• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports

WCHS wrestling begins practice for 2017-18 season

The Woodford County High School wrestling team held its first practice of the season on Monday, Oct. 16. The team will have a number of experienced wrestlers who are primed to make some noise this year on the mat. With the guidance of Coach Rusty Parks, the Jackets have a bright future this season. "I'm really excited to get the season up and running at Woodford County," said Parks. "We have a tough team coming back this season and we are ranked fourth in the state currently in the preseason rankings. Call me biased, but I think we are a top three team right now and we will be knocking on the door of a state title this season." The Jackets return with three state tournament placers in Tylan Tucker, Chase Yost and Adam Bender and a handful of state qualifiers as well. Yost was a state champion two seasons ago as an eighth-grader. The experienced wrestlers know the expectations that Woodford County wrestling has for its program and Parks believes he has leaders that will help develop the younger guys. "I've been lucky to learn from Joe Carr and Joe Carr Jr. and to have my Uncle Rusty, who was the coach at Woodford for 27 years," said Parks. "They taught me how to be a coach and be a leader so now the kids look to me for that fire and energy." Junior C.J. Cardwell looks to make a big splash this season and is already off to a terrific start getting the win on Sunday in the preseason Kentucky All Star Classic. Senior Jack Hill will also be a leader for the team this season. Hill is currently on the football team but will be joining the ranks when the season ends. "There are kids on the football team that will be available to wrestle when their season concludes and we know those guys are already working hard," said Parks "When we get them back we will put them to work in our wrestling room and look forward to seeing them compete. We also will have some new faces. We had a preseason meeting and there were some new faces from the football team and it will be interesting to see who comes forward and wants to join our team." The tradition of Woodford County wrestling spans generations and the reputation of the program is statewide as a top-tier team every season. The Jackets enter the wrestling room wearing the black and gold and it might as well be a bullseye on their back. The Jackets thrive on that hatred and envy that other schools feel for the black and gold. "When you come into our wrestling room, you can tell within a minute that our practices on most days are tougher than any event we compete in all season," said Parks. "I tell my guys all the time, the two things that you need to win a state title are hard work and discipline. Everything you get out of this sport will be earned and there is no disputing that. You cannot cheat your way to greatness in wrestling." On Nov. 21 the Black/Gold Duals will take place, where the wrestlers will go head-to-head to earn starting positions for the regular season. Fourteen spots are open on the varsity squad and the wrestlers will battle to see who claims the open spots. "There are many life lessons in the sport of wrestling," said Parks. "Not everybody will claim a starting spot but it's how they respond to that adversity that will make them champions someday." Woodford County wrestling will open its season on Wednesday, Nov. 29, when they host the Woodford Duals.

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