Womack and Rogers weren't the only Badgers to reach the medal stand as four Badgers in all medaled in the program's second year of existence. A total of 50 schools and just under 500 wrestlers competed in the 2017 state championships.
AHS junior Keaton Goodrum on the medal stand for the 145-lb. class. Goodrum won four matches on the weekend.
Badger junior Patrick Dobbins on the medal stand for the 285-lb. weight class. Dobbins reached day two for the second straight year at the state championship meet, but medalled for the first time.