Tallassee wrestling

Caleb Turrentine / The Tribune Tallassee’s Christian McCary (top) pinned Opelika’s Andre Smiley in the first period.

Five wrestlers placed in the top four of their weight classes as Tallassee finished third at the Julian McPhillips tournament at Saint James this weekend. The Tigers racked up 108 points and finished behind only Wetumpka and Saint James in the 19-team field.

Tallassee had three wrestlers make it to finals but they all fell just short of the title. Zack Haynes grabbed three wins at 134 pounds, including two first-period pins, before dropping an 11-5 decision to Wetumpka’s Kyler Adams in the first-place bout.

Brandon Emfinger recorded three pins at 115, all in the first period, to set up a rematch with Saint James’ Tennison Norton. Norton, who pinned Emfinger earlier in the season, got the best of the matchup again, winning the title by tech fall in the third period.

At 154, Mason Bell improved his record to 32-3 with three victories before being pinned by Park Crossing’s Ezell Wood in the first-place bout. Bell recorded two pins, including one against Elmore County’s Ethan Geer with 34 seconds remaining in the semifinals.

After getting two pins in his first two matches, Land Bell fell in the semifinals of 108 to Wetumpka’s Chad Strickland. He bounced back with two more wins by decision to take third place and up his season record to 27-5.

Christian McCary grabbed fourth place at 140 after losing two close matches to finish the day. McCarry lost to Wetumpka’s Christian Preston in sudden victory in the semifinals before dropping the third-place bout to Westminster’s Tyler Suggs by a 7-6 decision.

Elmore County placed seventh at the Saint James tournament, recording 85 points, just five shy of a top-five finish. The Panthers had five wrestlers finish in the top four of their weight classes.

Geer bounced back from his loss to Bell in the semifinals to defeat Stanhope’s Adrian Laskey in sudden victory to take home third. Geer finished the weekend with four wins and improved to 13-7 on the season.

Solon Lee (172 pounds) got pinned in the first period of the quarterfinals by Satsuma’s Troy Gibson but Lee rebounded with three straight wins to set up a rematch with Gibson in the third-place bout. Gibson came out on top but Lee battled through three periods before falling in a 9-8 decision.

Matt Brown improved his season record to 20-3 and gained 15 points for the Panthers with three victories at 222. Brown finished fourth after falling to Lee’s Rondarius Webb by fall in the second period.

After earning a pin in his first match, Matthew Thornton fell just short against Norton, losing by 6-5 decision in the semifinals at 115. Thornton bounced back with one more victory before falling in the third-place bout to Pike Road’s Myers Duncan.

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.