Fern Creek dominates Region 3 wrestling with six champions

Fern Creek dominates Region 3 wrestling with six champions


Fern Creek dominates Region 3 wrestling with six champions


Fern Creek wrestlers won six of the 14 weight classes to lead the Tigers to a dominating team victory Saturday in the Region 3 championships at North Bullitt High School.

Willie Burton of Fairdale was named Most Outstanding Wrestler, a very popular decision among all those attendance. Burton is a senior with cerebral palsy who wrestled for four years, finally getting a victory in his final career match.

“We expected to perform well today,” said Fern Creek coach Mark Hitchings, whose team finished with 278.5 points. “We were ready, and they did what we asked them to do.”

Pleasure Ridge Park finished second with 207.0 points, while Doss came in third with 141.5.

Ansar Kurbanov of Iroquois won the first weight class of the day, defeating Mike Klein of Fern Creek by 10-7 decision. Kurbanov was the only Iroquois wrestler to win a division, while Klein was one of four Tigers to finish second, showcasing the depth of the program.

Fern Creek’s Jorge Vega (113) and Cedric Binford (120) won their divisions.

“Jorge is the defending state champion, and he showed what he’s capable of doing,” Hitchings said. “Cedric has only been wrestling for a year and a half and in a short period of time has learned to be a real wrestler.”

Pleasure Ridge Park’s George Pumphrey won the 126-pound division, and teammate Tim Kellam ruled at 160. DeSales won at 132 with Colton Elkins and 138 with Nathan Thompson.

Jared Branch (145), Kohl Dodd (182), Justin Nichols (220) and Kermit Gibbs (285) were Fern Creek’s other champions.

“Jared is just a freshman,” Hitchings said. “For a freshman to win region is quite an accomplishment. Kohl is the junior leader and captain of our team who does everything right. Justin is a second-year guy, a football guy who we needed to fill a hole last year and is really learning how to wrestle at the end of his second season. And we love Kermit. He’s a senior who had to wait until this year to crack the lineup because he backed up a really good heavyweight for us the previous three years.”

Other winners were Southern’s Caleb Barnett (170), Bullitt Central’s Mark Saunders (195) and Fairdale’s Trey Norton (152).

But by far the biggest applause came when Burton won Most Outstanding Wrestler.

“I didn’t really know who was going to win, but I didn’t think it was going to be me,” he said. “I was so happy. I guess it shows how much of an inspiration I am to other competitors and that you shouldn’t let your disability define who you are as a person and you shouldn’t let it affect your goals.”


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