February 16th, 2013

Tigers Overcome Odds for Wrestling Title

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Tigers Overcome Odds for Wrestling Title
St. Xavier 2013 wrestling state champs / photo by Conor Revell

St. Xavier wins first wrestling title since 2001

LEXINGTON, Ky - Heading into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Wrestling State Championship, Union County and Campbell County were the heavy favorites to claim that title.    

But St. Xavier proved the naysayers wrong as it won the state crown at the Kentucky Horse Park Saturday night. It was the Tigers' first state title since 2001.

St. X finished with 203.5 points. Individual state champions Justin Lampe (145 pounds) and Hunter French (160) paved the way for the Tigers. Campbell County placed second with a score of 193. Union County came in third with 176.  

“These young men came in and worked hard from the first day of practice,” St. X head coach Jim Kraeszig said. “I think that it was to our advantage that we got better and better. It was exciting to start seeing these guys believe in themselves in about a three day period. We started beating people we weren’t supposed to beat. You saw that in the semifinals. They started believing in themselves and we rode the emotion from the semis.”

The Tigers trailed Campbell County 123.5 to 117.0 going into the semifinals. Then, three Campbell County wrestlers lost.

Konnor Thomson (195), Brandon Pledger (182), Noah Bauer (170), French, Domonic Lampe (152) and Lampe notched big wins for the Tigers in the semifinals.

Pledger’s stunning 4-2 victory over the Camels' Eli Matthews may have been the biggest victory for the Tigers in the semifinals. Pledger lost a 2-0 decision to Hiero Chamblee in the finals.

“Brandon is such a gifted wrestler,” Kraeszig said. “He’s going to wrestle in college and he has been working on his shot. Seeing him finish his shot against a gifted wrestler like that is exciting.”   

Only freshman A.J. Bindner (106) didn’t move out of the semifinals. He won the consolation bracket to place third.

Justin Lampe (51-0) completed an undefeated season by defeating Franklin County’s Trevon Clay (52-1) (Maj 14-6) in the first Tiger match of the night. Lampe lost in the state championship match last year.

“I just wanted to beat my opponent, there was not much different than all my other matches,” Lampe said. “My coaches told me at the very beginning that it was all about Union County and Campbell County. I didn’t even believe them. Our goal was to win as a team and for nobody to get knocked out. That’s the reason why I think we won.” 

Gabriel French (31-4) won a stunning 4-3 decision over Campbell County’s Stephan Meyer (65-1) in the 160-pound match. It was only the second loss for Meyer on the season.  

“I just believed in myself,” French said. “I went out there and I didn’t doubt myself for a second. I’ve wrestled him once before. I knew what he was looking for. I forced him to play my style and I got him. That was the victory. I did it for my team.”

French capitalized by slamming the Meyer down to the mat.

“It’s hard to describe,” French said. “It’s one of the best feelings in the world. It’s hard to get better than that. Nothing is better than winning a state championship.”

At that moment the Tigers' coaching staff erupted into a frenzy. The win ended Campbell County chances of winning state.  

“You’re talking about a mismatch and to see Hunter come out and score, oh my,” Kraezig said. “It was exiting. He wrestled his tail off. I’m so excited for him and his family.”    

Domonic Lampe, Bauer and Thompson finished as runners-up in their respective weight classes.

Trinity went into the meet hoping to improve off of last year’s second-place finish but settled for sixth place with 120 points. Bobby Bryant (285) finished as the lone state champ for the Rocks.

“We always set a high goal,” Trinity head coach Richard Brown said. “We were young this year and we have a bright future. Hopefully we’ve got a bright future and we will be higher than what we were this year. This was a fresh young group of kids and I’m looking forward to the next four years. This is why coaches coach and teachers teach. The growth I saw this year is a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

Bryant pinned each of his opponents prior to the championship round. In the championship, Bryant beat Lafayette's Landon Young (Maj 11-2) to win his second straight state title.  

“My goal was to win and dominate,” Bryant said. “I did that. It’s all the hard work paid off. You have to have the right mind. It’s incredible, there’s nothing better.”

Brown beamed when asked about Bryant.

“Bobby is such a hard worker, he’s that blue collar kid,” the coach said. “I wish I had 50 Bobbys on my team. He’s a coach’s dream. He’s wonderful.”

Team Results

1. St. Xavier (203.5)

2. Campbell County (193)

3. Union County (176)

4. Woodford County (134.5)

5. Simon Kentucky (134.0)

6. Trinity (120)

7. Ryle (106)

39. DeSales (16)

58. Holy Cross (8)

Individual Results

106 Results
1st Place - Jorge Vega of Fern Creek
2nd Place - Trevor Lawson of Woodford County
3rd Place - A.j. Bindner of St. Xavier
4th Place - Joey Scaggs of Dixie Heights
5th Place - David Hernandez of Henry Clay

6th Place - Jake Burroughs of North Hardin
7th Place - Bryce Sheffer of Union County
8th Place - Travon Thacker of Hopkinsville

120 Results

1st Place - Trae Blackwell of Union County
2nd Place - Caleb Austin of Christian County

3rd Place - Michael Whalen of Henry Clay
4th Place - Gus Adams of Ryle
5th Place - Bobby Poynter of Moore
6th Place - Elijah Owens of Simon Kenton
7th Place - Keegan Duncan of Trinity (Louisville)
8th Place - Max Korfhage of St. Xavier

126 Results
1st Place - Brock Ervin of Union County
2nd Place - Joey Parrott of Simon Kenton
3rd Place - John Shirkey of Oldham County
4th Place - Hudson Heidorf of Trinity (Louisville)
5th Place - Trea Wills of North Hardin
6th Place - Angel Vasquez of Lafayette
7th Place - Brian Crawley of Southern
8th Place - Nathan Haddad of St. Xavier

138 Results
1st Place - Paul Hamilton of Campbell County
2nd Place - Jayce Carr of Union County
3rd Place - Raymundo Perez of LaRue County
4th Place - David Sahms of Fort Campbell
5th Place - Ian Kahl of Trinity (Louisville)
6th Place - Jake Sander of Ryle
7th Place - Max Andreoni of Woodford County
8th Place - Pedro Ruiz of Wayne County

145 Results
1st Place - Justin Lampe of St. Xavier
2nd Place - Tevon Clay of Franklin County

3rd Place - Dakorian Polley of Christian County
4th Place - Austin Jackson of Dixie Heights
5th Place - Alvaro Aguilar of Pleasure Ridge Park
6th Place - Corbin Woods of Campbell County
7th Place - Jon Belk of Ryle
8th Place - Andrew Lee of Central Hardin

152 Results
1st Place - Kevin Cooper of Simon Kenton
2nd Place - Dominic Lampe of St. Xavier

3rd Place - Logan Jones of Walton-Verona
4th Place - Jordan Doyle of Woodford County
5th Place - Nick Mcintosh of Oldham County
6th Place - Clayton Smith of Trinity (Louisville)
7th Place - Chad Gahafer of Union County
8th Place - Kenneth Sells of Christian County

160 Results

1st Place - Gabriel French of St. Xavier
2nd Place - Stephen Myers of Campbell County
3rd Place - Gabe Mcilrath of Montgomery County
4th Place - Wyatt Courtney of Woodford County
5th Place - Cameron Montgomery of University Heights
6th Place - Jimmy Preston of Johnson Central
7th Place - Mikey Smith of Moore
8th Place - Jared Whitlock of LaRue County

170 Results
1st Place - Lane Jones of Walton-Verona
2nd Place - Noah Bauer of St. Xavier

3rd Place - Caleb Canter of LaRue County
4th Place - Johnny Meiman of Ryle
5th Place - Dustin Turner of Campbell County
6th Place - Sam Willbanks of Moore
7th Place - Dj Parriman of McCreary Central
8th Place - Sean Barrett of Southern

182 Results
1st Place
- Hiero Chamblee of Simon Kenton

2nd Place - Brandon Pledger of St. Xavier
3rd Place - Bj Carman of LaRue County
4th Place - Eli Matthews of Campbell County
5th Place - Devin Morrow of Wayne County
6th Place - Sam Steele of Boone County
7th Place - Michael Saunders of Bullitt Central
8th Place - Evan Kenealy of Meade County


195 Results
1st Place - Thomas Noe of Southern
2nd Place - Konner Thompson of St. Xavier

3rd Place - Wade Holtsclaw of John Hardin
4th Place - Elijah Miller of Scott
5th Place - Trevor Thompson of Conner
6th Place - Sam Preston of Johnson Central
7th Place - Justin Mcdaniel of Moore
8th Place - Jordan Willenborg of Holy Cross (Louisville)

285 Results
1st Place - Bobby Bryant of Trinity (Louisville)
2nd Place - Landon Young of Lafayette

3rd Place - Paul Couch of Madison Central
4th Place - Cody Miskell of Grant County
5th Place - Zach Troxell of Wayne County
6th Place - Alec Mielke of Meade County
7th Place - Kristofer Humphrey of John Hardin
8th Place - Brad Weber of Ryle



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