After trying to keep the Arab Invitational wrestling tournament on track for this weekend, Knights’ coaches, with input from school officials, finally made the decision Thursday night to postpone the two-day tournament, which was set to begin Friday afternoon.

The postponement likely means the event ultimately will be canceled – unless an open weekend can be found, something that’s highly unlikely.

The postponement came on the heels of DAR officials deciding at noon Thursday to push the start of the middle school Marshall County Basketball Tournament from today until Monday. Both events fell victim to the anticipated bad weather that’s expected to hit the area about mid-day today.

Arab wrestling coaches initially resisted the idea of postponing the tournament because it likely would have been finished before the storms moved in. However, concerns about how the bad weather might affect teams driving home today prompted the decision to call the whole thing off.

The tournament field already lost a couple of teams, perhaps due to weather concerns. But David Crockett (Tenn.) already was in town Thursday for a pair of dual matches. In one of those, Arab defeated David Crockett 45-24 in front of the Arab student body.

Later in the day, Arab defeated Buckhorn 63-15 to run its record in dual matches to 32-2.

On Tuesday at Fort Payne, Arab defeated Pepperell (Ga.) 45-24 and Fort Payne 45-27.

Arab coaches and wrestlers learned this week where it will go for Thursday’s State Duals Tournament quarterfinals after winning the Region 8 tournament at New Hope last Friday. Competing in Jasper, Arab will take on Corner while Jasper faces Region 8 runner-up Madison County. Both matches begin at 5 p.m.

The winners will meet afterward to determine which team advances to the semifinals, scheduled for Jan. 21 at a site to be determined. Arab is a likely candidate to host the event, should it reach the semifinals.

• While the focus this coming week is on junior high/middle school county basketball tournament, don’t forget the high school version begins next Saturday as the middle school event concludes (see the Local Sports Calendar on page 6 for next Saturday’s finals schedule).

All high school games on Saturday (Jan. 18) will be played at Arab High School. Games Monday, Jan. 20m through Saturday, Jan. 25, will be played at Snead State Community College in Boaz.

• Nick Saban won’t be coaching in the national championship game for the first time in five years but he’ll still be there Monday night. Saban will appear as part of ESPN’s “Championship Drive” pregame show starting at 5 p.m. alongside Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and David Pollack.

Saban also will appear as part of the halftime coverage.

• Is today the day? While all the attention is on the Clemson football team, the school’s basketball team has a chance to do something today it has never done: win a game against North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Tigers are 0-58 all time there.

• Jay Bell is going to be the manager of the Rocket City Trash Pandas, the minor league team near Huntsville.

• With Mississippi State’s hiring of Mike Leach on Thursday, you can bet there will be record crowds for media days. Talk about the wild, wild (SEC) West…

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