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Not to be Denied in Alexandria

Not to be denied

By Al Muskewitz


Championship notebook: Alexandria’s New overcomes two injury stoppages to become Valley Cubs’ first five-time state champion

HUNTSVILLE – Nothing was going to keep Jaden New from his appointment with destiny.

Not a broken leg. Not a broken nose. Not even a shoulder stinger, which is the only one of these three injuries he really had.

The Alexandria senior fought through two injury stoppages in the second period and went on to take a 12-5 decision from Shelby County’s Cole Sykes and claim the Class 5A-6A 152 title for his fifth straight state championship.

With the win he becomes the first wrestler in Valley Cubs’ history with five titles, passing the record set by Christian Knop from 2016-19. Knop, who’s now wrestling at North Carolina State, wasn’t on hand this year – he was last year – but sent well-wishes that carried New through.

“It feels amazing, to go to the school, go to these tournaments and stuff, knowing you did it,” he said. “I put in hours after hours of practice. Everything I’ve done has been for this moment and for what I’m about to do afterwards.”

New was determined in his final high school match. He first came to the side early in the period to have his left shoulder/neck area examined. He went back on the mat and immediately picked up another two points.

He fell back out again with about a minute left in the period, and this one hurt worse. He went back out and finished the job.

“If I’d have had a broken ankle I’d still be wrestling out there,” he said. “I’d have wrestled on one leg. Ain’t no way (he’d miss). Even on one leg I feel confident. He knew as soon as I threw him down in the first minute it was over. I was in his head from Day One.”

It didn’t surprise Valley Cubs’ coach Frank Hartzog, who has had New in his varsity lineup since the wrestler was in seventh grade.

“I knew he would,” Hartzog said. “His mind was on going out there and finishing what he started. That first year when he didn’t win I think his goal was he was going to be so dominant that he never had that problem again.”

New finished his high school career with a record of 285-12. He’s gone 192-2 the last four years and been undefeated each of the last three years (126-0). He has won titles at 113, 132, 145 and 152 (twice).

2022 5A-6A 152 dec. over Cole Skyes (Shelby County), 12-5
2021 5A-6A 152 pin over Gabe Sweat (Buckhorn), 4:27
2020 1A-5A 145 dec. over Cody Souder (Weaver), 7-2
2019 1A-5A 132 maj. dec. over Cody Souder (Weaver), 15-3
2018 1A-5A 113 pin over Joseph Martin (Arab), 1:28
2017 1A-5A 106 lost to Jailen Young (Mae Jemison), 13-6

White Plains’ Gavin Kilgore celebrates his 113 state title.
White Plains’ Gavin Kilgore celebrates his 113 state title.

GOING HIS OWN WAY: People always told Gavin Kilgore the second title is always the hardest.

That may be true for them, but but at the end of the day the White Plains wrestler had proven those detractors wrong and won his second straight state title.

Kilgore brought Calhoun County its first state title of the day when he won the 1A-4A 113 crown with a 9-5 decision over Cleburne County’s Shamar Heard.

What made it difficult was Kilgore bumped up a weight class (he won 106 last year) and Heard had pinned him twice earlier this season. He also had to shake the critics who called last year’s title a fluke because of the way COVID played on the season.

“You’ve just to ignore those people and do what you want,” he said.

All he did was put in more work and it paid off in another trip to the top step of the podium and a copy of the bracket for his wall.

SIBLING RIVALRY: When Weaver’s J.D. Johannson scored his pin in the 1A-4A 160 final, he brought the second state championship home to his house this season. His sister Lena won a girls state championship in January and formally retired from competing against the boys.  [*** read more ]

**When you click read more you will be taken to the EA Sports Today website.  Please make sure to come back to read more Calhoun County News. 

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