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Tied at 36 before the final match, the North Oldham Middle School wrestling team left its fate to an eighth grader.
Facing Union County, the chants of “Go John!” grew louder from 130-pound John Reitnauer’s teammates in the third period.
Reitnauer said he used the chants as motivation, pulling out a 9-5 win that gave the Mustangs a first round win over four-time Union County.
NOMS took fourth place Jan. 28 at the middle school state wrestling duals at John Hardin Middle School in Elizabethtown, the state championships for wrestling teams.
At the high school state wrestling duals Saturday, Oldham County High School didn’t fare nearly as well, failing to place among the 16 state finalists at Henry Clay High School in Lexington.
Before his first round match, Reitnauer said he hadn’t wrestled under the pressure he’d faced against Union County before, but welcomed the challenge.
“I’ve heard it a million times from my parents and friends, that if you want something done right, you do it yourself,” he said. “I’m just glad I was given the opportunity to do it.”
After defeating Union County, the Mustangs also defeated Turkey Foot Middle School, before falling to eventual champion North Hardin in the semifinals and River City Wrestling’s middle school team in the consolation finals.
“It’s just a huge step for our program,” NOMS coach Kyle Goldsmith said. “They wrestled with so much heart and just wrestled with a lot of enthusiasm.”
At the high school state wrestling duals, OCHS struggled while wrestling short-handed. Five wrestlers missed the meet due to illness or injury.
OCHS senior Tyler Kaelin said the Colonels realized early at the meet they faced long odds at the meet.
“We still knew that individually, you need to wrestle your own match and do well, regardless of whether or not your team had the chance to excel if you had everyone,” he said.
OCHS lost its matches to St. Xavier, Franklin County, Larue County and Fort Campbell. Union County took first place.
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