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LOUISVILLE – The Oldham County wrestling team proved themselves to be the strongest team in the region literally by taking the school’s first regional wrestling crown Saturday.
Showcasing both their numbers and talent, the Colonels ran away with the team title with 209 points over Eastern with 180, six-time champion South Oldham with 168.5 and North Oldham with 165 points.
“The kids just did an awesome job,” OCHS coach Aaron Riordan said. “We’re sending 12 kids to the state meet, that’s the most of any team. I think where we pulled away from everyone else was by putting seven kids in the finals and having three win regional titles.”
The Colonels got regional titles at 215 pounds from senior Ichiro Chiba and at 103 from TJ Schuyler and 112 from Tyler Kaelin.
Chiba, who finished third in the state last year, enters the state tournament ranked No. 4 in the state. He beat Menes McNeely of Eastern 9-4 in the finals.
“I think he has a pretty good shot at winning the state,” Riordan, a former state champ at 215 pounds for OCHS, said. “He’s in really good shape and has been getting better every time out since football.”
Schuyler and Kaelin, a pair of freshmen, have been impressive all season for the Colonels.
“They just keep rolling along,” Riordan said. “They are going to get nothing but better.”
The Colonels had four wrestlers take second in Daniel Brenneman at 125, Taylor Menard at 171, Jeff Smith at 189 and Andrew Avery at heavyweight.
Brenneman and Menard were involved to two of the closest final matches. Brenneman lost to Russ Nyitari of Eastern 12-10.
Menard fell to Kiel Dodd of Fern Creek 11-7 when Dodd scored four points in the final 30 seconds.
With seven seniors on the team, the Colonels are hoping for a strong team finish at the state this weekend in Frankfort.
“I’d love to finish in the top 10,” Riordan said. “It’s going to be a really tough tournament this year.”
South Oldham had its string of six straight regional crowns broken this year after fighting through injuries in the latter part of the season.
“It became a numbers thing for us,” SOHS coach Steve Fiser said. “We just didn’t have the horses to put up the team points in a smaller tournament.”
The Dragons did post a region-high four individual champions led by 189-pound senior Ryan Houchens.
Houchens, the state runnerup last season, is ranked No. 2 in the state.
He beat Jeff Smith of OCHS 7-1 in the finals and is coming back from a knee injury that had him on the sidelines for the past three weeks.
“Ryan’s been in the wrestling room the whole time and we don’t think he is going to have any kind of health issue now,” Fiser said. “He has really recovered well and we are confident he can reach his goal of a state championship.”
The Dragons also got regional titles from Spencer Warren at 160 pounds, Roy Bisenius at 119 and Cole Proctor at 145.
Proctor is a darkhorse for a state title run entering the meet ranked No. 4 in the state.
North Oldham posted a trio of regional champions in Davis Dudley at 130, Dan Thomson at 140 and senior heavyweight Greg Billows.
Thomson, ranked No. 6 in the state, won his title by a default after Eastern’s Justin Davis was hit with a flagrant unsportsmanlike penalty for cracking Thomson across the nose with a forearm.
“It was a weird way for him to win but he was the favorite coming in,” NOHS coach Robert Fulk said.
Dudley, who began the year at 152 pounds after coming out late from football, won the title at 130 with a dominating 18-3 technical fall over Jordan Scheler of Fern Creek.
“Davis may have shown the most poise of anyone,” Fulk said. “He has really come a long way this season.”
Fulk was also pleased with first-year wrestler Larry Hinkle who was second at 152.
“We could not have asked any more from him,” Fulk said.
Region V team results - OCHS 209, Eastern 180, SOHS 168.5, NOHS 165, J-town 113.5, Fern Creek 106, KCD 21.
1 - Travis Schuyler - OCHS
2 - Nathan Long - SOHS
4 - Mitch Rusch - NOHS
1 - Tyler Kaelin - OCHS
1 - Roy Bisenius - SOHS
2 - Chase Rausch - NOHS
2 - Daniel Brenneman - OCHS
1 - Davis Dudley - NOHS
4 - Grant Johnson - OCHS
2 - Brandon Whitehouse - SOHS
3 - Mike Toth - OCHS
1 - Dan Thomson - NOHS
3 - Steve Vaughn - SOHS
1 - Cole Proctor - SOHS
3 - Jeremy Bollman - OCHS
2 - Larry Hinkle - NOHS
4 - Zach Talton - OCHS
1 - Spencer Warren - SOHS
2 - Jeff Thomson - NOHS
4 - Jacob Miles - OCHS
2 - Taylor Menard - OCHS
3 - Kyle Forbes - NOHS
4 - Kyle Knight - SOHS
1 - Ryan Houchens - SOHS
2 - Jeff Smith - OCHS
1 - Ichiro Chiba - OCHS
4 - Sandy Strapp - NOHS
1 - Greg Billows - NOHS
2 - Andrew Avery - OCHS
4 - Jeffery Hunt - SOHS
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