Friday, February 12, 2010

St. Bernard Freshman to compete for State Crown

By Mike Cummings The Cullman Times
CULLMAN — Meet Ty Sissom.

Sissom is a freshman at St. Bernard Prep. He stands 5-foot-3 and might pass for 103 pounds soaking wet.

He’s also the favorite to win a state wrestling championship this weekend in Huntsville.

When the Alabama High School Athletic Association holds its annual wrestling championships Friday and Saturday at the Von Braun Center, St. Bernard will be represented by a team for the first time in decades.

That team includes freshman Andy Woods and sophomores Jade Bradford and Jake Lewis. But the breakout star of the group is Sissom, who has a 32-2 record in the 103-pound weight class this season.

He’ll take that near-perfect mark into the eight-strong 103-pound 1A-4A state championship bracket this weekend in Huntsville.

The opening rounds begin early Friday morning, with the championship scheduled for Saturday.

So with seven other wrestlers from more established programs also going for the title, what makes Sissom the favorite?

Easy — he’s already beaten everybody in the bracket this year.

Plus, he has detailed scouting reports thanks to videos recorded by his father.

“I’ve watched them over and over, so I already know what they’re (his opponents) are going to do,” said Sissom. “I’ve already planned what I’m going to do at state and everything.”

Sissom isn’t kidding.

Inside the athletic complex at St. Bernard, Sissom and Coach Marcus Luna have drawn up a detailed scouting report on the freshman’s opponents this weekend. The pair spent Wednesday’s practice going over holds and throws.

But Sissom also has another advantage. Last year as an eighth-grader at Ashville High, he finished second in the state.

He also wrestled as a seventh-grader, but that was an experience the St. Bernard freshman wants to forget.

“I was horrible as a seventh-grader,” he said. “I didn’t know anything.”

But that all changed a year later when Sissom was introduced to Luna, who works with Sissom’s father. The two started training on Sundays after Sissom finished tournaments.

Luna, a 2000 graduate of Arab High, finished fifth in the nation as a senior.

When the two started working together, the results were immediate — as evidenced by Sissom’s second-place finish a year ago at state.

“Plus as a seventh-grader, I weighed like 84 pounds,” said Sissom, who also plays football, basketball and baseball. “Then as an eighth-grader I gained about 20 pounds.”

Sissom’s first match is scheduled for around 9 a.m. Friday at the VBC arena. If he advances that far, the 1A-4A championship match is scheduled for Saturday morning around the same time.

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