Tucker wins State Championship; Mat Jackets place third
The Woodford County High School wrestling team finished third at the KHSAA State Championship on Feb. 16-18 at Alltech Arena in Lexington. Union County was first and Saint Xavier was second. WCHS senior Tylan Tucker won the State Championship in the 126-pound weight class to finish off his high school career. Chase Yost, a former state champion, was runner-up in the 138-pound weight class. The Mat Jackets had seven out of 12 wrestlers place in the tournament. The WCHS 1993 State Championship wrestling team was honored before the placement matches began. “My guys did an excellent job today,” said WCHS Coach Rusty Parks. “The state rankings and projections made it look like we didn't have a chance this weekend but we fought hard and wrestled with big hearts. Woodford County wrestling is back to the powerhouse status that we deserve and these kids earned that reputation.We have nine qualifiers who are coming back, five placers and we have some tough kids coming in from middle school. The future of Woodford County wrestling is extremely bright.” 106
Eighth-Grader Gavin Andreoni placed fifth and scored 14 team points.
Andreoni won his first match of the tournament by fall over Alex Herald (Newport). He won his second round match by decision over David Gerkin (Apollo) and then won by major decision in the quarterfinals over Jefferey Kinley (Madison Central). In the semifinals, Andreoni lost a 9-5 decision to Samuel Grandstaff (Conner) then lost by fall to Gage Fowler (Christian County) in the consolation semifinal. In the fifth-place match, Andreoni won a 4-0 decision over Jacob Cain (Johnson Central). Andreoni finished his season with a 33-10 record. “It was a really exciting weekend,” said Andreoni. “To place fifth as an eighth-grader gives me plenty to work for next season as a freshman. We have so much returning talent next year so I am hoping we can continue to grow and win individual and state titles.”
Senior Adam Bender placed fifth and scored 17 team points.
In the first round, Bender won by fall over Hayden Sheroan (Henry Clay) and won by fall again in the second round over Michael Conner (McCrwacken County). In the quarterfinal match, Bender lost by sudden victory to Shay Horton (Ryle). Bender battled back into the tournament by pinning Morgan Sallee (Danville) in consolation round four and then won an 8-5 decision over Dalton Lawson (Johnson Central) in the fifth consolation round. Bender lost a 3-0 decision to Brandon Miller (Taylor County) in the consolation semifinals, but won a 7-3 decision over Thomas Hoppes (LaRue County) in the fifth-place match. Bender finished his season with a 34-8 record. Bender is a four-time state placer.
Freshman Dylan Preston placed sixth and scored 11 team points.
Preston opened the tournament with a win by fall over Sergio Morales (Newport). In the second round, Preston won in overtime over (Keaton Elliott (Calloway County). Preston won his quarterfinal match over Isaac Pledger (St. Xavier), but lost his semifinal match by decision to Gabe Adams (Union County). In the consolation semifinal match, Preston lost by major decision to Carson Deckard (Oldham County) and lost his fifth-place match by decision in a rematch with Pledger. Preston finished his season with a 36-13 record.
Senior Tylan Tucker placed first and scored 30 team points.
Tucker pinned Colby Dabbs (Cooper) in the first round and pinned Colton Lampe (Fern Creek) in the second round. In the quarterfinal match, Tucker won a 6-0 decision over Cauy Wallace (Wayne County). Tucker won his semifinal match by fall over Seth Lutes (Scott County). In the state final, Tucker won a 6-4 decision over Sam Bacon (Union County). Tucker cried tears of joy when his hand was raised. He ran across the mat and jumped in the arms of Parks as they both celebrated the win. Tucker finished his season with a 45-4 record. “That was the best feeling in the world,” said Tucker. “I'm having a hard time processing it all. The road to get here has been tough. I finished third as a freshman and then got hurt my sophomore year. I was third my junior year and I knew I had to give every ounce of effort to make this happen today. This first place medal around my neck is the sprinkles on the ice cream.”
Junior CJ Cardwell did not place and scored 8 team points.
In the first round, Cardwell won by fall over Shane Gray (Ohio County). Cardwell lost his second round match by decision to Thomas Ketchen-Carter (Campbell County) but won by decision over Jaelyn Hamilton (Trinity) in the consolation second round. Cardwell pinned Tyler Hudgins (Harrison County) in the third consolation round. In the fourth consolation round, Cardwell lost a 6-4 decision to Payne Carr (Union County). Cardwell finished his season with a 33-8 record. “This was my first time at the state tournament and I had butterflies in my stomach at first,” said Cardwell. “Once you get going and you feel the contact, you settle down and it feels like home again. I'm looking forward to improving my skills and using this experience to prepare me for next season.”
Sophomore Chase Yost placed second and scored 26 team points.
In the first round, Yost pinned Matthew Spradlin (Johnson Central) and then won by technical fall over Diontae Rone (Holmes) in the second round. In the quarterfinal, Yost won by major decision over Kaden Darbro (St Xavier) and then won by technical fall in the semifinals over Mannie Murrer (Covington Catholic). In the final, Yost lost a 9-3 decision to Saul Ervin (Union County) in a battle of former state champions. Yost finished his season with a 34-8 record. “I have been here before and although this year did not work out how I wanted it to, I feel good about the two years I have left,” said Yost. “The season is always full of adversity so you have to be ready to overcome the mental part as well as the physical part. I will be back next year.”
Junior Ronan Wyatt placed seventh and scored 10 team points.
Wyatt won his first round match by decision over Tristen Spalding (Walton-Verona). In the second round, Wyatt won by fall over Zack Higdon (Fairdale), but lost by decision to Alex Rivera (Moore) in the quartefinal. Wyatt won by decision over Trevor Pogue (Union County) in consolation round four. In the fifth consolation round, Wyatt lost by decision to Ryan Mcmanus (Madison Central), but won his seventh-place match by major decision over Zach Holub (Cooper). “Last year I came into this tournament and went 0-2 and let myself and my team down,”said Wyatt. “This year I knew I had to step up and help the team, and it was an amazing feeling to score points and battle this level of competition.”
Junior Wyatt Andreoni placed fourth and scored 22 team points.
Andreoni won by fall in the first round over Gavin English (Ohio County) and then won by decision over Isaiah Newberry (Moore) in the second round. Andreoni lost by major decision in the quarterfinals to Keaon Taylor (Doss). Andreoni won his next two consolation round matches by fall over Seth Slayton (Caldwell County) and Chase Fink (Anderson County). In the consolation semifinal, Andreoni won by injury default and lost his third-place match by decision to Taylor in a rematch of the quarterfinal bout. Andreoni finished his season with a 43-9 record. “I like to wrestle the best of the best,” said Andreoni. “I came in here ranked eighth and walked out with a fourth-place medal, so I am happy with that for now. Every guy on this team wants to be a state champion individually but we know the team title is everything. We'll get back to work and try to win one next season.”
Sophomore Triston Brooks did not place and scored four team points.
Brooks won by fall over Cody Foster (Ryle) in the first round. In the second round, Brooks was pinned by Max Powell (Fairdale) and then lost by decision to Klemmer Nicodemus (Ohio County) in the second consolation round. Brooks finished his season with a 34-13 record.
Freshman Tony Ornelas did not place and scored five team points.
Ornelas won his opening match by fall over Tekai Trotter (Southern), but lost by decision in the second round to Michael Walker (Whitley County). Ornelas won his first consolation round match by decision over Rowdy Kinser (Sheldon Clark) and lost in the third consolation round by decision to Jacob Bratcher (DuPont Manual). Ornelas finished his season with a 25-22 record.
Junior Juan Chavez did not place and did not score team points.
Chavez lost by pin in the first round to Zach Chandler (Male) and lost by decision to Issac Johnson (LaRue County) in the second round. Chavez finished his season with a 11-12 record.
Senior Jack Hill did not place and scored eight team points.
Hill won by decision in the first round over Joseph Fisher (Letcher County). Hill was pinned in the second round by Bryan Pratt (Meade County). Hill pinned Nathan Tate (Male) and Chandler Watkins (Ryle) in the first two consolation rounds. Hill was pinned in the fourth consolation round by Daniel Kimball (Oldham County). Hill finished his season with a 33-18 record. “I'm so proud of our team,” said Jack Hill. “I am most proud of how the guys all came together this season and looked out for one another. These guys are family to me. We have so many young guys on the team and I look forward to seeing their careers grow each season.”