February 17th, 2018

St. X wrestlers place second again

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

St. X wrestlers place second again
The Tigers with the second-place trophy / photo by Conor Revell

LEXINGTON, Ky. - St. Xavier’s wrestling team will have to wait at least another year before having the chance to hang a fourth banner.

The Tigers finished in second place as a team with 163 points for a second consecutive year at the KHSAA State Wrestling Championships which were held at the Kentucky Horse Park Friday and Saturday.

“I was really pleased with how our first day went,” St. X head coach Jimmy Kraeszig said. “But, it was difficult. Our 220-pound wrestler bowed out and we had to regroup. I thought we did a good job with that. We were in the hunt. If we hadn’t lost some matches early on, things might have been different, but it’s tough. Union County had the better team.

Union County won their third consecutive team state title with 186 points and 10th overall, the second-most all-time. Woodford County placed third with 155 points.

Trinity finished 18th as a team with 50.5 points while DeSales had 25 points and placed 37th along with Anderson County and Trigg County.

Jayssen Hanson (106-pound), Konner Kraeszig (160-pound), and Benjamin Deprest (195-pound) represented St. X in the the finals, but none were able to walk away victorious.

Konner Kraeszig fell to John Hardin’s Derrick Smallwood by a 6-2 decision in the final round.

“I definitely wanted to win,” Konner Kraeszig said. “I wrestled him earlier in the year and I got beat pretty badly. I knew I could beat him, but I didn’t. It is what it is.”

The younger Kraeszig defeated Caldwell County’s Ron Shackelford (fall) in the first round, Apollo’s Jack Fuller (fall) in the second round, Oldham County’s Lucas Carrillo (MD 14-4) in the quarterfinals, and Conner’s Clayton Boyd (MD 8-0) in the semifinals.

“I think Smallwood is stronger than my son now,” Jim Kraeszig said. “I think if my son was stronger then you would have seen a different outcome. His best days are ahead of him. Smallwood was a late bloomer.”

Konner was No. 2 in the KentuckyWrestling.com rankings and it was his second straight finish as a runner-up. As a junior he wrestled in the 113-pound weight class.

“It has been fun wrestling for my dad,” Konner Kraeszig said. “It’s different having a dad as a coach, but I enjoyed it.”

This was the final time the father-son duo would be together at the high school level.

“It has been exhilarating and difficult at the same time,” Jim Kraeszig said. “It’s hard to be a dad and a coach. I don’t know how to put it. But it was good. I’ve enjoyed it even though I was probably harder on him than on everybody else. I loved having my son on my team.”

But, Jim Kraeszig isn’t not done being a father and a coach, his younger son James is a sophomore and lost in the second round.

Union County’s Matthias Ervin defeated Deprest 3-1 in the 195-pound championship bout.

“I was nervous,” Deprest said. “I got injured two weeks ago (popped collar bone out of socket). They didn’t even have me making it to the finals. I wanted to prove that I belonged here and gave it my all. It was interesting, He beat me 9-3 last time so I’m optimistic for the future.”

It was quite the run for the junior as he was ranked fifth in the KentuckyWrestling.com rankings coming into the state meet and didn’t even place last year.

“I was aggressive this time,” Deprest said. “I didn’t let him get to his spots. I got my hips down when he got on my back.”

Deprest defeated Central Hardin’s Josh Valentine (MD 13-2) in the first round, North Oldham’s Sam Jenkins (DEC 6-4) in the second round, Christian County’s Nico Bussell (DEC 8-7) in the quarterfinals, and McCracken County’s Logan Deasel (fall) in the semifinals.

“That was awesome,” Deprest. “He’s everything  that is St. X is all about. He has that toughness and bounce that a lot of kids his size have trouble coping with.”

Conner freshman Samuel Grandstaff defeated Hansen by a fall (1:08) in the 106-pound final.

“I just wanted to wrestle,” Hansen said. “I always wrestle like I have been throughout the whole year. I didn’t change anything.”

Hanson defeated Prestonburg’s Logan Dingus (fall) in the first round, Union County’s Matthew Moore (fall) in the second round, North Hardin’s Devon Herron (DEC 11-4) in the quarterfinals, and Ryle’s Cole Thomas (DEC 7-0) in the semifinals.

“I couldn’t believe that I won in the semifinals,” Hansen said. “It’s kind of hard to explain how it feels. It’s a different feeling. I was surprised that I won. I’m actually better than I think I am.”

Coming into state, Hansen was No. 5 in his weight class according to the KentuckyWrestling.com rankings so it was an added bonus for him to make the finals as a freshman.

“That was awesome too,” Kraeszig said. “I’m really proud of him. His older brother just graduated and he’s just like him, but younger. Good family.”

His older brother Clayton Hansen lost in the 145-pound final last year as a senior.

St. X’s Cameron Ward (170) and Trinity’s Kadin Kulmer (220) placed third in their respective weight class.

For the Tigers, it’s on to next year, with the goal of preventing Union County from four-peating.

“Hard work,” Jimmy Kraeszig said. “We’ll be younger, but we will be there. We just have to keep working hard. Nothing changes. We’ll have a good group coming back, we have a really good group coming in. Eventually it will work out. We’ll take it to them. They’re a good team and we want to be pushed. They’re just a little bit ahead of us right now.”



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