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GOSHEN – North Oldham’s Greg Billows won the regional heavyweight wrestling title Saturday, but the key to the win may have come a week earlier in the Mustang Invitational.
In the Mustang, Billows, a senior, defeated nemesis Andrew Avery of Oldham County for the first time in a long time. Billows shut Avery out 8-0 in the regional finals to take his first ever regional title.
“I think I just got in the mindset if I beat him once then I can do it again,” Billows said. “It’s always been off and on, back and forth for us over the years.”
Billows’ title comes as an upset and a surprise even to himself.
“To be honest this is not something I was looking for at the start of the year,” Billows said. “I was hoping to qualify for the state meet again and just have a good senior year.”
Billows’ defeat of Avery and an injury to South Oldham’s Forrest Williams, the regional favorite, paved the way to the title.
Williams suffered a season-ending hand injury in the SOHS tourney in a match with Billows.
“Once Forrest went down it changed things for all the heavyweights in the region,” Billows said.
The title comes to a wrestler who became known in the NOHS program for showing up day in and day out and working.
“I am so proud and so happy for Greg,” NOHS coach Robert Fulk said. “In his senior year to go out with a regional title, it could not happen to a better kid. Avery had kind of had his number the last couple of years until the Mustang and when Greg beat him there I think it kind of opened his eyes up a little bit.”
Billows came to the NOHS program as freshman stepping into his first foray into organized sports.
“He came to us four years ago as a big kid who had never played sports and he took his lumps,” Fulk said. “The thing about Greg is he never let it get him down. He walked into the wrestling room everyday with a good attitude ready to work. He is really a lot of fun to work with.”
Billows reached the state tourney as a No. 4 seed both years and was eliminated in the first two rounds.
“Going in as a one seed means I will get a lot better draw,” Billows said. “I just want to do the best I can and win a match.”
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