• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Staff

Mat Jackets win Castle duals in West Virginia

THE WCHS WRESTLING TEAM won first place at the Castle Duals in West Virginia on Saturday, Dec. 16. The Mat Jackets were 5-0 on the day. (Photo submitted)

The Woodford County High School wrestling team was impressive on Saturday, Dec. 16 winning the Castle duals at Cabell Midland High School in West Virginia. The Mat Jackets were 5-0 in duals scoring over 40 points in each round. The Jackets were missing some key starters at the duals and lost 18 points each round by forfeit. Coach Rusty Parks was very pleased with the intensity that his team brought to the duals on Saturday.

“Being short handed like we were, our athletes really stepped up and were tough all day,” said Parks. “I always say there is a method to my madness and I think my team is starting to see it. When we traveled to Mater Dei earlier this season and got our butts kicked, that lit a fire under my group. They went to West Virginia and took it out on everyone. We had five wrestlers go undefeated in this tournament against top tier competition.We feel like we know who we are right now and feel great about it”

In the opening round, the Jackets defeated St. Albans 45-32.

“St. Albans was tough and we knew they would be,” said Parks. “We came out fast and hit them right in the mouth and controlled the matchups. I was happy to see that the team could get off the bus and be ready to wrestle like that.”

“Anytime you travel out of Kentucky to wrestle, you know the competition will be tough,” said WCHS freshman Dylan Preston. “Coach makes sure we always have a tough schedule.”

In round two, the Jackets handily defeated the WV All-stars 63-18. The only points surrendered by Woodford were the forfeits. The Jackets controlled every match from start to finish.

“I like how our group cheered for every wrestler in every match,” said WCHS senior Tylan Tucker. “When we send someone out onto the mat, we give them all we have on the sidelines. We try to make it a war for every opponent. That is what I love about duals, the whole team is behind you for every match. That brings out your fire and makes you work even harder.”

In round three, WCHS faced Greenbrier West and won 53-21 winning nearly every match by pin. The Jackets overpowered their opponent and earned a spot to face tournament host Cabell Midland.

“Greenbrier has some tough individuals who have been successful in their careers and our guys came out fearless and took care of business,” said Parks.

“Our group knows that you can't ever take a minute off in training because we train for events like this,” said WCHS junior Wyatt Andreoni. “Coach inspires us to push one another and to be ready for anything. This is such a close group, I'd do anything for these guys.”

The semifinal matchup with Cabell Midland was a battle of the titans. The Jackets started out on a 36-0 run and took the hometown crowd out of the dual early.

“It's a great feeling knowing that we have caught fire and everyone is at their best,” said WCHS senior Jack Hill. “I trust everyone on the team and I know they put in the work to be ready for these moments.”

“If that crowd had gotten going early, we may have been in trouble,” said Parks. “That team has a huge following and they all came to watch their guys wrestle. Our athletes were emotional, they celebrated every win and I like to see that. I am an enthusiastic person and they feed off of my energy.”

In the finals, The Jackets faced Parkersburg. The Jackets and Parkersburg met in the finals last year with Parkersburg taking first place.

“I think the guys were excited to get a little revenge and take home the championship banner,” said Parks. “They got us last year and we knew we were ready for the challenge this time. We've won the event two of the last three years. We love traveling to this kind of event because the competition is always tough. We head to Christian County next and will face teams from Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio.”

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