Enterprise Junior Evelyn Holmes-Smith Becomes First Female AHSAA Wrestler to win 100 Matches

In a groundbreaking achievement, junior wrestler Evelyn Holmes-Smith from Enterprise High School has become the first female wrestler in AHSAA history to record 100 match wins. Her milestone victory was not without its fair share of excitement, as she garnered attention in the AHSAA Wrestling Spotlight this week.

Holmes-Smith and her teammates showcased their prowess by clinching the championship title at the second annual Queen of the South girls’ wrestling tournament hosted by EHS. In a closely contested battle, they emerged victorious with a narrow 166-153 win over Thompson.

Impressively, Holmes-Smith secured the top spot in her weight division, alongside four other talented Wildcats grapplers. The girls’ head wrestling coach, Billy Landry, expressed his pride in the team’s success, stating, “I was excited and proud of our girls. We had six girls in the finals, and five won. Even Rose (Ambrielle McKim, the runner-up) wrestled tough. She just didn’t come out on top. It makes me even prouder as the host team that we brought them into our school and won the tournament.”

Alongside Holmes-Smith, Mallory Ladd (185), Taimane Benemerito (132), Mackenzie Schultz (152), and Israel Hart (235) also claimed victory in their respective weight divisions at the Queen of the South competition.

During the intense 126-pound finals, Holmes-Smith faced a formidable opponent in Pace (FL) wrestler Lahela Turnguist. With less than 30 seconds remaining in the match, Turnguist held a 6-4 lead. However, Holmes-Smith exhibited her tenacity by earning an escape with just 26 seconds left, reducing the margin to 6-5. In a thrilling turn of events, she secured a two-point takedown with 15 seconds remaining, ultimately claiming a 7-6 victory. Holmes-Smith finished the tournament with an impeccable 6-0 record, out of which five wins were secured by pins.

The spotlight on a girls’ wrestling match at the AHSAA tournament is fitting, given the phenomenal growth of girls’ wrestling in recent years. Recognizing this surge in popularity, the AHSAA Central Board of Control has declared girls’ wrestling as an official championship sport starting from the 2024-25 school year. Although still an emerging sport this year, the girls will have their own invitational state wrestling tournament next week, followed by participation in the AHSAA Boys’ State Wrestling Championships in February at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center. Wrestlers will qualify for this competition in the 14 weight divisions, advancing through the North and South Sectionals in Birmingham and Montgomery from February 9-10. The girls’ tournament will follow a similar format next season.

The Queen of the South tournament, featuring 21 teams from Alabama and Florida, served as an excellent preparation for the upcoming AHSAA Girls’ Invitational State Tournament. This tournament, held for the first time last season, follows the same format as the AHSAA Boys’ State Championships in February. It will crown champions in each weight division, with team championships determined based on the total points earned across all weight divisions.

The girls’ tournament will commence on Thursday, January 18, at Thompson High School, with the championship match finals and consolation finals taking place at the Birmingham CrossPlex Bill Harris Arena on Friday, January 19, starting at 12:40 p.m. Additionally, the AHSAA State Duals Tournament semifinals and finals will be held at the Bill Harris Arena on the same day, featuring Class 5A and Class 6A duals semifinal matches at 8:45 a.m., followed by the championship finals and consolation finals at 10:30 a.m. The girls’ wrestling finals will follow, and at 3:30 p.m., the Class 1A-4A Boys’ Duals and Class 7A Boys’ Duals semifinals will commence, with the championship finals and consolation finals scheduled for 5:15 p.m.

Other wrestling superlatives reported from last week’s matches are listed below:


TEEGAN ROBINSON, NORTHSIDE METHODIST: Won the 165-pound championship at the Queen of the South girls’ tourney with five straight wins – including a 4-1 win over Josie Faison, also from NSM.
She also won the 155A division title at the Panhandle Championship R/R meet at Lynn, Haven (FL).

NATALIA CHOQUEGONZA, PONTA VERDA (FL): Was named Queen of the South tourney MVP winning all four matches in the 114-pound division.

LYNLEIGH WELTZIN, THOMPSON: Won the 120-pound title at the Queen of the South Tourney.

ESTELLA ISALAS, THOMPSON: Captured the 145-pound crown at the Queen of the South.

MOLLY SEIDMAN, AUBURN: Won the 100-pound title at the Queen of the South.

LENA JOHANNSON, WEAVER: Captured the 138-pound championship at the Queen of the South.

SHANUE TAN, NORTHSIDE METHODIST: Went 3-0 with pins coming in the first minute of each match to win the 130A weight division title at the Panhandle Championships at Lynn Haven (FL).


CHRISTOPHER EYERLY, ELMORE COUNTY: Beat Prattville Christian’s Aidan Cockrell (17-1) in a battle of unbeatens 1-0 in the 287-pound finals at the Julian McPhillips Invitational tourney at Saint James. Eyerly (21-0) had two pins in four matches, and Cockrell had three pins. Prattville Christian finished second in the tourney with 145 points. Tallassee won with 291. Cockrell reached the 1A/4A state finals in 2023.

LAND BELL, TALLASSEE: Won the 146-pound division title at the Julian McPhillips Invitational at Saint James School to remain unbeaten at 34-0. The junior pinned senior David Bailey of Northside Methodist in the finals at 3:17 to help Tallassee win the meet crown. 

NOAH GUTHRIE, GULF SHORES: The senior had four pins to win the 132-pound division of the Baldwin County wrestling tournament – upping his season record to 33-2. He won his first two matches in 0:25 and 0:32. Gulf Shores won the county championship with 316 points. Daphne was second at 177.

GRIER HUNT, ENTERPRISE: Needing a pin to claim the Class 7A, Region 2 duals championship,  Hunt delivered for the Wildcats with a pin at 2:40 the second period of his match with Smiths Station’s Gabe Tyner which gave Enterprise (18-3) a 37-33 win over the runner-up Panthers.

GAVIN BITTLE, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Won his 106-pound match over Thompson with a pin at the 1:39 mark to give Hewitt-Trussville a 36-30 win over the Warriors at the Class 7A Region 3 duals tournament last weekend. The victory propelled the Huskies into the AHSAA State Duals playoffs as the No. 1 seed from Region 3. Thompson advanced as the runner-up.

BRADLEY WILLIAMS, SPAIN PARK: Finished 4-0 in the Class 7A, Region 3 duals tournament last weekend.

HUNTER HISE, WEAVER: Trailing 7-1 in the third period of the 177-pound championship match at the Cleburne County Rumble in the Jungle Invitational, Hise rebounded and pinned Ranburne’s Zack Buchanan at 4:44 in the third period to win the match – and the tourney title for the Bearcats. He was the last of three Weaver wrestlers to win individual titles in the rugged tourney. Teammates Cael Fulmer and Hayden Hise also won the 108 and 122-pound titles, respectively, and Weaver, coached by Andy Fulmer, edged Dora 198.5 to 159 to take the crown. Weaver also finished runner-up by a mere three points to Alexandria in the Calhoun County tourney and also won the Class 1A/4A Region 6 title to advance to the AHSAA Duals playoffs in a very busy week for the Bearcats.

AUSTEN MAYFIELD, CLEBURNE COUNTY: Won the 146-pound division the Rumble in the Jungle meet to earn MVP honors in the very competitive tourney.   He beat Daymion Winfrey of Alabama School for the Blind in the finals with a pin at 1:29.

JAYDEN ROUSE, DORA: Had the fastest pin in the finals of the Rumble in the Jungle invitational tourney at Heflin winning the 128-pound division needing only 28 seconds to land the fall.

CALEB TINNER, OXFORD: Won the 287-pound title at the Rumble in the Jungle tourney with a pin in 35 seconds over Ranburne’s Zaden Benefield.

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