• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Mat Jackets finish 2nd at state; Yost wins title

CHASE YOST, an eighth-grader on the Woodford County High School wrestling team, jumped into head coach Rusty Parks Jr.’s arms, while assistant coach Ethan Miller looked on. It was all in celebration of winning a state title at the KHSAA State Wrestling Championships, which were held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 19 and 20, at the at the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. Yost defeated Wayne County’s Cagen Wallace 4-2 in overtime in the 106-pound weight class to earn his title. (Photo by Rick Capone)

The Woodford County High School wrestling team put on a strong performance at the KHSAA State Wrestling Championships, which were heldFriday and Saturday, Feb. 19 and 20, at the at the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. At the end of a very long second day of competition, the Mat Jackets came home with a second-place team finish out of the 87 teams that participated or were represented in the tournament. Individually, scoring the biggest win of his young career was eighth-grader Chase Yost, who won a state title in the 106-pound weight division. In addition, Woodford had five other wrestlers – Max Andreoni, Tucker Hurst, Michael Eldridge, Emir Bernabe and Joey Roberts – place in the tournament. All in all, some great results for the Mat Jackets under second-year head coach Rusty Parks Jr. “What a heck of a season we had at Woodford County,” said Parks. “We placed first or second in every tournament except two, and we placed fourth at those two (other) tournaments. I knew we were going to be very good this year, because of the group of boys I had put together, but at the same time the boys did all the work and earned that second-place finish. Truly a great season for a wrestling program. But next year’s team will be even better, which is a scary thing to think about. This is the first time since 2008 we have placed in the top three in the state.” In the team competition, Union County won the state championship with 187.5 points, while Woodford was second with 140.5 points. Rounding out the top 10 were Oldham County in third with 130.5 points, followed by Trinity (Louisville) fourth with 118.5 points, St. Xavier fifth with 117 points, North Oldham sixth with 109.5 points, Campbell County seventh with 108 points, Fern Creek eighth with 96 points, Henry Clay ninth with 94 points and Walton-Verona 10th with 89.5 points. Individually, here’s how the Woodford wrestlers did in the state championships. Chase Yost won his first state title in the 106-pound weight division. His path to the championship began with a 5-3 decision over Scott’s Brendan Pye. He followed that with an 8-2 decision over Ohio County’s Kaleb Sapp, and a 2-1 decision over Lexington Catholic’s Adam Bender to advance to the semifinals . In the semifinals, Yost scored a 3-2 decision over St. Xavier’s Nate Wheeler, which advanced him into the final where he defeated Wayne County’s Cagen Wallace by a 4-2 overtime decision to win his first state title. “Chase Yost is an absolute beast,” said Parks. “An eighth-grade state champion at 106 (pounds, with a) 48-2 record. Definitely the MVP of the team this year.” Max Andreoni, a junior, scored a second-place finish for the second year in a row. Wrestling in the 160-pound weight class, Andreoni won his first two matches by pins; the first was over Walton Verona’s Aaron Teipe and the second was over Meade County’s Johnny Lee. In his next match, Andreoni defeated Central’s Lee Johnson by a 19-2 technical fall, then followed that with a pin over Dixie Heights’s Matthew Munoz in the semifinals. That win advanced Andreoni to the championship match, where he lost a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Trinity’s Hudson Heidorf to finish in second place. “Max Andreoni, 43-3 record at 160, 3-time state placer, 2-time state finalist, the leader of our team,” said Parks. “Max is a great athlete and took a huge loss in the finals the other day on a very badly officiated match. He will bounce right back and be one of the best seniors in the state next season.” Tucker Hurst, who won a state title in 2014, was hoping to finish his high school career with a second state title. But, with a second-round match against the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the state, Union County’s Saul Ervin, it just wasn’t to be for the senior wrestler. Hurst, who wrestled in the 120-pound weight class, opened his tournament with a pin over Lafayette’s Jack Raymond, but then lost by a pin to Ervin, which sent him into the consolation bracket. Determined to finish his Mat Jacket career on a high note, Hurst began his consolation bracket matches with a pin over Franklin County’s Zach Manns, then followed that with a 6-2 decision over Manual’s Chancell Caldwell, a pin over Wayne County’s Jacob Dodd and an 8-0 major decision over Henry Clay’s Tyler Storck. Those wins advanced Hurst into the 3rd-/4th-place match, where he lost an 8-2 decision to Caldwell County’s Brady Wells to finish in fourth place in the tournament. “Tucker Hurst, a senior with a record of 42-8 at 120, 3-time state placer, (and a) state champion,” said Parks. “Tucker is a true leader and a great athlete. He definitely helped lead this team to a second-place finish.” Michael Eldridge was also looking to finish his senior year with a strong finish, and he accomplished that goal. Wrestling in the 170-pound weight class, Eldridge opened with a pin over Male’s Zach Chandler, and followed that with an 11-2 decision over Henry Clay’s Lucas Soard. But in his next match, he suffered a setback, as he lost a 9-0 major decision to Simon Kenton’s Casey Cornell. The loss sent Eldridge to the consolation bracket, where, like Hurst, he was determined to finish his high school career on a high note. He started with a 4-2 decision over Holmes’s Seth Hille, then followed that with a pin over John Hardin’s Warren Tucker and a 4-1 decision over Johnson Central’s Sam Griffith. That win put Eldridge into the 3rd-/4th-place match, where he lost a 5-2 decision to Union County’sAvery Buckman to finish in fourth place in the tournament. “Michael Eldridge, 35-9 record at 170 pounds, and fourth in state,” said Parks. “(He is a) great athlete (with a) bright future ahead of him.” Emir Bernabe came back to the Mat Jackets as a senior after not wrestling last year, and he finished his high school career with a strong performance. He opened his state tournament in the 195-pound weight class with an 8-5 decision over Ryle’s Cody Lonkar, then followed that with a pin over Johnson Central’s Alex Horn and a 17-12 decision over Iroquois’s Bilal Mamedov. But in his next match, he lost a 3-2 decision to Henry Clay’s Ray Karl Irving, which sent him to the consolation bracket. There he defeated Oldham County’s Daniel Kimbell to advance to the 3rd-/4th-place match, where he lost to Campbell County’s Brett Graziani by a 4-1 decision to finish in fourth place. “Emir Bernabe, 34-9 record at 195 pounds, fourth in the state, a great role model, (and) a natural-born leader,” said Parks. “His heart and his drive definitely helped push us into second place this year.” Joey Roberts, a junior Mat Jacket, also had an outstanding state tournament. Wrestling in the 132-pound weight class, Roberts began with a pin over Central’s Elliott Kelly, then followed that with a pin over Western’s Freddie Winston, and a 17-2 technical fall over Wayne’s Cameron Nevels. However, in his next match, Robert’s lost to Trinity’s Keegan Duncan by a 4-2 decision, which sent him into the consolation bracket, where he lost to Cooper’s Jordan Monroe. That loss put him into the 5th/6th-place match, where he faced Nevels for the second time in the tournament, and he defeated him again, this time by a 19-8 major decision to finish the tournament in fifth place. “Joey Roberts, 45-6 record at 132, (and) 3-time state placer, (is) a huge asset to our team and one of our best wrestlers,” said Parks. “He will come back very strong for me as a senior next year.” Also, Woodford had five other wrestlers who participated in the tournament, but did not place. Still, they were “…all big point scorers for us at state,” said Parks Those five wrestles were junior Marik Black (126 pounds), senior Dermot Cunningham (138 pounds), senior Matthew Fallon (145 pounds), junior Brandon Varble (182 pounds) and senior Helio Reyes (heavyweight).

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