The St. Xavier wrestling team went 1 for 2 in achieving its goals for the Region Four meet, but still easily captured the first-place trophy Saturday at Male. The Tigers won half of the 14 weight classes and had representatives in 12 of the finals on their way to amassing 288 points.
“Our goal was to put 14 in the finals and we fell two short of that. Our (other) goal was to have 21 pins today, we did beat that, we got 22 pins,” said St. X coach Jim Kraeszig, whose team is No. 2 in the KentuckyWrestling.com rankings. “We won three matches today that we weren’t supposed to. That’s the sign of a team that’s getting better. There’s still work to be done if we’re going to beat Union County and Woodford County in the state finals.”
The top four finishers in each weight class earned spots at the KHSAA State Championships, which will take place Feb. 17-18 at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena in Lexington.
Moore edged out Trinity by six points (170-164) for second place while the host Bulldogs finished fourth (141.5) and Central took fifth (112).
“We did a little bit better than I expected,” said Mustangs coach Mike Thomas, who was voted the region coach of the year. “I expected us to do really well, but I knew it was still going to be a tough shot between us, Trinity and Male.
“For years we’ve been right behind St. X and Trinity, so we’ve moved one up above Trinity, so that feels good. But we’re still trying to get above St. X. A couple more years maybe. We’re young, we don’t have any seniors in the lineup so we should be able to definitely be a lot better the next couple years with a sophomore-heavy lineup.”
The Tigers, who last won the state title in 2013, had triumphs from senior Joshua Schmidt at 113 pounds, sophomore Nate Wheeler at 120, senior Austin Cook at 126, junior Konner Kraeszig at 138, senior Clayton Hanson at 145, junior Cameron Ward at 160 and junior Isaac Marret at 285.
The runner-up Mustangs were led by sophomore Alex Rivera, the champion at 132.
“He’s having a really solid year, he’s been wrestling with us since fourth grade, so he’s been around awhile,” Thomas said.
Male’s victories came from eighth-grader Scotty Vilums at 106 and sophomore Zane Brown at 152.
Brown, who is ranked No. 1 in the state in his weight class, edged St. X senior Dallas Miles, who is rated No. 5, 1-0 in the 152 final. The match was scoreless until the final 20 seconds, when Brown performed an escape to claim the only point.
“Zane, he’s been in the state finals the past two years and he’s only a sophomore. He’s coming in ranked No. 1 so he’s had a target on his back every week, he gets everyone’s best,” Male coach Chris McCoy said. “Zane is a hard worker, Zane practices probably seven times a day. If he’s not with us, he’s with the club. His success is not due to anything but his hard work.”
Brown will take a 51-1 record into the state meet.
“I got second the past two years, so I’m hoping to win this year,” he said.
Jeffersontown senior Lawrence Malala was voted the meet’s most outstanding wrestler. Malala won a 6-2 decision over St. X sophomore Benjamin Deprest in the 220 final.
“I’ve worked hard for this the whole four years. Ever since I was a freshman, I looked forward to getting No. 1 in regionals,” said Malala, who is ranked No. 2 in the state.
Other winners were Trinity sophomore Kadin Kulmer at 195, Atherton sophomore Andrew Marchal at 182 and Manual junior Jacob Bratcher, who improved to 44-1 in winning 170.
The meet was delayed for awhile Saturday after Atherton freshman Ian Bright suffered a leg injury in a match at 285.
“He got turned on his leg, it was a pretty frightening, gruesome scene,” said McCoy, who was also the meet director. “We had to do something we’ve never had to do in a tournament, which was clear the gym because it was that bad. He was in a lot of pain. He’s done quite a bit of damage and it’ll be a long recovery. It was very trying on the coaches involved, the officials involved (and) both wrestlers.”
REGION FOUR WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Male High School
Top four finishers in each weight class advance to state
Team scores: 1. St. Xavier 288; 2. Moore 170; 3. Trinity 164; 4. Male 141.5; 5. Central 112; 6. Manual 65; 7. Jeffersontown 45; 8. Seneca 36; 9 (tie). Atherton, Eastern 27; 11. Waggener 11; 12. Shawnee 10.
106 pounds: 1st – Scotty Vilums (Male) def. Marquelle McDaniel (Central) 11-3; 3rd – Nathan Ohlmann (St. X) pinned Eddison Niyilema (Shawnee) 1:11.
113: Joshua Schmidt (St. X) def. Landon Lenhart (Trinity) 6-2; 3rd – Mason Lesshafft (Moore) pinned Deon Tutt (Central) 1:27.
120: Nate Wheeler (St. X) pinned Virgil Garcia (Male) 1:55; 3rd – Agali Radjapov (Moore) pinned Jeremy Jones (Central) 4:24.
126: Austin Cook (St. X) def. Chancellor Caldwell (Manual) 10-5 3rd – Lukas Brown (Trinity) pinned Trent Jackson (Moore) 2:12.
132: Alex Rivera (Moore) def. Kaden Darbro (St. X) 7-4; 3rd – Dwayne Johnson (Eastern) pinned Jaelyn Hamilton (Trinity) 3:49.
138: Konner Kraeszig (St. X) def. Isaiah Newberry (Moore) 11-3; 3rd – Nicholas Elling (Manual) pinned Damon Smith (Central) 5:55.
145: Clayton Hanson (St. X) pinned Tristin Garcia (Male) 5:45; 3rd – Matthew Smith (Trinity) def. Cameron Isaacs (Seneca) 5-2.
152: Zane Brown (Male) def. Dallas Miles (St. X) 1-0; 3rd – Jon Gaudin (Trinity) pinned Noah Jones (Moore) 2:50.
160: Cameron Ward (St. X) pinned Noah Kulmer (Trinity) 1:05; 3rd – Chris Allen (Moore) pinned Michael Almajedi (Eastern) 0:49.
170: Jacob Bratcher (Manual) def. Austin Towles (St. X) 8-5; 3rd – Jack Lucas (Male) def. Daniel Langford (Trinity) 11-0.
182: Andrew Marchal (Atherton) def. Zach Cumella (St. X) 5-3; 3rd – Peyton Martin (Male) pinned Eric Watson (Waggener) 1:38.
195: Kadin Kulmer (Trinity) pinned Damoreon Travis (Jeffersontown) 4:22; 3rd – Allen Anderson (Moore) pinned Justin Voelker (St. X) 3:36.
220: Lawrence Malala (Jeffersontown) def. Benjamin Deprest (St. X) 6-2; 3rd – Nathan Tate pinned John Hampton (Central) 2:24.
285: Isaac Marret (St. X) pinned Cody Melton (Moore) 1:08; 3rd – Brandyn Robertson (Central) pinned Adam Cash (Trinity) 1:53.