LEXINGTON, Ky. – Technically speaking, North Oldham High School (Goshen, Ky.) senior wrestler Sam Jenkins had no business accomplishing what he did Saturday.
He entered the State Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena ranked No. 8 in the state in his weight class, doesn’t plan to wrestle in college and admits the sport isn’t his primary focus.
“My summers do not include camp after camp after camp,” said Jenkins, adding that he nearly quit wrestling two months ago. “They include me staying at home, playing NBA2K, eating Doritos, just whatever I want to do.”
Jenkins capped his surprising weekend Saturday with a 3-2 victory over Trigg County junior Colin Stevens to win the 182-pound state title. Of the 14 individual state champions crowned Saturday, Jenkins and Union County sophomore Dalton Russelburg (No. 8 at 152 pounds) were the only ones not ranked among the top three in his class.
“Everyone is surprised but us,” North Oldham coach Chris Reed said. “We used it for fuel. ‘No. 8 in the state. They only think your eighth.’ … Technically, on paper, mathematics, no, he wasn’t the best. But he made kids break. Physically, he dominated these guys.”
Jenkins said he made up for his lack of technical ability with a toughness instilled by Reed.
“You go out there and you smash the kid’s head in the mat, you make them not want to wrestle anymore,” Jenkins said. “They won’t wrestle you. They will give you what you want.”
It was the final match of Jenkins’ career, as he plans to enter the Air Force after graduating from North Oldham.
“What a way to end it,” he said, “getting the gold medal.”