OC’s Wilkerson places fourth at state wrestling

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By Brad Stephens

LEXINGTON – Oldham County coach Aaron Riordan said senior wrestler Connor Wilkerson would run through a brick wall if he asked it of him.

Wilkerson didn’t smash through any bricks this weekend at the KHSAA state wrestling championships, but he did have an impressive tournament.

Wilkerson finished fourth in the 138-pound class, representing the Colonels’ highest podium spot. 

He was one of the highlights for OC in what was otherwise a disappointing weekend. The Colonels, who won the region championship earlier this month, finished 11th Saturday at Alltech Arena with a team score of 73 points. Perennial power Union County won the team championship with  a total score of 203 points.

“We had some guys that could’ve laid down on us but they didn’t, they wrestled their tails off,” Riordan said. “But it was a rough, rough weekend. It started on Friday when we had one of our guys go down and it just kind of snowballed from there.”

Wilkerson started the tournament off strong, getting wins against Valley’s Larry Broaden and Caldwell County’s Chris Gilkey.

But he faced eventual state champion Sean Fausz of Campbell County in the quarterfinals and lost, sending him to the consolation bracket.

Wilkerson beat Male’s Leland Phelps, DeSales’ Nathan Thompson and North Hardin’s Dylan West before falling 7-1 to Trinity’s Benjamin Barton in the third place match.

“(Finishing fourth) is really good but it wasn’t really what I was aiming for,” Wilkerson said. “It’s still up there and I’m pretty happy about it.”

Wilkerson and Douglas Johnson are the only two seniors in Riordan’s starting lineup.

“He’ll do anything you ask of him,” Riordan said of Wilkerson. “…We’re going to miss him. Not just his performance on the mat we’re going to miss, but we’re going to miss his leadership by example in the practice room. He’s just a great kid.”

Other Colonel wrestlers to finish on the podium included Brady Emerson (seventh, 126) and Ben Leaton (sixth, 182). 

Leaton, a sophomore, advanced all the way to the tournament semifinals.