It was a tough weekend for the Woodford County High School wrestling team at the KHSAA State Wrestling Championships, which were held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 and 18, in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. But, it had a happy ending. As a team, Woodford finished in fourth place. “Overall the team did a great job,” said Woodford head coach Rusty Parks Jr. “Six state placers and two state champions are a great accomplishment. We really competed well and had a great weekend taking fourth as a team. … We definitely wanted to win or place in the Top 3, but they only give out trophies for the Top 4 teams, so bringing home a trophy to add to case is always a positive we like to look at.” Individually, two senior Mat Jackets, Joey Roberts and Max Andreoni, closed out their high school careers by each winning their first state championship title. In addition, four other Mat Jackets placed in the tournament: Adam Bender and Tylan Tucker finished third in their weight classes, Chase Yost finished fourth in his weight and Andrew Varble finished sixth in his weight class. Here are Woodford’s results at the state tournament. Team Results Woodford was fourth out of 93 teams with 152 points. Union County won its second consecutive state wrestling championship with 227.5 points, with St. Xavier second with 191 points and Johnson Central third with 171 points. Rounding out the top 10 were Walton-Verona fifth with 123.5 points, Simon Kenton sixth with 115 points, John Hardin seventh with 86.5 points, Oldham County eighth with 84 points, Wayne County ninth with 76 points and Dixie Heights 10th with 74.5 points. Individual Results Joey Roberts Wt.: 145 pounds Finish: 1st Joey Roberts came into the state championships ranked No. 1 in the state in his 145-pound weight class, and was determined to win his first championship title in his senior year as a member of the WCHS team. It was his fourth appearance in the state championships; his best finishes were fifth in 2016 and third in 2015. In his opening match of the tournament, Roberts pinned Apollo Jaiden Kendall. He then followed that with a pin over Newport’s Drevon Jones and a 25-10 technical fall over Johnson Central’s Blake Gamble, which put him into the semifinals. There he won an 8-4 decision over Union County’s Chance Oxford to advance to the championship final. Going into the final against St. Xavier’s Clayton Hanson, Roberts was confident; he had met his opponent before and knew if he wrestled to his abilities, he’d get the win. “He’s a tough kid,” said Roberts of his opponent. “(I) wrestled him two other times (and) beat him. Just going out there and just doing what I’ve done for the past year.” In the final, Roberts took control early and won a 12-3 major decision to win his state championship. “It’s the greatest,” said Roberts about his feelings in winning his first state championship. … Ever since I was a kid just dreaming of my name being on the wall (at Woodford) and now I can finally say it’s up there.” Roberts finished the season with a 47-3 record and a career record of 170-25. “Joey Roberts became a four-time state placer and that’s a very tough thing to accomplish,” said Parks. “He will go down in Woodford history for doing this, and finishing his career off with a state title under his belt is awesome. His work ethic and non-stop hard work helped him earn that. This young man will continue his wrestling career now on another level by wrestling in college next season.” Max Andreoni Wt.: 182 pounds Finish: 1st Max Andreoni came into the state championships undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the state in the 182-pound weight class. Over his high school career, he has reached the state championship tournament all four years and fell short for a number of reasons. As a freshman, on the day of the tournament, he was not allowed to wrestle for medical reasons. Then as a sophomore he finished second, and as a junior, in a match with some questionable calls by the referees, he also finished second. This year, his final one as a Mat Jacket, he came into the state tournament in the best shape of his life, both mentally and physically, and was determined to win a title. Andreoni opened the tournament with a pin over Calloway County’s Josh Efinger. He followed that with a pin over North Hardin’s Brenden Becker and a pin over Dixie Heights’s Roy Bowers, which put him into the semifinals where he won an 11-3 major decision over Union County’s Avery Buckman. That win advanced Andreoni into the championship final, where he faced Simon Kenton’s Elijah Jackson, a wrestler he had not faced before, though he had seen him wrestle. “I have not (wrestled him before),” said Andreoni. “But I’m familiar with him. I saw him wrestle all state (and) all year.” In the final, Andreoni dominated the match from the start, putting his opponent down on the mat multiple times, and then letting him up, only to put him down once again. In the end, Andreoni won a 28-13 technical fall to win his first state championship title. “It feels pretty good,” said Andreoni on winning the title. “Third time’s the charm I guess. It’s a blessing that Joey did it as well because he’s my best friend. I love it.” Andreoni finishes the season undefeated with a 55-0 record, with 51 of them won by pins. He also has a career record of 224-24. “Max Andreoni is the best athlete in the entire state by far,” said Parks. “He capped off an undefeated senior season (55-0) to win his first state title. Max is one of Woodford’s most dominant wrestlers of all time. Winning 224 matches for Woodford puts him in the top 5 in history of career wins, along with Top 5 members Joe Carr Jr., Harrison Courtney, Richard Starks, and Ian Horn. Max ends his career as a four-time state placer, a three-time state finalist, a two-time All American, and a state champ. He literally made it look easy this season only giving up one takedown the entire year.” Adam Bender Wt.: 113 pounds Finish: 3rd Adam Bender was entering his first state championship tournament with Woodford County. He opened the day by pinning Meade County’s Hunter Butler and then followed that by winning a 7-3 decision over Harrison County’s Michael Mattox and a 5-1 decision over Union County’s Gabe Adams. However, in his next match, he lost a 4-1 decision to Trigg County’s Brandon Miller, which put him into the consolation bracket. There he met up with Mattox again and beat him again, this time by an 11-2 major decision, which advanced him into the third-place match against another familiar foe, Adams, and once again Bender defeated him, this time by a 3-2 decision to finish in third place. Bender finishes the season with a 49-2 record. “Adam Bender had a remarkable season at Woodford only losing two matches all year and placing third in the state,” said Parks. “He now becomes a three-time state placer and still has one more season here. He is remarkable to watch and train with. I definitely look for him to take over the team leader/captain role along with senior Tylan Tucker. Tylan Tucker Wt.: 126 pounds Finish: 3rd Tylan Tucker came into this year’s state championships on a mission. Last year, he had a successful season, but was injured just before going to state. Then, this year, he spent the season rehabbing his injury and hadn’t started wrestling on the varsity until late in the season. So, he was determined to do his best at state this year. Tucker opened with a pin over Johnson Central’s Matthew Spradlin, but then lost a 9-5 decision to Calloway County’s Tanner Yenter, which put him into the consolation bracket. In the consolation bracket, he ran the table. He started with a 2-1 decision over Madison Central’s Gentry Deck, and then followed that with a pin over Owensboro’s Muhan Nard, an 11-2 major decision over Union County’s Payne Carr, a 10-4 decision over Ryle’s Aaron Brossart and a 6-3 decision over Fern Creek’s Colton Lempe. Those wins advanced Tucker into the third-place match against Yenter, who he had lost to earlier in the day. However, this time, when it counted most, he won a 3-1 decision to claim third place in the tournament. Tucker finishes the season with an 18-2 record. He also broke the 100-win mark this season. “Tylan Tucker might have been one of the best comebacks I’ve ever seen in my life, (as he) dominated everyone last season (2016) and (was) the favorite to win it all before tearing out his knee and ending his season early the week before state,” said Parks. “He trained hard and bounced back great. Placing third in a tough weight class and becoming a two-time state placer with one more year to go. He is an excellent kid and a very hard worker showing that he only needed three weeks of competition to comeback and stand upon that podium again.” Chase Yost Wt.: 120 pounds Finish: 4th Chase Yost came into the tournament hoping to win his second consecutive state title. He won the 106-pound weight class last year as an eighth grader. Yost opened the day with a pin over Letcher County Central’s Zachary Maggard, but then lost his next match by a 3-2 decision to John Hardin’s Brody Haverstik. With the loss, Yost’s hopes of winning a state title vanished, but being the competitor he is, he was determined to make a strong finish. In his first match, he pinned Paducah Tilgman’s Ray Hamilton, and then pinned Bullitt East’s Logan Henry. Yost then won a 3-1 decision over Apollo’s Jake Insko, a 6-2 decision over Union County’s Sam Bacon and a 4-3 decision over Walton Verona’s Blake Roth. With those wins, Yost advanced to the third-place match, where he lost an overtime 2-1 decision to St. Xavier’s Nate Wheeler to finish in fourth place. Yost finishes the season with a 54-4 record, with two of his losses coming in this tournament. He also broke the 100-win mark this season. “Chase Yost is one of the hardest working kids in the entire state” said Parks. “He accomplished becoming a state placer for the second year in a row as only a freshman, which is great because we have him for three more seasons. (Finishing) fourth in possibly the deepest and toughest weight class in the state is great. With his work ethic he will be back hungrier than ever next season. I look for him to also lead the team with Ty and Adam.” Andrew Varble Wt.: 195 pounds Finish: 6th Andrew Varble is a senior on the WCHS wresting team and was looking to close out his high school career with a strong finish at state, and while it was not exactly the finish he had hoped to achieve, he still placed high in the tournament. Varble open with the day with a pin over Perry County Central’s William Long and a 4-3 decision over Trinity’s Kadin Kulmer. However, he lost his next match to Calloway County’s David Woods by a 9-4 decision, which put him into the consolation bracket. In his first match in the consolation bracket, Varble won a 6-2 decision over Hopkinsville’s Nick Owens, a 3-2 decision over Doss’s Steven Brown, but then lost by a pin to Johnson Central’s Brady Taylor, which put him into the fifth-place match. In that match, Varble lost a 11-0 major decision to Henry Clay’s Ray Karl Irving to finish in sixth place. Varble finishes the season with a 46-12 record. “Andrew Varble has improved a lot over the years,” said Parks. “He finally was able to accomplish his goal of becoming a state placer his senior year. Having Max Andreoni as a workout partner in the room definitely showed. Andrew wrestled a great tournament and beat some really tough guys (to win) sixth place.” Six other Mat Jackets wrestled in the tournament, but did not place. They were Reece Goss (106 pounds; final record 32-15), Wyatt Andreoni (132 pounds; final record 46-13), Ronan Wyatt (138 pounds; 39-13), Marik Black (152 pounds; final record 18-8), Isreal Angeles (160 pounds; 31-15) and Jack Hill (220 pounds; final record 35-23).
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