2 Tigers make state

Published 6:48 pm Thursday, February 5, 2009

Two Chilton County High wrestlers will compete in the state meet today, a sign of the program’s progress in only its second year.

One CCHS wrestler, Jamedius Peake, qualified for last year’s state meet. But Peake was a senior. The pair that will travel to Huntsville’s Von Braun Center today, Colby Bernier and Caleb Mims, are sophomores that will serve as cornerstones of the program’s future. Both finished fourth in at sectionals.

“I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made,” first-year coach Kess Cottingham said. “I really have high hopes for next year.”

But, before then, Bernier and Mims will get to see how they measure up with the state’s best wrestlers.

Bernier has a 19-7 record going into the state meet despite a hand injury and an attempted change in weight class. Bernier today will wrestle in the 152-pound class, the same one he started the year in.

Bernier temporarily dropped to the 145-pound class, one that theoretically would have served him better because Bernier is often at a strength disadvantage with the heavier wrestlers.

Bernier’s technique allows him to excel. Because of practice put in before the CCHS team was formed, Bernier is the program’s most experienced wrestler.

“Technique really took him to state,” Cottingham said. “He won a lot of matches that maybe he shouldn’t have.”

Mims has the opposite approach. What the 125-pounder lacks in experience, he makes up for with his above average strength.

“He’s a lot stronger than most of the kids he wrestles,” Cottingham said. “He has great tools for wrestling.”

Mims owns a 24-14 record this season.

The Class 5A quarterfinal round begins at 10 a.m., and the tournament will follow a double-elimination format.

– Stephen Dawkins can be reached at stephen.dawkins@clantonadvertiser.com.