It was another good day, albeit a long one, for St. Xavier High School as the Tigers successfully defended their title in the Dragon Invitational at South Oldham High School on Saturday.
St. Xavier had two wrestlers win their weight class and two finish second to help it accumulate 224 points, well ahead of second-place Simon Kenton, which had 185.5 points. Trinity, Ryle and Oldham County completed the top five in a tournament that featured 30 teams from Kentucky.
Most Outstanding Wrestler Hunter French of St. X won the 160-pound class with a hard-fought 5-4 victory over Wyatt Courtney of Woodford County.
“It was a very long day,” said French. “We got here at seven o’clock in the morning and just now finished at 12:30 (Sunday). The hardest part was trying to stay focused through all of that time. But we got it done. It’s a good tournament. We like to consider it our mini-state, a stepping stone.”
What did it feel like to be singled out from the hundreds of competitors as Most Outstanding Wrestler?
“I was really surprised,” he said. “It was a nice honor. I felt like I wrestled well but not like I wrestled that well.”
Head coach Jim Kraeszig said the trophies at the end of the day, both for French and his team, made the long hours worth it.
“Absolutely,” he said.
St. X won French’s weight class and 145 as well, behind Justin Lampe, who pinned Alvaro Aguilar of Pleasure Ridge Park in 2:24. Simon Kenton actually had four class winners, but St. X had much greater depth with three fourth-place finishers, a fifth, a sixth and three eighths.
“I was really pleased,” Kraeszig said. “We lost the dual (Friday) night by two points. I told the guys afterward that if we came out here today flat I was going to be upset, and if we came out with an attitude that we were going to take it to people I’d be really happy.”
Jorge Vega of Fern Creek got the championship round started with a 9-7 victory over A.J. Bindner of St. X to take the 106-pound title. He clinched victory with one second left.
“I was really tired but toward the end I reached really deep inside to get it done,” said Vega. “It was an arm drag, and I just went behind.”
See Scorecard for complete list of winners.