State Wrestling Tournament: Dora’s Clayton wins title

Senior closes season with dominating win

By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 2/17/18

HUNTSVILLE — Zach Clayton’s four-year journey as a member of the Dora wrestling team culminated on Saturday with a state championship victory at the AHSAA State Tournament at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.

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State Wrestling Tournament: Dora’s Clayton wins title

Senior closes season with dominating win

Posted

HUNTSVILLE — Zach Clayton’s four-year journey as a member of the Dora wrestling team culminated on Saturday with a state championship victory at the AHSAA State Tournament at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.

Clayton scored a 16-3 major decision win over Kage Robertson of Susan Moore in the 132-pound weight division to earn his championship medal and finish his senior season with a record of 60-1.

The championship win for Clayton concludes a prep career of trials and tribulations.

In his freshman year, an infection prevented Clayton, who was seeded second in the tournament from competing after a 60-14 campaign.

His sophomore season saw Clayton advance to the championship final, where a loss gave him a second-place finish. Last year, he struggled in the tournament, ultimately finishing in sixth place.

The adversity Clayton faced in his career, however, served as a motivating tool and has made the championship win much more rewarding.

“This season, my coaches have reminded me how I’ve done in the past and my teammates have been behind me, pushing me to work to win a championship. They all have stood behind me in everything I do,” Clayton said. “The support drove me to get back here to the tournament and once I was here, keep working until I earned the title.”

Clayton’s title victory also served a special milestone for the Dora wrestling program — its 10th individual championship, a special achievement he is proud to be a part of.

“Dora wrestling has a legacy — everyone who enters the program knows about it and works to be a part of that legacy,” Clayton said. “Part of the effort we all as part of that program put forth is to make sure that legacy stays strong and grows. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”

Dora coach Hezzie Morgan knew that championship potential always existed in Clayton and is proud of his work and accomplishments.

“From the first day he walked into the program, we knew he was something special. In the early part of his career, he was so small, but so quick. He quickly grew to love this sport and was a natural. He had a lot of our state champions come in to help him grow and he absorbed those lessons well,” Morgan said. “In the last period of the final, I told him his four years came down to those last two minutes — it motivated him and you could see it in how he finished. Like so many of our past champions, he took advantage of the opportunity this sport gave him and took it to the top of the first-place podium.”

Clayton’s championship victory highlighted a strong showing for the Bulldogs overall, who finished in fifth place with 108.5 points and had four other wrestlers earn placement.

Carlos Chavez (113 pounds) earned third place, David Williams (160 lbs.) earned third place, Chance Thompson (170 pounds) earned fifth place and Ronny Henderson (285 pounds) earned sixth place.

The Corner Yellow Jackets’ Nicholas Brashear (170 pounds) also earned placement at sixth.