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MT. STERLING – Oldham County took down an old foe Saturday on its way to its best team duals finish in program history.
The Colonels beat Fern Creek in the big school semifinals before falling to St. Xavier in the championship dual of the Kentucky Wrestling Coaches Association tournament at the Montgomery County High School Arena. The event wasn’t affiliated with the KHSAA wrestling championships, which will take place later this month in Lexington.
OC’s second place finish was its best at the tournament, coach Aaron Riordan said, bettering a fourth place finish last season.
“That last match was a bit depressing but we had a good run,” senior Douglas Johnson said. “It’s the best we’ve ever done, so that’s nice.”
The Colonels, who advanced to state after winning their sectional last month, dispatched of Meade County and Madison Central in pool play. That set up a rematch with rival Fern Creek, which beat OC two weeks earlier in a sectional dual.
The Tigers, who finished third at sectionals, weren’t even supposed to be at the state meet. But when Pleasure Ridge Park backed out of the tournament, Fern Creek went in its place.
OC got the better of its rival this time, coming back from a 19-6 hole to win 45-29. Brady Emerson, Connor Wilkerson, Will Jennings, Max Emerson and Alex McIntosh recorded pins for the Colonels in the win.
Ian Fullerton, Johnson and Ben Leaton also picked up wins against Fern Creek.
“It was definitely good to get a little payback of our own,” Wilkerson said of the win over Fern Creek. “Our guys wrestled hard. They wrestled a lot better than they did at sectionals. We had some guys that were banged up then and weren’t really wrestling their best. But everyone showed up today.”
While OC was able to come back against Fern Creek, they were unable to do the same against St. X.
The Tigers took a 20-0 lead after four matches and went on to beat the Colonels 43-24. St. X picking up four pins in the dual was a big difference, Riordan said.
“That’s wrestling,” Riordan said. “Even the matches we had lost, if they had just gone a little bit differently and guys didn’t get scored on so much or if certain guys didn’t get pinned then it would’ve put us in a better position.”
Brady Emerson, Wilkerson, Sam Gnadinger, Leaton and McIntosh won matches for the Colonels against St. X.
“A lot of teams would be excited with that finish and I am,” Riordan said. “I’m excited to be in the position we’re in but I know our guys really wanted that bad. I wanted that bad. So it’s definitely going to leave a bad taste in our mouth for a year or so until we get another opportunity at it.”
OC will now turn its attention to individual competition. The Colonels will go to North Oldham for the Mustang Classic Saturday before competing in regionals and KHSAA state competition over the next month.
As for team duals, the Colonels will have a good chance to get right back to the KYWCA championships in 2015. They lose just two seniors from their lineup, Johnson and Wilkerson, and another senior, Rommie Asad.
“The exciting thing for us is that out of that varsity lineup we lose two guys, so that’s definitely something we look forward to for the future,” Riordan said. “Like I told these guys, we’ve still got three weeks of wrestling left and we have other goals besides state duals.
“We want to win a region championship again and compete for a state title again. Those are all things I think we’re capable of doing.”